Surviving Preschool Drop-Off with your Toddler

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This school year has brought on some significant changes for my little family. My daughter is 4 and we decided to put her in preschool. The main reason, for me anyway, is for the social aspect.

My sweet girl spends a lot of time with her baby brother. And most of the kids we have play dates with are younger than her. We also take the kiddos to the park a lot. In the off-chance my girl decides to stand in another kid’s bubble try to play with kids her age, they end up being jerks.

Ok. Calling a little 4 or 5 year old a “jerk” is a little harsh. They aren’t. They’re just young and they don’t quite know how to say, “I don’t like you, go away,” nicely.

So, we decided to do preschool this year to get her around kids her age. Three days a week, for 2 1/2 hours each day. It started three weeks ago.

Every single drop off day has been a nightmare for me. My biggest parenting struggle to date, was just surviving preschool drop-off.

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My poor son just wants to play with all of the toys as 2 year olds do. He wants to tear them off the shelves and throw them everywhere.laughing toddlerAnd my sweet girl just wants mama to stay with her at school. She clings, cries, and one day, she even screamed.

Every single day after drop-off, I was ready to throw in the towel. Whether it was both kids having a melt down, just one of them, or all three of us (it happened once), I was so done. I was physically and emotionally exhausted every morning.[Tweet “Preschool Drop-off can be stressful and emotional, but it doesn’t have to be.”]

On the day of three melt downs, my little lady’s teacher gave me two books to read with her at home.

We had the whole weekend to peruse these books and read them over and over…and over.

The first one is “Llama Llama Misses Mama.”Llama Llama Misses MamaThe little llama has to go to preschool and he’s so sad mama can’t stay. Halfway through the day, he makes friends and begins to enjoy school. My girl liked this book a lot because she loves the ‘Llama Llama’ books and this particular one was so relatable to her. Every time I would drop her off, she was really upset at first, then she would end up having a great time.

The second book is “A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon.”A Kissing Hand for Chester RaccoonIn this story, Chester Raccoon doesn’t want to be away from his mother. She tells him about the “kissing hand.” She kisses the center of his hand before he goes to school. While he’s there, if he misses his mama, he can put his kissing hand on his face for a kiss. That way he knows she’s always with him.

This Monday, on the way to preschool, I asked Z if she wanted to have a kissing hand. She agreed it would be a good idea to try it. I kissed her hand when we got out of the car and she walked to class with one hand holding her baby brother’s, and the other hand (her kissing hand) on her face.

She got in line to go in the classroom and didn’t give me a second glance. She had a great time at preschool and she even told someone when she had to use the potty!

The next day, I asked her if she wanted a kissing hand again. She said, “No, I’ll be okay.” She had a fantastic day and my brave girl talked about her bear in front of the whole class for show and tell.

Last night, after putting her to bed she said, “Mom, I really want to go to preschool tomorrow.” Music to my ears. She has come a long way these last few weeks. It has been so exhausting, emotional, and fun for me to watch her grow so much already.

How to survive preschool drop-off with your toddler.

Now my son and I can finally enjoy our new-found alone time together. My sweet little guy rarely gets time away from his sister. Luckily, he’s always thrilled to see her when we pick her up.

Are there any books that have helped you and your little one get through a rough time? Please share in the comments!!

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  • Reply Theresa

    That is a really sweet story. Those are great books. I think, for me, times I have had to part from my kids while they do an activity is harder for me than it is for them. I may need the parent version of those books! : 0 )

    October 7, 2015 at 8:11 am
    • Reply

      Thank you! They are! LOL!

      October 7, 2015 at 8:44 am
  • Reply Krystal

    That is really tough. I have no suggestions because my son pretty much hated preschool for an entire year! We also love the Llama book!

    October 7, 2015 at 8:24 am
    • Reply

      Oh no!! That is not fun at all!! The Llama book is great-we love the series!

      October 7, 2015 at 8:45 am
  • Reply Betsy Strauss

    I love the kissing hand. It is such a great book. It’s so amazing to watch our kids grow up! Thanks for sharing.

    October 7, 2015 at 8:31 am
    • Reply

      Me too! It has become one of my favorites! It is so much fun!

      October 7, 2015 at 8:44 am
  • Reply Shann Eva

    I’m so glad it has gotten better for you all! It was definitely tough for my oldest to be away from us last year at preschool, but he really loved it. We’ve read the Llama Llama book so many times. I love the idea of the Kissing Hand one. I’m going to have to get that. My oldest is now in kindergarten, and there are days when he gets weepy and says that he’s going to miss me a lot. This might give him comfort..and me too. Thanks!

    October 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm
    • Reply

      Thank you! Yes, you should get it! It’s so sweet! It was definitely comforting for both of us!

      October 7, 2015 at 1:43 pm
  • Reply cindy calzone

    Oh my gosh, I can totally relate! I had a horrible time with my son for preschool too. Now he is in first grade and loves school so much! I just recently wrote a blog post on our experience, then and now. He has come so far! Stay strong, it gets better and better!

    October 7, 2015 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Lindsey Smallwood

    Love that your little one has come around – mine are still tiny and we haven’t tried preschool yet, but I think we’ll probably have some similar challenges when we do. Great book suggestions.

    October 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm
  • Reply Kimberly Cox

    Loved this post. Thanks for the book suggestions, as I am pretty sure after the holidays we are going to try to get my oldest little one into preschool 🙂 Enjoy your mommy son time 🙂 <3

    October 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm
    • Reply

      Thank you so much! I hope you and your little one like them. Thanks, we will!

      October 7, 2015 at 4:30 pm
  • Reply Katharine M

    I’m so glad it finally started to work out 🙂 I think your approach was a great one and I love the books! Z definitely seems to have adjusted well – Every time I passed the playground she appeared to be having a lot fun (although she had no interest in waving to me or Ava LOL). Yay for Z liking preschool!

    October 7, 2015 at 5:32 pm
  • Reply Lyn @MidMichiganMom

    I’m so glad that you found those books to help transition Z to preschool. My daughter begged me to send her to school (apparently I’m not as fun as complete strangers) so I lucked out with easy good-byes. I think you both will be happy that you stuck with it and overcame. Great story =)

    October 7, 2015 at 8:20 pm
  • Reply Alana

    Oh I just loved every single word of this post!!! Wanting to give up, being frustrated with your two-year-old, worrying about your daughter, the energy it takes to get in and out of preschool each day. This is so well written. I love the idea of the kissing hand. It actually got me a bit testy in terms of the impact it had on Z. We LOVE llama llama! My mom actually said they suggest that one at school of kids have difficulty transitioning. I want to read the raccoon one now too!!!

    October 8, 2015 at 9:58 am
  • Reply Melissa

    I love The Kissing Hand! My son was too little to meltdown when I took my daughter to preschool but he had a lot of trouble with tantrums last year when I took my daughter to first grade. I seriously considered homeschooling to avoid drop off and pickup.

    October 8, 2015 at 10:44 am
    • Reply

      LOL!! Homeschooling had crossed my mind too! Sometimes the tantrums are just too much for us moms!!

      October 9, 2015 at 8:32 am
  • Reply Belle

    Aww. That was beautiful. Kids nowadays grow so fast. And they even learn faster. Your story with your kids is an inspiration. Hmm, about books, I have no favorite in particular since since I love them all. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    October 9, 2015 at 12:28 am
    • Reply

      Thank you so much! They do grow so fast, sometimes it hard to keep up!

      October 9, 2015 at 7:00 am
  • Reply Jenny

    What a great teacher to lend you those books so your daughter and you would have a way to work through her separation anxiety. Sounds like you found a great preschool! And now that she loves it isn’t it awesome! Z loves preschool as well, and asks to go every day. It’s so nice!

    October 9, 2015 at 5:30 am
    • Reply

      We love her teacher so much!! She has been so supportive and understanding! Yes! Preschool is awesome now! Z is always talking about it!

      October 9, 2015 at 7:08 am
  • Reply Lindsay

    Love your approach and story! Thanks for sharing! Your little one is adorable!

    October 9, 2015 at 11:33 am
    • Reply

      Thank you so much!!

      October 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm

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