24/7: A Resource For Working Parents
Daily transitions can be stressful for working parents and their children. One of the toughest of all transitions is “up and out” in the morning. Here are some tips that may be helpful.
• Plan for extra time so you can match your child’s pace. Feeling rushed puts pressure on children and adds stress. So, look for ways to make your mornings less rushed. Try getting up a half an hour earlier. Get clothes, lunches and backpacks ready the night before.
• Give a preview. Talk to your child about the day ahead – that she is going to school or daycare and you are going to work. Remind her that she will spend the day with her friends and that you will see her again at the end of the day.
• Offer choices. Let your child make important choices among appropriate options like: what shirt to wear or what to take for one of their snacks,. This can help your child have a sense of control.
• Check in with the caregiver. If you take your child to school or daycare, drop-off or pick-up time can be an opportunity to have a brief chat with the teacher or caregiver about how your child is doing. You could explain, for example, if your child had a difficult morning or slept poorly the night before. At the end of the day, find out how her day went.
• Reconnect after you get home. Try to spend the first few minutes after
you return home giving your child undivided attention. Some young children would love to be held or rocked for a few minutes to reconnect. Other children might just want to be near you, doing quiet things, but able to have your attention before you get involved in chores.
Don’t be surprised if your child falls apart shortly after you pick him up from child care. This is normal. Children often save up their strong feelings all day and let them out when they get home.