If you haven’t experienced it personally, you’ve seen it or at the very least have heard tales of separation anxiety: parents who leave their children in tears at drop-off, contemplating whether or not to drive away. They would rather go back and ease their child’s pain (and their own). Today’s post is to share a little theory with these parents on overcoming ‘drop-off anxiety’ by learning about our key person approach at Kidz Venture.
We understand that children need adults for reassurance and comfort, and this in turn allows them to become independent. At Kidz Venture, we are very proud of our ‘key person’ approach. We assign such a person to each child who joins our family to ensure that they always have a trusted, familiar face available. It’s a special role that involves the responsibility of working with a small number of children, giving them the reassurance of feeling safe and cared for.
How it works:
A young child’s experience during his or her early years is of utmost importance. Therefore, their first experience in a childcare environment needs to be handled sensitively. Our key person approach, along with our settling in policy, allows children to integrate gradually into their new environment, making this stage easy for both parents and children. The key lies in correctly going through the steps of “settling in” and trusting the caregivers. At all times, values of honesty and openness are aimed towards what is best for the child and his or her parents.
Every new experience, every word learned, and every behavior adopted is an investment in a fruitful future. When children are young, they are learning sponges, and separation from their parents when joining a childcare environment is a big step in their world. By adopting the key person approach, the child develops confidence. Our co-operative values of trust, honesty, and openness are important to the key person role and for the parents who know these are values they can trust.
Top questions our parents ask us
1. What is a normal period for a child to cry?
There is no fixed time period for this phase. Some children may not cry at all to begin with and may start to show signs of anxiety at a later stage. Usually, if the settling in process has been handled correctly, with the participating hours increasing gradually, the child stops crying within 2 weeks.
2. What if a child keeps crying after this period?
There could be many reasons for this crying. It might be that the child was made to stay on longer in class before he or she was ready. It could be that he or she is unable to become attached to the assigned key person. At times, the settling in phase of shorter hours is extended beyond the initial period if a child is still crying after two weeks
3. Can parents stay in class for the first two weeks?
The parents are allowed to stay for the first fifteen minutes during the settling in phase of two weeks after which they should say goodbye to their child and return at the designated time.
4. Do the children stop crying after parents leave?
They usually do calm down in a few minutes after the parents leave. They are, of course, attended to by their key person, and at times they are happy just to observe the activities of the class from a distance while remaining seated
5. Why it is ok for parents to feel emotional during this phase?
It is absolutely normal to feel emotional and anxious during this phase. However, it is necessary that parents do not show this anxiety to their children as it is absorbed by them, and they indirectly get the message that “there is something worrisome about this place”. The parents are the ones who need to trust the environment first, and the child will follow suit.
6. What can parents do at home to support an easier drop off?
Parents need to ensure flexibility with their morning routines in order to give their child the security that they will stay with them in the class at first, and then pick them up at the designated time rather than being in a hurry to drop them off and coming back at a convenient time--which may not necessarily be what the child needs. The night routine needs to be well organized as well with the child getting enough hours of sleep before coming to school.
There must be some time for the child to eat in the morning, as children often cry when they are hungry and are unable to express it.
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