The Dreadful First Drop-Off

This is the second post in our series about child care in Halton Region.

My heart is pounding, my hands are numb from being clenched into fists, my eyes are almost swollen shut from the days of crying.  I get my strength and courage together and prepare for the dreadful drop-off, and no not from a cliff but from having my two boys at a child care centre for the first time.  We pull up to the Regional Child Care Centre and I try my best to be strong and happy for the boys, so with a great big smile I say “Yiipppeee we are at your new school, you are going to have so much fun!” and I swallow back my tears and think ‘all without me.’

I grab their hands and hold tight as we open the front doors, and take a deep breath bracing myself from what I am about to do, and am instantly distracted my the smell of cinnamon from the kitchen. “Mmm, doesn’t that smell good boys?!” I say and my oldest says “Sure does Mama, same as when you make French toast for me,” and that makes us smile.

We see pictures of children all smiling, all happy, and engaged in various activities posted on the walls. That also makes us smile.

We walk to the cubbies where my boys see their picture, letting them know which cubby is theirs. That makes us smile.

The teachers are at the door crouched down at my children’s level with a smile and open arms, ready to greet us. That makes us smile.

I give them great big hugs and I hold on a few seconds longer than usual, and I squeeze a little tighter too. I kiss them and kiss them and I hear the teacher saying “You can call us anytime; I know how hard this is.”

I smile and walk away knowing that my children are thriving, are learning, are exploring their environment, are fostering and developing friendships but most of all I know that they are happy.  Every once in a while I receive an email that shows me what one of my boys has done that day at school, and how happy they are and that makes me smile!

How to make transitions easier on you as a parent and on your kid(s)

  • Visit the centre/s on a few occasions at various times of the day, with your child/children.
  • Ask if your child can transition to child care slowly, starting with a short visit on their own, slowly adding time to each visit depending on how they are adjusting.
  • Ask lots and lots of questions…I sure did! (what would you do if they wont stop crying, etc)
  • Be an observant parent, you know your child best. Discuss their day with them and talk about the comments that the teachers have made, it brightens their day when you mention something that they have done at school.
  • Be consistent at drop-off, children are creatures of habit.
  • Read “The Kissing Hand” book by Audrey Penn. This book not only helped them but me as well.

Share your experience:

For more tips and hints about the transition to child care, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at
  • Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

About this guest blogger:

Shelley Dasilva is a Mom of two wonderful boys that she loves spending quality time cuddling, reading, playing soccer, and building Lego with. Shelley is also registered Early Childhood Educator with eight years of hands on experience in the classroom. She currently teaches a Kindergarten program in a Regional Child Care Centre. Shelley believes in creating an integrated classroom where children are looked at as individuals, and in developing a setting where children are respected, where children feel safe, and where children are given every opportunity to thrive, learn and explore their environment. Children deserve to learn, no matter which way that may be.

This entry was posted in Babies, Parenting Your Baby, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Play, Growth & Development, Play, Growth & Development for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Dreadful First Drop-Off

  1. Lorri says:

    Awesome Shell – it’s totally how people feel! You’ve captured it into words!

  2. Sharon says:

    Awesome job Shelley. But you know as a mom I tried to prepare you for this but you would not
    really understand and know the true feeling until you experienced it for yourself. Because after all
    what do I know. Right???

  3. Shelley says:

    Lorri… My full intention was to try and capture feelings into words and knowing that I have done that is priceless.
    Sharon…Thank you Mom for all your support and love over the years.

    Thank you so much for reading The Halton Parents Blog and leaving a comment.

  4. Allyson says:

    “The Kissing Hand” is an amazing book. Though my child doesn’t go to daycare, we still have to part when I go to work and leave her with grandparents. We now refer to our ritual of kissing each other’s hands as “giving chesters”, named after the young raccoon in the book. We do this whenever we part, even if I’m just popping out of the house and leaving her with dad for a while. It’s our special ritual and a cherished part of the day.

  5. Monique Leparskas says:

    Allyson, that’s a beautiful routine. Hopefully it will be something your child will always remember when they grow up, or at least will remember the feeling of being loved! Thanks for leaving a comment! ~ via HaltonParents team

  6. This is great information, but I would love to see an article on how to get toddlers and preschoolers ready for school. What should they be able to do before they start? For example, should they be already reading?

  7. Cynthia Lindsay says:

    Thank you very much for your blog topic suggestion. I will pass it along to our blog co-ordinator. Thanks, Halton Parents team

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