Saying Goodbye

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Saying Goodbye
The Dreaded School Drop-Off 

Words by Amy Zolessi 

School’s here, and it is time to say goodbye to summer. For some families, school drop-off can be daunting. Are the crying, pleading and tears too much to handle?

The key to peaceful and happy drop-offs is to build a routine. The brain is pattern-seeking, and routines are patterns. Routines soothe the lower centers of the brain and reduce unwanted behaviors. The more patterns (routines) you provide, the better your child can focus his or her brain energy on new learning instead of worrying about what will happen next.

Here are some tips for building a routine for a stress-free drop-off: 

  • Explain how it will go down
    As you drive to school, lay out exactly what your child will do when he gets out of the car. For example, say, “You’ll put your bag away, say hi to the teacher, give mommy a kiss and a hug, and wave to me when I drive away.”
  • Hold Hands
    Hold your child’s hand and walk into school rather than carry her. It’s one less step you’ll need to make to detach your anxious child. If you carry her, hand her to the caregiver while you leave to easy the transition.
  • Use the same words every day
    Make your goodbye connection a ritual so it is the same goodbye kiss, hug and words each day.
  • Find familiar faces
    If possible, leave your child with the same teacher each morning and say, “(Teachers name) will keep you safe today!”
  • Don’t sneak out
    No one likes to be ditched at the door. Plus, doing this will leave your kiddo feeling abandoned and unsure if or when you’ll come back. Instead, let your child know when you will return (after snack, nap, etc.)

Remember: Kids feed off your energy, your confidence and your calmness. Your babies are in safe hands, so breath. You’ve got this! Just follow these tips, and soon your child will be skipping into class, and you’ll be skipping into Starbucks!


Interested in learning more?
Upcoming fall parent workshops begin at the end of August at these Winter Park schools:
First Congregational Preschool
Methodist School of Early Education
Walden Community School
Register for the workshops at


AMY ZOLESSI is a mom to three young boys and a national certified instructor for Conscious Discipline. She travels around the country and the state offering parents and schools workshops. Conscious Discipline is a registered trademark of Loving Guidance Inc. Concepts adapted from the Conscious Discipline program with permission. 


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