How to go home from kindergarten calmly?

How to react? When you go to kindergarten to pick up your child, he comes to the door to meet his mum, but then runs back to bed, starts playing or running around the group.

Yes, children do this because it is a switching situation. I can give you a brief explanation of what can be done to make this switch easier for the child. 

Try to make time for your child. Try to make time for your child. Ask what he did today, ask him to show you something. "What did you do here today?" Ask the teacher what happened today, what did he do, what were the tasks? It is your right and, in a way, your duty to ask what has happened to your child during the day, what he has experienced. In any switching situation, try to ask, to enquire, before you make him get dressed and go home. 

Tell me... Show me... What did you...? What is your favourite thing here? 

This will help you to connect with the child and lead them on (this works in other situations too, like asking the child to dinner :))

Children react and show their emotions in very different ways, their joy at seeing each other again or, sometimes, their outburst of emotions at seeing each other again. While some start crying when they see their mum or dad after a day at nursery and put their hands up for a cuddle, others start running around and will do anything to avoid having to get dressed. It is, in a way, a form of stress. The parent is the child's safe person and the moment the child sees his safe person, he reacts out what he has experienced that day and sometimes this can be through movement.

Ideally, at least in the beginning, while the child is getting used to kindergarten, parents should be allowed to go inside the group room, look around with the child, talk about what happened today, what the child did. This will certainly be quicker than trying to get him into outdoor clothes and out of the kindergarten right away. Unfortunately, this is often the way the nursery staff make this transition - your parents came to get you, that's it, now stop doing what you were doing, stop fussing, you have to come and get dressed. It is time to stop this approach.

Over time, your child will get used to it and will be able to switch to going home more quickly, but at least in the beginning, he needs help with this transition. By asking questions, we help the child's brain to connect and move on to the next activity.

We can say - I'm so happy to see you, I miss you, you played so well here today, didn't you? But I miss you and you miss me. And that's how we can connect with the child, because that and being interested in what they've done today gives them a sense of - I am noticed, I am seen, I am heard, I don't have to do some mysterious thing to be noticed. 

I always recommend that you yourself have something to eat before going to kindergarten, drink some water, go to the toilet and, if possible, wear comfortable clothes. Before going inside the kindergarten, take a breath and be able to consciously connect to the child in that moment. Of course it is difficult, it is evening, everyone is tired. It is also a challenge for the child.

Except - he's a child, you're an adult. You can regulate yourself, he can't. And you have to help him regulate himself.

So - help yourself firstSo help yourself first, understand what it is that you need to feel good, so that your brain is not busy managing other processes. The brain's job is to regulate the balance in our body and the moment there is an imbalance, the body gives a signal to the brain and the brain produces thoughts and emotions. So sometimes our feeling of hunger when we come to pick up our child at nursery school can turn into the thought that I am now annoyed at this situation - why is he doing this, why is he disobeying and not wanting to come home? So it's very important to take care of yourself and then connect to the child. 

I hope these few tips will give you an idea of how to help your child make the switch, and that the process will become easier for all of you over time. But if you want to know more about this, I can recommend you to sign up for the Emotional Education of the Child course, where in lesson 8 we talk more about emotions and I explain this in more detail. You can find out about the next opportunity to apply for the course here or on my social networks 😉

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