Preparing Toddlers for Preschool

Starting preschool is a big step for many toddlers, and for parents! So, what can you do to prepare your little one for the big day? How can you help make drop-off go smoothly (with less tears)? And what's the best way to communicate with their teachers so you both can plan for the best experience possible?

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Preparing Toddlers for Preschool

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

GENEVA LEE: Starting preschool is a big milestone for parents and for toddlers. As with any big life change, it’s important to help your children make the adjustment as well. Today we are talking about these tips to ease your child’s transition to preschool and also to ease your anxiety. I am Geneva Lee.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: And I’m Dymphna Anderson.

GENEVA LEE: We are preschool teachers and this is Parent Savers.

[Intro/Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome everybody to Parent Savers. We are broadcasting form The Birth Education center of Santiago. Parent Savers is your online, on-the-go support group for parents with infants and toddlers. I am your host Johner Riehl. Happy to be back in this side of Parent Savers again. Thanks so much to all of you who join us every time a new episode is released also for those who continue this conversation with us on Facebook and twitter. Make sure to check out our Parent Savers apps. You can listen to all our episodes wherever you go. We also just released a new network app where you can listen to all the new mommy media podcast. Visit our website at for more information and for even more information right now at this moment we’ve got Sunny, the head of everything at New Mommy Media, telling us more about how you can become involved with the show.

SUNNY GAULT: That’s right. Okay, so, we have some segments, I think you guys would really like. We have an Ask the Experts segment, where you guys can submit the questions that you have, regarding your infants and toddlers. So, it could be anything, you know like a doctor would answer. We have got doctors that can answer those types of questions. We have psychologists, we have everyday parents that can help out. So, you can submit via our website and you can also submit via our face book page. And we have another segment that I really love called our Parenting Oops, and that’s where you guys share your funny stories of crazy things that have happened to you as a new parent and we can all kind of have a little chuckle about it. So, we’ll put those on the show and same thing with your ask the expert question. We’ll have our experts answer them, we’ll put that all that on the show, so, other parents can benefit. Again, you could submit through the website, through Facebook. Then we also have our voicemail. You can leave a voice mail, so they can actually hear your voice, if you actually want to ask the question and that number is 619-866-4775.

JOHNER RIEHL: The voicemail seems so old school, but it’s awesome, because we get to hear in your voice.

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, it’s nice.

JOHNER RIEHL: And you can throw it right in and you can hear them saying it as opposed to me in my daffy voice saying that.

SUNNY GAULT: Reading, you question.

JOHNER RIEHL: So, I know, it seems weird to leave voice mail in today’s age, but it’s awesome.

SUNNY GAULT: It is cool.

JOHNER RIEHL: And something we hope you guys continue utilize. Thanks for doing it. Let’s also look around the room, and I can see everyone that’s here. But, let’s introduce you to everyone that’s having this conversation about the preschool transition. Myself, I’m Johner I’m 41 years old. We have three boys, an eight years old, a six year old and a four year old. So, the four year old is just wrapping up preschool. But this is definitely something that we went through with all of them. Sunny?

SUNNY GAULT: Okay, so, yes, I’m Sunny. I am the owner of New Mommy Media and I’m thirty seven years old, I’m pretty sure. And, I have four kids. My oldest is five. He did go through preschool and now just started kindergarten and my three year old is currently in preschool and then I have twin girls that are 22 months and oh, man, I don’t know what I’m going to do with them in preschool, so. They have not started anything, they are home with me throughout the day.

ALICIA BRAVO: Hi I am Alicia. I am a mom of four. I work full time. I’ve always worked full time. So, all of my kids have- had to go to preschool. I have my last one just started about a month ago at age three. My other children: I have two girls, ten and eight. And the boys are six and three.

JOHNER RIEHL: They got to go to preschool, they get to go to preschool. It’s not a had to, it’s they get to. Right?

SUNNY GAULT: It’s a privilege.

JOHNER RIEHL: That’s part of what we are going to talk to you about. That’s part of what we are going to talk to you about

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah exactly.

ALICIA BRAVO: Some of them got to, one of them has to.

JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, got it. And then, Geneva why don’t you now tell us a little about yourself?

GENEVA LEE: Hi, I’m Geneva Lee. I work at The University of Santiago, at The Manchester Family Child Development Centre. I’ve been there for 15 years. I also have two children. My son is 34, my daughter is 21. Had a great experience with one of them in preschool the other one not so much. So, looking forward to chatting about that.


GENEVA LEE: Dymphna?

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: My name is Dymphna Anderson. I am 47 and also mom. Oldest being 18, 17 year old, 16 year old, all boys and an eight year old daughter. They all went to preschool. Eight year old daughter got to go with me to the wonderful Manchester Family Child Development Centre and yeah, it can be a challenge, starting preschool, that whole transition is kind of big.

JOHNER RIEHL: Going to preschool with your mom is whole other episode.


ALICIA BRAVO: That’s what my last one wants

GENEVA LEE: He wants you to switch and become a preschool teacher, right?

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Of course, smart kid.

JOHNER RIEHL: Great. Well, thanks everyone. We’re looking forward to the conversation.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Before we jump in, we’re going to do a news headline and this is where we are going to take a look at a recent article. And just sort of, I think, kind of talk about it, see what we think. See if it’s worth our time to talk about it. Hopefully it was.

GENEVA LEE: Johner is not too sure.


ALICIA BRAVO: See if it makes the cut.

JOHNER RIEHL: This one is- this is about preschool toys. So, they say the Preschool Toy Market is coming back and it’s actually the- it was the largest toy category that was most affected by the recent economic downturn. With the economy improving, they are saying that we’ll see a return to growth but not necessarily complete correction. Worldwide sale of toys, typically for children between two and five have been going down since 2011. And it’s important because it represents nearly 15% of the 100billion dollar global toy market. And, so, what this article is saying is that, they think the parents are realizing that one way to save money without really hurting anyone was the cut back on the toys given to the littlest of kids. The parents found their two years didn’t care, whether a toy was 50 bucks or 5 bucks, because they would play for about, with it for about 30 minutes and not even stay with that if they were lucky, for 30 minutes.


JOHNER RIEHL: And then focus on the box the paper the ribbons, before pulling the tablecloth. And, so, parents are going.

SUNNY GAULT: The tablecloth!

JOHNER RIEHL: Down the price scale which really affected the Preschool Toy Market. But, they say it’s making its comeback. But what have you guy’s experiences been with the Preschool Toys recently and buying them for the young kids?

ALICIA BRAVO: I tend to not buy them for that age. What, seriously, what my kids have is what they have gotten through birthday presents and such or Christmas presents.


ALICIA BRAVO: And not typically buy toys. What people may have realized after the economic downturn is that they weren’t necessary.


ALICIA BRAVO: And so, as the money came back, they figured out like I mentioned, crayons, paper, construction papers, and those like kids scissors- the make fancy, things, my kids can play with those for hours and like you said ribbon and stuff.


ALICIA BRAVO: That you give them anything like buttons or something they can glue onto something else.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes. Flower beads.

ALICIA BRAVO: They do not need $50 toy.


SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, coloring books. Did you say coloring books? Those are huge in my house.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, crayons, yes

SUNNY GAULT: Crayons, coloring books


SUNNY GAULT: Things of that sort.

JOHNER RIEHL: See, those things seem a bit inferior-in theory for us. But, then again put out a page or two into it. And, then they


JOHNER RIEHL: Then they start wrestling all the way.

ALICIA BRAVO: Blank paper

SUNNY GAULT: Blank paper?

GENEVA LEE: Blank paper, absolutely.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, sure.

ALICIA BRAVO: That’s what we always did. Coloring books we had the same thing. They would love them in the store. They are only a dollar, so, you buy it.


ALICIA BRAVO: And you get home and they do the first two and everything else is the same characters. But plain paper they can go for hours on.

JOHNER RIEHL: So, the toy companies are pretty mad they were figuring this out.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh, yeah. This revelation we’ve just had.

ALICIA BRAVO: Paper, the paper, price of construction paper is going to sky rocket.


GENEVA LEE: So basically you guys, you have already discovered that, open ended material serve children better


GENEVA LEE: Than a precut plastic toy that doesn’t even fit anywhere in your house.

SUNNY GAULT: Interesting, yes.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, it doesn’t fit anywhere in the house, it only fits in one particular type of place.


JOHNER RIEHL: As opposed to others that have much more broad uses, more expensive- less expansive. They are less expensive and more stimulating for the child.

GENEVA LEE: And readily available.

JOHNER RIEHL: Quit, so quit spending big bucks, is what I’m thinking.

SUNNY GAULT: Although, it is tough like

JOHNER RIEHL: It’s so like

SUNNY GAULT: On the, you know, younger end of the scale we’re talking about two to five year old. You know, my twins are twenty months. So, they are kind of at that two year old stage and like, I wouldn’t give them crayons and paper, just to play with. Right? I mean, so there are some things

JOHNER RIEHL: You give them, they eat them.

SUNNY GAULT: You would, they would, right.

GENEVA LEE: You would give them pots and pans from the kitchen

SUNNY GAULT: Right. I could do that.

GENEVA LEE: And that, yeah

SUNNY GAULT: I totally could do that.


SUNNY GAULT: But like balls and stuff like that. Like anything that I’ve bought has been definitely, I’ve had to really think about it as being some sort of developmental skill. What a- what developmental skill are they going to get out of this.


SUNNY GAULT: And, you know, you know, if I thought it was worth the money, then I’d pay for it. But otherwise, yeah, I’d just try to keep it as simple as possible.

ALICIA BRAVO: You have a great point, on balls. We have balls of every size in our house.


ALICIA BRAVO: Those never leave.


ALICIA BRAVO: Another thing is people realize, you can have 50 toys for your kids and they are going to play with three.


ALICIA BRAVO: So, if you find those three that they want, that’s all you need.

JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, we’ll put a link to this article on the site and if you guys have some thoughts about the Preschool Toy Market, let us know. Or leave us a voicemail message in…

SUNNY GAULT: Yes, we’re going to hear you.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Today, on Parent Savers we’re talking about helping your toddler make the transition of preschool. Our experts today are two amazing preschool teachers Geneva Lee and Dymphna Anderson from the Manchester family Child Development Centre, The University of Santiago. Thanks so much for joining us.


GENEVA LEE: You’re welcome

JOHNER RIEHL: So, let’s start and I should probably say that for our two older kids for all three of our kids, they have been through Manchester. It’s actually a bitter sweet, sort of reunion today, because our, our, our youngest is in his final year of preschool, and for convenience reasons we moved him to a different preschool. And, it’s very, it’s sad that we miss him and he missed his teachers and I’m very excited to speak with them and I know these, they are great experts and very loving experts. So really excited to be talking to you guys.


JOHNER RIEHL: So, let’s start with taking about the transition. What so you guys see every year and things that are the hardest for parents and for kids making this transition.

GENEVA LEE: The hardest thing is for parents letting go.


GENEVA LEE: And letting their, letting their children free, setting them free. It’s not an easy thing to do.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Yeah. And, I think what that falls under the category is of trust. And, not only do we have to communicate with the child and make them feel safe, so that they trust us, we have to do the same thing with their parent as well. If their parents are uncomfortable leaving you, I think, the child is going to sense that and can create some kind of an anxious environment, during drop off.

JOHNER RIEHL: So, in very high level terms, do you think that the transition is harder for parents than it is for kids?



JOHNER RIEHL: Like, without a doubt.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Without a doubt.


JOHNER RIEHL: So, we do things like podcasts and talk about, and fret about it and bite our nails.

GENEVA LEE: Well, I think as Dymphna said the most important thing as a parent is that you need to be ready for this change. And you need to know in your heart that this is where you want your child to be. Because if you’re not the child will sense it and it will not be an easy transition.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Right, right. In fact, one of your questions here is talking about what to do before entering preschool? Classroom visits and such. Tour as many school as you possibly can, because it’s like buying a house. One of those, or two of those are going to head home.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: And, you know, you got to get your educational philosophy, and your [inaudible] philosophy in your head, so that when you do go to these schools you know exactly where you stand as far as how to teach and [inaudible] your child. They are going to be the other, the partners


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: In your child’s formative years.

GENEVA LEE: And, the preschool teachers, most likely are going to spend more waking hours with your child than you are. So you want to be sure that you are making the right choice and that you are comfortable with that choice.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, but I think that’s all- that’s also, I don’t want to scare parents either because that’s, there is the reality of the situation, but I think we like to not think that.


GENEVA LEE: Right, of course, of course you don’t.

JOHNER RIEHL: We like to not acknowledge that reality. So, I think it’s, it’s the balance, and it’s, it’s interesting that a lot of the preparation has to be done from the parents, so, ahead of time. So, as parents have made the decision the child’s going to go to preschool. And, we can even get into the benefit of why preschools are important?


JOHNER RIEHL: You know, I think that a lot of people, if they’re afraid of it, there’s great socialization aspect to preschool, there is great benefit to being around other kids, being around other teachers.


JOHNER RIEHL: Being around other experiences. So, once that decision is made, so start with touring as many preschools as possible?





DYMPHNA ANDERSON: There are so many out there available, that each school is going to have a specialization, in something, you will see, whether it’s art or play based or ABC learning, that kind of a situation and it depends on what you want. And then there are also play schools that are also, just daycare. So, if you are looking for a daycare it’s a totally different locale.

JOHNER RIEHL: What would you say there’s difference between a preschool and a daycare, just?

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: A daycare is a place to drop off children, and be in a safe environment with some supervision. A preschool in an enriching environment where you are paying money to help educate your child both socially, and academically as well as you know, physically emotionally, etc., etc.



ALICIA BRAVO: In my experience preschool is very structured.


ALICIA BRAVO: Daycares don’t have that structure. My older girls- my girls, went to a preschool that was a preschool in the morning and then a daycare in the afternoon. And they only had to go during the preschool time. But it was very interesting to see the transition of the school from preschool to daycare. Between the two we did have friends who stayed all day long. And it was completely different worlds.


SUNNY GAULT: Interesting.

ALICIA BRAVO: But I think Geneva had a great point. When a child is that age, they’ve to spend all of their life so far with a parent or maybe a family member or some . . .

GENEVA LEE: Family member.

ALICIA BRAVO: Yeah, exactly.

ALICIA BRAVO: And, so it’s hard to then to make that transition and hand them over to someone else that. You know, you have built this relationship so far with the other people, when you hand them over to some- I had the same thing. My children were either with my husband during growing up or my in-laws.


ALICIA BRAVO: And preschool was very difficult on my side to find that right fit.


ALICIA BRAVO: I had to find something that was going to be perfect, that complimented our parenting or home life.

SUNNY GAULT: Correct, exactly

ALICIA BRAVO: Or things like that, but still gave them that enrichment that we were looking for.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Exactly. Classroom teachers really make the program, you know, a committed classroom teacher is going to portray the schools philosophy and their goals. So, getting to know that teacher is very important. You know, there should be a cultural understanding between the two and as far as objectives and goals of why your child is there and what they are hoping to see it should definitely be a great bond.

JOHNER RIEHL: And, so, as parents are looking at preschool’s are there sort of interview questions that they might want to ask the director or the- like, do you guys get access, you don’t really get access to the parents before they’ve decided to go to the preschool that much, right?


JOHNER RIEHL: That’s more through like a different level, right?

GENEVA LEE: For our center, you need to get on the waiting list before you even come in for a tour. We need to know that you are serious.

GENEVA LEE: Because we have.


GENEVA LEE: A waiting list.

JOHNER RIEHL: Which is probably a good sign for any preschool.



JOHNER RIEHL: It has a waiting list

SUNNY GAULT: Not always.

JOHNER RIEHL: But, not always.

GENEVA LEE: But not, yeah

JOHNER RIEHL: So, some of them itself is a failure, okay.

GENEVA LEE: Well, as Dymphna says, you got to find what you are looking for and then you got to go out there and look for it and it’s very important I think, for us, for those children to come and meet us and see us before we’re ready to take care of them for ten hours a day.


GENEVA LEE: And, that’s what we do. We set up the- so at our school, you go, you get on the list. Then you get a tour, then you decide this is in fact where you want to be, pick your start day. We usually start at the beginning on the semesters because we are a university school. Some preschools just you can go whenever


GENEVA LEE: And start whenever you need to.


GENEVA LEE: And then, bring the child in for a visit. At least two times, with the

JOHNER RIEHL: Before even,

GENEVA LEE: With the

JOHNER RIEHL: I mean, once you have committed to that preschool.

GENEVA LEE: Yeah, once you are committed.

JOHNER RIEHL: Come and do a visit?


JOHNER RIEHL: And stay with them?



GENEVA LEE: Stay with them, visit with them, get to know the teachers, get to know the kids. We send emails, a lot of pictures of the teachers, that kind of thing. Just to get everybody to feel more comfortable and I think it really helps the transition.


ALICIA BRAVO: That’s the advantage that siblings have, siblings who are there to drop off.

SUNNY GAULT: Absolutely.

GENEVA LEE: Exactly.


ALICIA BRAVO: Familiarity with the center.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Usually better.

GENEVA LEE: Usually, but not always.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: You know, with every beginning of a new year, there’s going to be one anxious child and one anxious parent. And sometimes they are not related. So, you’ve got to be ready, you’ve got to be ready to be able to hold someone’s hand, make them feel comfortable and be available during drop off, because some parents, they don’t know how to do they- hand their child off. Do they- get their kid situated in a chair and involved in activity and sneak off.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, I want to dig deep into the drop off.



JOHNER RIEHL: Segment in the second part of the, of the

ALICIA BRAVO: Johner and one thing I wanted to mention when researching schools, the best thing to do is, from your parenting group, you usually tend to become friends with parents that are- that style- their parenting style is similar to yours. So, ask them what they recommend or what their friends recommend. That’s how I found the best preschools for my kids.

JOHNER RIEHL: Nice. And, so, then, as you are getting ready in the decision’s made, so, what do you guys in addition to classroom visits, what do you recommend parents do with their children? You know, say, its two weeks before preschool starts, what is their time to do or get them ready? Should they talk about it already?

GENEVA LEE: Talk, absolutely.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: No, I don’t think that works.

ALICIA BRAVO: Okay, so we have a different opinion, so let’s see, who gets the grade?

GENEVA LEE: Absolutely. It is, sure.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: I think that because the children- I don’t want to say that they are not capable of understanding the concept of time and when. But two weeks is a long time for a young child who doesn’t wear a watch, to wait. That’s almost like six months for us, so, I’m thinking

JOHNER RIEHL: It’s like 5 percent of their lives.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Right! So when you are going to have a transition like that and all is set and good and parents are comfortable, talk to them may be two days before, the school start day.


SUNNY GAULT: I think so.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: You know, or even the morning of, and “Hey, guess what, we are going to look at this new school and you’re probably going to be going to school there every day. So do you want to come with me? We’ll start together.

JOHNER RIEHL: Right. And start talking. And I think Geneva, you think, whether maybe two weeks is great, but the preparation, is the sort of the same.


JOHNER RIEHL: Talk to them about it ahead of time. Right

GENEVA LEE: Sure. What I’m thinking is you have your visits, the next time you come you’re going to stay here all day by yourself. You’ve met all these people. So, it doesn’t even have to be necessarily, okay, two days, two weeks, three weeks, whatever, but the next time you’re here, you are going to stay all day. And, and, then I’ll be back and get you, and you know we’ll talk more about the.

JOHNER RIEHL: But, they need to be in the loop. It feels like kids are.

GENEVA LEE: I think so, because they are in.

JOHNER RIEHL: In little control of so many things that they do need control of.


JOHNER RIEHL: Whatever you can give them.

GENEVA LEE: But, the time frame, like you say, you, so they don’t know, two weeks, three weeks.


GENEVA LEE: But the next time you come, you are going to stay.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: I’ve experienced that, some children think that they have a choice about their preschool. Whether they want to go that day, whether they want to go at all?


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Whether their parents have to work? Why they have to go to school, etc., etc.? So, when, when, I understand what you are saying about involvement in the loop, but you really need to think about how much.


ALICIA BRAVO: I agree with Dymphna- and if you are doing the visit, I wouldn’t say anything. I would just say, “Hey, we’re going to go to this group thing today”, and let them kind of experience it and then later on talk to them about how it’s a possibility they might be going there as school.


ALICIA BRAVO: But for the visit, I would treat it as a play-day.

GENEVA LEE: But, I think, each family is individual. You have to do what works best for you and your family and you think will work best for you and your family.


JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, definitely. But I think the key is that it’s not a surprise that.


JOHNER RIEHL: On that first day you.

GENEVA LEE: Yeah, you go, bye.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: It is not a choice. They hate that everything is not a choice. Just making it seem like a choice.

GENEVA LEE: Seem like a choice, right, it helps.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, that’s nice.

GENEVA LEE: Do you want to wear ‘this’ to school or do you want to wear ‘this’ to school?


GENEVA LEE: They are our kind of control.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: You know, the reality is that, there are some life decisions have to be made that are just going to be and children need to learn to trust their parents that their parents are going to find that safe enriching environment for them. Just like when a child is scared at night in the dark you have to reassure them that I’m your parent, I’m here to keep you safe, I would never put you in a place of harm that’s not safe, even at night.

JOHNER RIEHL: But, I think, but to be clear, we’re not talking about dropping them off in the scariest street in the neighborhood and leaving. We’re talking about preschool which

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: No, kidding, right.

ALICIA BRAVO: But to them it seems like the scariest.

JOHNER RIEHL: For my, for my kids apparently, it has been an amazing experience.


JOHNER RIEHL: And we’re so glad for them to be a part of it. So, it’s, I mean, I think, we’re talking about preparing them and it’s scary and it’s letting go. But a lot of what is scary is the feelings around it, not the amazing. . .

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Actual time, right

JOHNER RIEHL: Opportunities they’re being exposed to.

ALICIA BRAVO: And, I’m still reassuring my ten year old that I’m not going to put her in unsafe environment, so, they do that for- until they are on their own.

JOHNER RIEHL: Right, right. Alright let’s take a quick break. We are going to talk, then we’ll talk a little bit about the, what to do on that first day and then also, like as it goes on, and I think the drop off question, is a huge, huge question that parents mismanage. I’m sure all the time, and so.

ALICIA BRAVO: That’s parenting oops.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, exactly. Lots of Parenting Oops from preschool drop off I’m sure. Alright, so we’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome back everybody, today we’re talking about the- preparing your child for the transition of preschool with Geneva Lee, and Dymphna Anderson. Welcome back. So, we talked about getting ready and preparing the kids and looping them in or doing some visits, but now, it’s the first day of preschool. It is the first day where the child is going to be dropped off. What do you think parents should be prepared? How do think it should go? How does it go best for you guys?

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: The first thing I ask parents, is to really think about how, their type of ritual, goodbye ritual they want to establish. Do they, will they have time every morning to sit down on the couch and read a book with their child? Do they want to do that every morning? Or, is it most likely, “I’m going to have to drop this kid off and run, because this class I’m teaching is starting in ten minutes.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: So, you need to think about how you’re going to do it. How you are going to enter the door, put the things down and let the teacher know, what your plan is?


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: That way if you do have this child that might need extra help saying goodbye, she’s right there.


GENEVA LEE: You might not always have time for a morning ritual, so you know, you.

JOHNER RIEHL: But, if you can, it’s good to.

GENEVA LEE: Absolutely.


JOHNER RIEHL: Every morning should be kind of a little bit the same.

GENEVA LEE: Right, a routine.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Sure, exactly, exactly.

GENEVA LEE: Kids have a real favorite routine.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, and so, on the first day, don’t do something crazy weird, like sit on the couch and read with them for half hour and

GENEVA LEE: Right, if you can’t do that with them every day.

JOHNER RIEHL: If you are not planning on doing that every day.

GENEVA LEE: Exactly.


GENEVA LEE: Exactly.


JOHNER RIEHL: Start establishing how it’s going to be.

JOHNER RIEHL: And, so then the drop off.


JOHNER RIEHL: I mean, do you- is there a type of drop off you recommend? Is it one of those things, everyone is different, would do rather say it like a military mission, “Everyone in- out, then roll.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: People parachuting in.

JOHNER RIEHL: Disappear, parachuting, disappear, covert.


JOHNER RIEHL: Or, you know, or.

GENEVA LEE: Always say good bye. Never sneak out.

JOHNER RIEHL: Never sneak out?

GENEVA LEE: Never sneak out. This is the whole thing we have been talking about all along, trust. Your child needs to trust that you are not going to sneak out. You are always going to be back. And you know, it- they may be sad when they are coming in. “Okay, I know you are sad, it’s going to be okay. Your teacher is going to take good care of you. I will see you after work. I’ll always come back. So just.


GENEVA LEE: And then

JOHNER RIEHL: But then, water work, right? And then, but then, you got to go, right?

GENEVA LEE: There you go there you go, and you know my personal experience, I like to make it quick. It’s the quicker you make it, the easier it is. Some parents might not feel comfortable in that, and that’s where the parent needs to communicate with the teacher. How do you want to do this?

JOHNER RIEHL: So, tell us from your side of it, because when we drop off kids and they are crying and we leave, we don’t then see what the rest is going on. So what usually happens?

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: What usually happens?

JOHNER RIEHL: When a parent leaves and they leave their crying kid with you?

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: On the first day at school a teacher is probably going to do some hugging and distraction. She’s going to try to get that child to read a book with her, back rubbing, a lot of comforting while distracting and showing, pointing out how the environment is actually nice and safe and it’s going to be okay.

GENEVA LEE: Reassuring and acknowledging those, those tears. Like, “Yes, you, you feel really sad. Your mom’s going to work, you’re going to be with me all day. I understand that makes you sad, but we are going to have a good time and I’m going to take good care of you.

JOHNER RIEHL: And, do they turn in around very quickly?

GENEVA LEE: They turn in around very quickly. It’s all, most of the time, it’s for the parents.


GENEVA LEE: You know, they just- it is, it really is.

JOHNER RIEHL: Just last night we were doing something with some friends, and they observed Xyler. Basically whenever he thought he had my attention.


JOHNER RIEHL: [Inaudible], and then when I didn’t have it.


JOHNER RIEHL: He would calm down, and we’re like, they saw it in action. And it absolutely happened.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Right, right. And what I see is if the child does start crying and the parent’s already walking back out the door and comes back in and you are basically reinforcing the behavior

GENEVA LEE: True, yeah, that’s making it worse.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: That you, know.


GENEVA LEE: Right, that’s making it

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: I don’t want to say that you don’t want them to, you don’t want your kid to not ever cry, but

GENEVA LEE: It’s just going to make the child


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: You want to make that child feel confident, rather than insecure at that moment.


GENEVA LEE: Because, if you hear the crying and you are coming back, that’s just showing, “Oh, if I keep crying, they are going to come back”, you know.


GENEVA LEE: Whereas the best as a parent to do, is to make that break, go where you need to go and give us a call.



GENEVA LEE: Give us a call.

ALICIA BRAVO: That’s what I just experienced.


ALICIA BRAVO: Just check in.

GENEVA LEE: You should call.

ALICIA BRAVO: Like you said, like acknowledging their feelings from their teacher is huge. And the other thing that I think is funny is, I don’t think parents realize that teachers like you go through this every start.


ALICIA BRAVO: So, this is not new to you. Parents tend to think that they are the only one in that situation. They are the only ones attached to their children. They are the only ones- their children are attached to them. So, just, parents having that open mind that, you know what you are doing, you’ve dealt with this hundreds of time, and handed over, like you said,

GENEVA LEE: Building trust

ALICIA BRAVO: As long as you built that trust



ALICIA BRAVO: Then you can do it.


ALICIA BRAVO: My three year old just started preschool a month ago. He is the only one that had a problem, but luckily my older son had gone to the same preschool and so I have full trust in all of them.


ALICIA BRAVO: I kind of went to the teacher and said, what do you want me to do?


ALICIA BRAVO: To make this happen?


ALICIA BRAVO: So, she gave me some, pointers and I followed those instructions and about half an hour after I left, she texted me a picture of them playing with a smile on his face.




ALICIA BRAVO: Nobody wants to say goodbye ever. So, it’s going to be difficult.


SUNNY GAULT: I still have an issue with my three year old. So, he, for the last six months has been going to preschool, but at first he was going with his brother, so before his brother started kindergarten then they were going together, couple of days a week. And, they weren’t exactly in the same class, but they were close enough and they played together recess time and whatever. So, he was kind of comfortable with that. The moment that my kindergartner went to kindergarten and it was just, you know, my three year old the same preschool but by himself it, the drop off has turned into this just crying fast. And, it only happens for like two minutes and then he’s fine. But do you have any advice for parents? Because it breaks my heart all the time.


SUNNY GAULT: But I know, I’ve got my ritual that I do and I don’t break from it and I, you know, he knows that I’m leaving, I kiss his goodbye but I do not draw it out.

GENEVA LEE: Right, right.

SUNNY GAULT: You know, it’s, he know, but, he knows I’m going to leave and he know I’m going to pick him up in four hours.


SUNNY GAULT: Like, it’s not that big we do. But, any advice for parents that are struggling with that, you know, it’s not going away, that separation anxiety.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: It sounds like he has created this as part of your goodbye ritual.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh, great.

JOHNER RIEHL: It’s part of your plan.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: It’s going on six months


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: And he thinks that he has to do this every time to say goodbye. So, maybe one day, when he’s not crying yet and you are in process of going to school, “Oh, you know, it’s so great that you’re not crying, you know you’re going to be safe.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: “You know you are going to have fun and I know you can handle this. Maybe today if you don’t cry, you’ll actually have more fun, because then you won’t have a runny nose, your eyes will not be tearing up and do you want to give it a try?


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Little confidence and positive reinforcement whenever child behaves in a way you like, you let him know and keep praising that.


GENEVA LEE: And the other thing I do as a teacher. Because this will happen with kids that have come to- that have been coming for months and all of a sudden they are going to start this new thing, “As you know, when you are sad like this and when your mom has to go to work all day, it makes her really sad too, you know” and

SUNNY GAULT: A guilt trick.

GENEVA LEE: Right and you know it works.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: It’s more like you know how you can help your mom, is if you don’t cry.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Because you know, you’re okay, we know you’re okay, she knows you’re okay, so, let’s, let’s make it better for her tomorrow, so she’s easier, she doesn’t have to say goodbye to her crying baby.


DYMPHNA ANDERSON: She knows that you love her but let’s give it a try not crying and she’ll have an easier day and maybe she’ll come back earlier from work with more time to play with you. She didn’t have to think about you crying and worry about you.


GENEVA LEE: Give him the guilt trick. Either ways.


GENEVA LEE: And they are old enough to understand.


GENEVA LEE: You’ll be surprised, how much these kids understand.


JOHNER RIEHL: So, we talked a little about communication in the phone call, like you got the phone call and the text. What are you guys seeing, I mean especially now with, how are you communicating with parents? Are they sending you emails or are they texting you, are they calling you? Is it a combination? Does it change parent to parent? What’s the state of preschool communication today?

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: All of the above.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, and is it pretty constant?

GENEVA LEE: It is. We are currently redoing our manual to not to text parents, because it was starting to get a little out of control.

JOHNER RIEHL: There was a lot of texting going on?

GENEVA LEE: Yeah, so, the parents to get in touch with us email. We always look at our email every day, and call the front desk there’s always someone at the front desk, that can run and check on your child or ask your teacher to come and talk to you. But in this day and age

JOHNER RIEHL: I would imagine that’s probably happing in lot of preschools all over the place, is dealing with a pleather of texts.

GENEVA LEE: Yeah, we’ve, we’ve actually had, had to, you know, stop that, because it was getting too out of control.


GENEVA LEE: We’re teachers, we’re with your kids, we can’t text you whole day.

ALICIA BRAVO: That’s exactly why I’ve never texted a preschool teacher.

SUNNY GAULT: Me too, I thought about that too and I’m, no, no, no, no, they are way busy.


SUNNY GAULT: I’m not going to go


SUNNY GAULT: Go down that wet road.

ALICIA BRAVO: My need from you is to be taking care of my child.



ALICIA BRAVO: Not answering my texts. I’ve always felt like I was not doing something right by doing that but I go at pick up and I check and I say, “How did they do today”, or send an email saying, how are things been going. But, you know, I cannot bug someone. . .



ALICIA BRAVO: Bug someone throughout the day that’s taking care of my children.

GENEVA LEE: But we’ve had to go that round.

JOHNER RIEHL: Interesting

GENEVA LEE: But you know email works great.

DYMPHNA ANDERSON: Which goes to your phone, so it’s almost like receiving a text anyways, and then you know that all these parents are all uncomfortable. I better go check with them in 10 minutes, when I have a free moment.


ALICIA BRAVO: I like that idea of calling the front desk. Like, it’s say, “I’ll just go peek in and make sure.”

GENEVA LEE: Sure. Yeah, they do that.

ALICIA BRAVO: That’s a good idea.

JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, thanks so much well, everyone. Thanks to Geneva Lee and Dymphna Anderson for joining us.

GENEVA LEE: Thank you.


JOHNER RIEHL: For more information, or if you guys want to learn more about The Manchester Family Child Development Centre or other preschools visit our website We’ll have just a couple of links from the show. The conversation will continue afterwards for members of our Parent Savers Club. In our bonus content we’re talk a little more about preschool and all the love that these teachers have to give; which I think is so amazing. For more information about The Parent Savers Club, visit the member’s portion of our website.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so, as promised we are starting, we are starting a new segment on Parent Savers and it’s ‘what up with that’ and it is where

JOHNER RIEHL: ‘What up with that’?

SUNNY GAULT: ‘What up with that’, and it’s where your kids do something and you are just baffled, you are just like, “There is no, reason that my child should be doing this. And so, it’s just fun to share with other parents, because we don’t get, it we just don’t get it. And so, I’m going to kick it off with one of mine, my favorite ‘what up with that’ moments.
And it is when I go in and I see my son, my son loves to play with the iPad and we have the YouTube kids app on it, which really should, they should monitor that a little more, because there’s a lot of stuff on it, I’m like, what up with that. But the biggest thing on there that-drives-me-crazy, is when my kid watch the video, I swear all they are doing is unraveling plastic Easter eggs to find out what the prize is. My sons, both of them, will sit there, like it is, and then they want me to go buy Easter eggs, and it’s like Halloween time, like, there are no Easter eggs out there.

JOHNER RIEHL: But, what is in these videos, that, like, they are opening?

SUNNY GAULT: It’s like little toys that are in, little baby toys.

JOHNER RIEHL: The junky little toys?

SUNNY GAULT: The junky stupid little toys.


SUNNY GAULT: Sometimes they are actually, sometimes they get the really, really, big eggs, and then there’s actually some decent stuff in there, but seriously it is a ten minute video of unraveling eggs, like it’s so stupid. And I really want to know, what up with that?

JOHNER RIEHL: What up with that?

SUNNY GAULT: What is up with that? I mean do your kids do that at all.

JOHNER RIEHL: No. They get in some really silly things. They haven’t really gotten into that eggs thing. Maybe, I’m thinking that, maybe, we have a bunch of Easter eggs, because [inaudible] into all these Easter eggs hunts and stuff.

SUNNY GAULT: Right, Right

JOHNER RIEHL: We should just fill up with crap. Do you kids want to?

SUNNY GAULT: And videotape it, for YouTube.

JOHNER RIEHL: And videotape it, yeah. And then send it to your kids.

SUNNY GAULT: I’m telling what they, these videos, no joke, have millions of downloads, I’m not kidding.

JOHNER RIEHL: I don’t get it, I don’t get it, I don’t understand it.

SUNNY GAULT: I know, what up with that?

JOHNER RIEHL: What up with that?

[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Parent Savers.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed
• This is Twin Talks for parents of multiples and
• Newbies for those going through it for the first time.
Thanks again for joining us. This is Parent Savers- empowering new parents.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line-up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series or if you’re a business or organization interested in joining our network of shows, through a co-branded podcast, visit

[End of Audio]

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