Blog 2

7 Steps For a Smooth Drop-off

Blog by Sabina Veronelli


Drop offs can be a delicate moment sometimes, even when children have settled in or have been in care for long. Maybe it has been a stressful period and parents could not spend as much time as usual playing and connecting with children . Maybe there is a new sibling arriving. Maybe the night sleep was disrupted by bad dreams. Maybe someone died and that triggered fears. Maybe a friend has chosen to play with someone else lately, and there is a sense of insecurity.

Whatever the cause may be, the moment parents leave can trigger big feelings every now and then in children. In our experience we have noticed that creating a routine for the days of care, which starts setting aside some time for connection before coming do day care, greatly helps children at drop-off time. Here are our tips:

Do some Special time before childcare.

Make sure you spend some quality time with your child before coming to care. The more the better, but even 5 minutes can help. Spend that time showing love and connection, doing something your child really enjoys. Some special time helps children feel happy, safe and good within themselves. It creates the sense that the world is a good and safe place, where their needs are met.

Follow the same predictable routine once at the center.

Once you arrive at Rachel’s Place always do the same things: wash hands, get name tag, put the bag in the locker, apply sunscreen. Then do something special everyday with your child, always the same thing: a book on the couch, a castle in the sandpit, or else. After that, say your goodbyes and go. Make sure your child knows what the routine is. You may decide together what the special thing is, and how you are going to say goodbye - a hug, a high five, a goodbye at the waving window. This will give children the possibility to control part of the routine.

Keep your emotions in check

Children can sense our feelings. If we are tense and nervous about leaving them, they will pick up on it. If we are confident and convinced they are safe, they will settle more easily.

Sometimes the most important thing we can do to help a child ease into the day at childcare is managing our own emotions. Focus on talking to your child in a slow pace and a serene tone while at the center. If you feel anxious, find strategies that can help you calm your emotions - 6 deep, slow breaths are a proven way to regain a sense of balance.

When it is time to leave, stick to the routine.

If you have agreed to read one book…. then leave after one book, even if your child gets teary and asks you to read another one. We will be there to help. If you stay for longer, your child will keep asking for another book, and the anxiety will keep escalating in anticipation of your leave.

Talk to us about your routine, so we can be there with you, ready to help.

Always say goodbye even if your child gets upset when you leave. If you leave sneakily while your child is distracted, the following time they may be clingy, fearing you may disappear anytime in an unpredictable way.

What happens when you leave and your child is upset

If after the goodbyes your child is upset, we will be there to help. We will comfort them and help them feel safe. Research tells us that an attuned adult who stays with an upset child to acknowledge and validate big feelings, helps the child regulate emotions. Day after day children will feel safer, learning that we are here for them when they have a hard time. Soon they will trust us to be there for them and it will be easier for them to let you go.

Playing drop-offs can be very helpful

“Playing drop-offs” using dolls, puppets or Lego, replicating exactly the routine you will follow in care while in your familiar and safe space at home, allows children to get ready for something new and unfamiliar.

You may let your child play the part of the adult, while you play the part of a child. You will be the one saying goodbye and feeling maybe a bit nervous, while your child plays the part of the parent. This type of play helps a child explore an experience that may be a bit scary from a position of control.

We can help you with a settling in plan.

If things feel challenging, talk to your key person or to Rachel. We will meet and draw a personalised plan with some strategies that will support your family. We are here to help you.


At Rachel's Place we recognize that drop-offs can be a challenging moment for some children and we are committed to being there for them.

  • The child's key educator will stay with her and help him move through his feelings, until he feels better.
  • We will listen to children with empathy when they are sad, comforting them and acknowledging their feelings.
  • We support children in engaging in experiences of interest that provide soothing and help move away from sadness - a favourite toy, sensory play, playful ways to practice breathing, art and music experiences.
  • We support children in joining interest-based play experiences with friends
  • If difficulties persist, we will meet with the family and draw a personalized plan to ease drop-offs
Family Involvement

Opening Hours

  • Monday – Friday: 7:30am to 5:45pm


  • 111 Vulture Street, West End, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 4101

Phone Number

Rachel's Place is an inviting community focused, independent child care centre. We create a safe and nurturing community for all who walk through our door.