Tears are a common occurrence at school drop-offs, especially for young children, just starting. Calming a little one’s fears at school drop off will lead to fewer tears and maybe even a few smiles. Follow these tips to handle school drop-offs like a pro.

Take Advantage of the Lead-up Time

Prepare your child well in advance for what they should expect in school. Take advantage of meet-the-teacher nights, preschool story hours, or even frequent visits to the school playground. Getting them comfortable with space will make school an easier transition for them.

Create a Good Routine

Kids are creatures of habit, and they often thrive with a set routine. Try to make school days look the same and include a healthy breakfast and quality time before school starts. When kids know what to expect from the very beginning, they will be less anxious.

Give Them Something Physical to Hold on to

When separation anxiety strikes, it can help to have a physical item to comfort your child. A favorite stuffed animal or blanket is always helpful, as is a photograph of you. You can even create a personalized book to read through to help calm them down when they’re anxious.

Encourage Them to let Their Feelings out at Home

Kids should be allowed to and encouraged to express their feelings. Teaching them when it’s appropriate to express those feelings is key. Encourage them to let their feelings out at home so that they are less likely to throw a temper tantrum by the time they get to school.

Make the Goodbye Brief

Long, drawn-out goodbyes can make for even more tears. A quick goodbye will cause the least pain and allow your little one to move on faster. Once they are distracted by their teacher and peers, the tears will become a distant memory. Give them a quick hug and kiss, an encouraging word, and be on your way.

Exposing your kids at a young age to new experiences will also make them less anxious. All of these tips will make for an easier drop off time and a happier school year.