My eldest daughter started grade 1 this year. Half way through term one I asked her if she wanted me to drop her at the school gate one morning just for fun and she would have to make her way to the classroom on her own. She seemed keen and up for the challenge. My thinking around it was that I was going to have a newborn baby in 4 months time PLUS a 4 year old that also needed to be dropped at kindy so one less in and out of the car on certain days would be a gift.
I didn’t want to spring this idea on her once the baby arrived so I thought to slowly and patiently see if she was up for the challenge when there was no pressure either way.
So on this specific morning Miss 6 happily jumped out of the car and walked in through the school gate on her own. I sat in the car and watched to make sure she was safe within the school grounds then was off to my next kindy drop off. Miss 6 quite liked the responsibility and independce so she was super excited to tell me about it in the afternoon.
I don’t drop her off at the school gate every morning as I like to walk her in and chat to other mums and the teacher however knowing that I can drop her off at the gate when I really need it and she is confident is great. It also gives our family an extra 15 minutes in the morning to get ready which feels like a lifetime. At this point in time I drop her at the gate twice a week and walk her in three times. I think maybe once the baby is born it will be drop off three times and walk in twice but we will see.
There are many different factors that can play into when the appropriate time to start dropping and leaving.
- You need to know what the school policy is when it comes to drop offs and pick ups. Some schools may require that you stay until class begins. They may have different rules according to the child’s age. It is also good to remember that as parents we want to promote independence, so leaving your child to take responsibility for themselves and their bag is an important skill to learn at some point.
- When thinking about dropping off your child at the school gate and leaving, you want to consider the child. If he or she is confident, has no separation troubles, and seems to have it together than you can probably assume they will be fine.
- Don’t think about the age factor as much as how each child behaves in certain situations. This goes back to what I mentioned in number 2.
- Only you know what is or isn’t right for your child. If you feel great dropping them off at the school gate and leaving, then do so. But if you’re not sure they are ready, chances are, you should walk them to their teacher until you feel confident that they are ready.
- If your child enjoys having you take them to the school gate, then do it for as long as they will allow you and is possible in your specific circumstance. We all know that after time, the child will want you to stop. All parents want to cherish the younger years when mum and dad were still cool.
When it is time to start dropping off at the gate and leaving, you will know and so will your child. The important thing to remember is regardless of how they get to their classroom that they make it safely, and are confident to do so.