4 Steps to Help Parents Say a Healthy Goodbye

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As a parent, it’s never easy to leave your clinging or sobbing child to attend worship service. These transition tips will help your child feel secure while you’re away.

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1. Stay calm. Don’t lose your temper or get frustrated when your child clings to you. Your frustration only heightens your child’s feelings of sadness and insecurity.
2. Be positive. If you put on a sad face, the situation will only escalate. Keep a positive attitude and say things such as, “You’ll be just fine. You’re going to have so much fun here!” so your child will be confident you’re leaving him or her in a safe place.
3. Don’t linger. The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. By lingering, you’re preventing your child from getting involved in activities that’ll distract him or her and alleviate anxiety.
4. Say goodbye. Sneaking out while your child’s back is turned betrays your child’s trust in you and the situation. Plus, it confirms your child’s worst fear — that you’re going to suddenly disappear. Give your child a hug, a time you’ll return, and then say goodbye.

Rhoni Standefer
Knoxville, Tennessee

Nursery Teacher Tip:

Infants and toddlers need to belong and feel secure. To help children feel less insecure when their parents drop them off, I had parents give me three things: a picture of their child, a picture of the parents, and a recording with the parents’ voices. The parents usually record a special story for their child and spoke their child’s name repeatedly.

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I hung the pictures on the wall. Now when the children cry for their parents, I take them over to the wall to see their pictures and I play their parents’ recording. This has helped calm children quickly.

Esther Stockwell
Anaheim, California

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