2 Meet individual needs. For children who can confidently wave good-bye at the door, provide open activities so they can independently join their friends. For those who may need more time separating, offer places (a cuddle couch, a puzzle table) where parents and children can have some extra moments together.
3 Assist anxious parents. Some parents feel guilty about leaving their child and may appear sad, stressed, or defensive. If possible, call a concerned parent to reassure her when her child is comfortably settled.
4 Make routines predictable. Try to start each day the same way so children can enter into a clear routine and feel confident as they leave their parents. Help them develop their own good-bye rituals.
5 Enlist help. For children struggling with separation at school, encourage walking in with a buddy for a little extra support. Try to have a reassuring staff member, "foster grandmother," or special volunteer available for some hand-holding.
6 Provide personal spaces. Personalize a child's cubby or plastic tub. You can print labels such as, '"My toys make me happy' -Adam." To smooth out separations, you can also encourage a child to hug his favorite blanket or stuffed animal.
7 Get children involved. Predictability is comforting and provides security. Encourage children to hang up their jackets in their cubbies and then to turn over their picture name cards, announcing, "We're here!"
8 Communicate feelings. Offer items for writing and drawing "I miss you letters" to share with parents later. Have dramatic-play props available that encourage hugging a crying baby or acting out Mommy or Daddy going to work.
9 Share photos. Display family photos at eye level so that children are surrounded by familiar faces. Take photos of new friends and caring teachers. Label them so children can get to know everyone.
10 Tune in to timing. Encourage parents to arrange for an unhurried beginning to the day. They can engage their children in a simple school activity. As children gradually become involved, help parents depart instead of prolonging their good-byes.