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  #1  
Old 09-08-2019, 03:52 PM
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Exclamation Drop-Off/Pick-up Help

---Back story---
Okay, so I am in a room probably 20' by 15' with now 12 toddlers, age 20 to 30 months, plus a teacher's aid. Also, of course, tables, bookshelves, and two cabinets. There is very little I can do about the space, as it is a shared space--for instance, I would like to rearrange and move one of the cabinets out, but am unable to.
---Actual problem---
This is an okay situation--until pick-up. Now, drop-off is a little chaotic, too, with so many parents coming and going and the need to calm down so many criers (especially since I have a lot of new children at this point), but that is to be expected. Pick-up, however, is an utter nightmare. A bunch of parents come at the same time--again, can't be avoided, but with a room this size, makes for a very crowded space. Children linger by the door in groups, waiting for their parents once they know they are coming. Parents often leave the door open, causing me to have to rush over there and close it so that no one leaves the room. It gets so chaotic that I often forget to inform parents of the things that they need to know and I feel leaves a sense of chaos with parents about their kid's room--which I hate, because the rest of the day really runs quite smoothly.

I have never been a fan of this time of day, but this year just seems so much worse. Maybe it is the group, or just having 2 more kids (I used to have 10), but it makes the end of every day so awful and impedes my ability to develop a relationship with the parents, I feel. What do your kids do at pick-up? Do you have any management strategies that might be helpful?
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:22 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Would there be a way to manage the parents by telling them to text you when they are there and you could either have them come up one at a time or could bring their child out the door one at a time? I think that you need to set the tone of what is expected at pick up time. Possible revise your pickup policy to manage the problem.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:04 PM
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I work in a daycare center, so I am not technically supposed to have my phone out. I would like to simply have parents not come into the room and bring the children to the door—this would not be terribly difficult, as I have a half door and can see parents coming—but my center’s owner is insistent that parents be allowed to come into the rooms. I don’t know how much my director will allow for me to have “specific rules” in my class, but I would almost like to have parents come to the door and wait to be let in. I’ve had some parents who do this naturally, it is just hard to change habits once they are already in place. I have considered finding a quiet activity such as table activities or story time, instead of free play; and I think that might help the level of chaos a little, but I don’t know how children who have just woken up from a nap will take to sitting still for an extended period of time.

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Old 09-09-2019, 05:09 AM
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I have had to employ many different strategies for end of day pickup as well. It is almost always the most stressful part of the day for everyone.

It really depends on the age but I would always engage the kids in a story time. Getting everyone to sit in a circle and read a book or just tell a story from memory or sing songs together. Then when a parent came in I would say “Jimmy, mommy is here” and he would leave the circle. Right before this it was clean up time so the play area was put away completely. As for communicating with parents maybe a communication book might be helpful. We always used communication notebooks to let the parents know of anything going on because of this very reason.

Another option is to bring out the most engaging toy at the very end of the day. Some people have suggested boxes of toys that change every day and are new to the kids. I used colouring and play doh at the end of the day but this would also depend on the kids you have.

As for parents I would send out a newsletter or post a BIG sign on the door to PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR BEFORE LEAVING and remind remind remind!
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
I have had to employ many different strategies for end of day pickup as well. It is almost always the most stressful part of the day for everyone.

It really depends on the age but I would always engage the kids in a story time. Getting everyone to sit in a circle and read a book or just tell a story from memory or sing songs together. Then when a parent came in I would say “Jimmy, mommy is here” and he would leave the circle. Right before this it was clean up time so the play area was put away completely. As for communicating with parents maybe a communication book might be helpful. We always used communication notebooks to let the parents know of anything going on because of this very reason.

Another option is to bring out the most engaging toy at the very end of the day. Some people have suggested boxes of toys that change every day and are new to the kids. I used colouring and play doh at the end of the day but this would also depend on the kids you have.

As for parents I would send out a newsletter or post a BIG sign on the door to PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR BEFORE LEAVING and remind remind remind!
I agree with this!
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:43 AM
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Sounds like it is well below 20ft usable space per.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Sounds like it is well below 20ft usable space per.
This was my first thought too but I am unsure what state OP is in.... (funny how this is the info we glean from posts sometimes.. lol!)

Anyways @OP~ I would request that your director come and either observe or participate in pick up time. That might be the only way she sees/understands what chaos you are referring to. Also it is a HUGE safety risk for parents to be leaving the door open and that would probably be the angle I'd use to approach your director about the issue at hand.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:58 AM
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I work at a center as well and we are also not allowed to have our phones out. All drop off and pick ups happen in the gym because of the chaos. We usually have parents sign their children in or out and have them come to their individual classrooms and collect their things at the end of the day
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:05 PM
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Is the half door low enough to lift kids over it? If not, you might consider a walk through gate. Either have your aide keep the kids occupied while you handle parents (since you have information to pass on), or start some kind of daily activity sheet that tells the basics (how/ what they ate, how/ when they napped, what they learned or did, etc). Pick a time when most of the parents start picking up, have the kids ready, messes cleaned up and when parent comes, say "hey, we'll be right there!... Timmy, Mom's here!", grab child's hand, walk them to the door. A quick message and goodbye and turn back to the group. Be friendly, but resist the urge to talk more than necessary, it will eventually teach them to shorten things--unless they're attention hogs, I've had those. It's fun... Lol...

I would start a single file setup--1 parent in the room picking up at a time. Tell them you've had issues with the door being left open, so you're making changes. I would also suggest that you use the furniture to create an entrance way that divides just inside the door from the rest of the room. Once you've walked a child to their parent, they're not allowed to return to the play area. If you have a lingerer, you can either so, "oh! Looks like Susie's mom is here. We'll see you tomorrow, Tommy!" or if no one is there, "well, I'll let you get on with your evening, I need to get these blocks put away / Susie's coat on, etc"
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by springvalley112 View Post
I work at a center as well and we are also not allowed to have our phones out. All drop off and pick ups happen in the gym because of the chaos. We usually have parents sign their children in or out and have them come to their individual classrooms and collect their things at the end of the day
See, I love this and would like to have them pick up in a different area, but our usable space is limited and our “gym” area connects to an outside door, so I feel an even bigger safety issue might be at play...The facility and the owner’s unwillingness to listen to the people who are actually there is frustrating as it limits our ability to make big change. My plan as of now is to do play doh and story time during pick up. I have also considered using masking tape to create a “don’t go here until you’re called” zone for the children for the area by the door. This seems to be the main suggestions I am getting from the group. I just got word that my numbers are decreasing at least temporarily back to 10, so hopefully that will help with easing transitions. If it doesn’t get better I will involve parents a little more in the change (like 1 parent in the room at a time), but am sure I will get push-back from admin so am trying to avoid it 😕
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:49 PM
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I appreciate everyone’s feedback! I had some similar thoughts, but was wanting to hear from people who had put them into action before and how exactly they were done, whether they were effective, etc. I will be trying some of the ideas tomorrow, so hopefully things start improving soon!

Thanks again!!

PS, our facility, being run out of a church, does not have to be “licensed” and thus we have even less leverage for making things less chaotic, unfortunately. I am not sure about the space laws in my state, but I know we have been over ratio before. The owner directs a licensed center and knows all of the regulations, but seems to prioritize numbers over quality of care, sadly. I’m beginning to think I might be better off to take my skill set elsewhere, but really love some of my children and my coworkers so am doing my best to make it work.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:55 PM
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I appreciate everyone’s feedback! I had some similar thoughts, but was wanting to hear from people who had put them into action before and how exactly they were done, whether they were effective, etc. I will be trying some of the ideas tomorrow, so hopefully things start improving soon!

Thanks again!!

PS, our facility, being run out of a church, does not have to be “licensed” and thus we have even less leverage for making things less chaotic, unfortunately. I am not sure about the space laws in my state, but I know we have been over ratio before. The owner directs a licensed center and knows all of the regulations, but seems to prioritize numbers over quality of care, sadly. I’m beginning to think I might be better off to take my skill set elsewhere, but really love some of my children and my coworkers so am doing my best to make it work.
Being license exempt however doesn't excuse your director from having to follow state laws or be subject to liability should a child be lost or accidentally let out of the facility when the door is left open.

I agree with you in regards to taking your skill set elsewhere... it might be in your best interest as you could be held responsible if someone were hurt or lost on your watch. Regardless of who owns or operates the center.
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