Alas, preschool is behind us, and I was fortunate that neither of my children had much trouble with school dropoff. But Shawn’s hack still choked me up a bit:
My daughters and I have a little ritual that helps alleviate separation anxiety when dropping off at preschool. Just before I leave, when my lipstick is usually still fresh enough, I give her a little kiss on the back of her hand. She knows that if she starts to miss me after I am gone, she can get another kiss from Mommy by just pressing the back of her hand to her cheek. It is just a little way to keep a little bit of Mommy there even after Mommy is gone.
Sometimes, we have changed it up a bit: she knows that if she thinks that I am missing her, then she can let me give her a kiss to help me. Truthfully, the lipstick is washed away long before I pick her up, but the idea gets her through the day. I started this when my oldest was two years old, and this year she started first grade. [SNIFF. — Ed.] I thought it might be a little odd to have a lip print on her hand, so I drew a little heart on her wrist. Today, she asked for it again. She said she could see it while she was drawing, and liked to have Mommy’s heart close all day.
The classic book that illustrates this idea is The Kissing Hand. A sweet, and comforting way to contextualize going off to school for a little kid. I love how the little raccoon is just waking up as the sun is setting, and his “school day” begins during the dark of night.