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Dr. Cheryl Caragnano, Pediatrician

Making Morning and Evening Transitions a Cinch

For parents and nannies, the daily morning and evening transition, more accurately described as the changing of the guard, can be quite stressful.  If it happens too fast, the children may feel like they forgot to say goodbye, which can lead to an off start to the next segment of the day. If it takes too long, the children may resist the change, making the transition more dramatic and tantrum filled than it needs to be, leaving everyone to start the next segment of the day on a low note.

So what’s the solution?

At Morningside Nannies we encourage parents and nannies to work together to develop a simple routine that they follow during the morning and evening transition.

In the mornings this may include:

  • Keeping the pre-nanny morning routine consistent. Knowing that his nanny is going to show up to get him out of bed or right after breakfast will help him to understand what to expect in his day.


  • Creating a positive association with the arrival of the nanny. If a child is sitting happily, watching his favorite Thomas the Train episode, shutting it off right before nanny comes in will be a recipe for disaster. Instead, have the nanny join him to finish watching his favorite morning show and they can shut it off to start their day together.


  • Have a special goodbye mom or dad ritual. “See you later alligator, in a while crocodile” followed by a high five and a fist bump may be all it takes to establish a fun way of saying goodbye.  A hug, handshake and hearty wave can help encourage successful separation.

In the evenings this may include:

  • Keeping the pre mom or dad arrival routine consistent. Perhaps the last thing the nanny does before mom or dad arrives home is to give the kids a bath or read a story to them. Knowing that mom or dad will arrive after a specific activity can help children to anticipate what comes next.


  • Having mom or dad change into “play clothes” when returning home. Nothing signals its mommy time like cozy clothes that are designed to be climbed on. By coming in and getting changed you are signaling to the kids that you’ve transitioned from work to home and are ready to focus on family.


  • Having a special goodbye nanny ritual. Singing a short goodbye song., chanting a special phrase you’ve come up with together or beeping the horn before you drive away can help the kids to disconnect and move onto mom and dad time more successfully.

While it can be tempting to give just one more hug or high five, prolonging transitions often does more harm than good. Saying goodbye and then following through by leaving signals to a child that she’s in safe and in competent hands. For moms who feel anxious, calling home ten minutes after you’ve left can help ease anxiety. You’ll likely hear lots of giggles and laughter on the other end of the line.

Some children just have a tough time separating and transitioning. With patience and consistency overtime they should more easily adjust to the routine. If a child continues to have a challenge separating and doesn’t calm down after a parent has left, evaluate the routine and the quality of the connection the child and nanny share.


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