I use to take my 3 years old son to the kindergarten every morning. I’ve been doing it since he was 9 months old: it’s a short but deep sharing moment as it’s a small trauma for him (detaching from his parents).
Sometimes (really seldom) I have to leave earlier for work and my wife takes my role for this task. And every time the same story: my son is always very upset, he cries as he wants his dad for that rite.
I have a scarf of my beloved soccer team (Genoa), I’m not strong supporter and I just use it as a game with my son. He is used to see me with that scarf and together we sing funny songs (like “Chi non salta un Doriano è” o “Genova is only red and blue”).
Some days ago, in the early morning, I was trying to explain to him that I had a train to take and that I couldn’t go with him to the kindergarten. He was crying and I had an idea:
<me> look son, do you know what is this?
<son> yes dad, your scarf!
<me> and what do we do with this scarf?
<son> we play together, sing and have some fun!
<me> correct! we use it together. What about going to the kindergarten with this scarf and showing it to your buddies?
<son> Ohh yessss, give me!
This process is called anchoring and does work not only with babies 🙂