Take immediate interest in their accomplishments
In the drop off, we discussed how it can be very easy to check out and go into "checklist" mode after you leave the house. An enormous amount of time and energy just went into leaving on time, and now you need to get your bearings straight and run through the things that you need to accomplish. However, as Ted has stated, do not neglect this important alone time while driving. These small seemingly insignificant moments will open you up to the world of your toddler. A similar thing can be said for the pick up.
You might have accomplished everything, saved a cat from a tree, solved Fermat's theorem, but in the end, its about giving your toddler time to share their accomplishments. Show them that their achievements on this day matter and have value. This can be as simple as walking into their home room and looking at the work they did that day. Bear in mind, that you don't want to be spending too much time here. Remember, your daycare providers, teachers, babysitters, etc. have a life too...If anything, their day can be shared on the ride home, or even reviewed when you arrive at the house.
It will be important for your kids to share because it will show how much they take pride in something. You never know, this could help shape their future in the workplace. If they love something and are passionate about it, keep going after it! By listening to them, you will show them that you care, and this will deepen the bond you have with your child. Ask questions on how they did something, unlike preparing breakfast, NOW would be an appropriate time for open ended questions. Keep your feedback brief and positive. If they seem to have really enjoyed the work they did that day, encourage them to keep up the great work!
All in all, show them you care, take immediate interest in their accomplishments