My three-year-old son attends a small, in-home daycare. The other kids in the daycare range from about 1 year to 5.
There is one other boy my son's age, and the two of them are very good friends. My son looks forward to going explicitly to play with the other boy, and when we ask him what he did at daycare on any given day, the answer is invariably a description of how the two of them played together, and what toys they played with.
My son frequently tells us that the other boy is his best friend, and the two of them apparently tell each other that throughout the day on a regular basis.
Unfortunately... we recently found out that the other boy will be leaving daycare next week.
We've made attempts to arrange for the two of them to get together outside of daycare in the past, and the boy's mother (a single mother who is apparently having a hard time right now) has been generally unresponsive. It seems unlikely that we'd be able to maintain any sort of contact once he leaves daycare.
My son isn't yet aware that the other boy will be leaving, but when he does, I know my son will be very upset.
What can I do to help him through this? Is there anything I should/can do to prepare him? Should I tell him ahead of time, or wait until the other boy's last day?
Apparently the other boy is currently on a trip, and will return some time early next week, but then Friday is his last day. They'll only have 3-4 days together before the other boy is gone for good.