Dropping your child off at daycare for the first time can be an emotional experience for everyone involved. As a parent, you may worry that they may suffer from separation anxiety, have difficulty coping, or struggle to make friends at child care. On the other hand, children may become distressed due to being in an unfamiliar environment with people that they perceive to be strangers. Adjusting to this new type of situation can take time. However, following some basic tips can help make this process run as seamlessly as possible.
Bring Something of Comfort
Children often have a favourite toy, blanket, or stuffed animal that provides them with a sense of comfort. Bringing this item with them for the first few days may be a great way to lessen any fear that they may experience. Not only are they reminded of home, but they may use this as a calming mechanism should they get overwhelmed. If they are hesitant to play with new toys or participate in group activities, then this item can provide them with a source of entertainment. Once they have become more accustomed to their new surroundings, it may no longer be necessary for them to bring anything.
Involve the Teacher
Meeting your child’s caretaker prior to their first day may be an excellent way to address any fears or concerns that you may have regarding their enrollment. Together, you can identify effective strategies on how to handle any potential difficulties that may arise; adults can therefore swiftly and appropriately attend to your young one.
During this time, it may also be beneficial to introduce the two parties. Allowing your kids to meet their new caregivers can create a good rapport and allow them to feel more comfortable. They may be more willing to engage knowing that they still have the safety of their parent’s presence.
Implement a Slow Transition
Gradually working your way up to a full-time schedule at daycare can aid in the transition process. In some instances, it may be ideal for you to spend the first few days with your child to encourage them to interact with others. As time goes on, you can experiment with leaving for short periods of time. Not only are you allowing your kids to gain independence, but you are also reassuring them that you will indeed be coming back at the end of the day; this can help reduce any fears of abandonment.
Once they have become somewhat familiar with the new arrangement, you may be able to increase the number of hours that they can tolerate being away from home. It may also be important to use a childcare subsidy calculator to determine the amount of time that you can afford to pay for such services.
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Develop a Routine
Creating a morning routine can reduce stress and lessen the amount of time needed to get everything organised and ready to go. Maintaining a regular schedule allows children the comfort of knowing what to expect, and it can give them a sense of being in control. Dropping off your child when they are agitated due to a disrupted routine may make it harder for them to calm themselves and slowly ease into their day.
A similar approach should also be taken following pick-up. Immediately going home, or to a neighbourhood playground after child care, every day at the same time can provide structure. Your kids will not need to worry about what will take place after they leave daycare as they will already know what to expect.
There are many ways to help make child care a positive experience. Understanding your child’s individual needs can help you in determining the best course of action.