Help Your Child Settle into Child Care
Going into child care for the first time can be a difficult experience for both child and parent. There are often emotional and psychological roadblocks getting in the way. These things are quite normal however, as any change, particularly for a young child, can be scary at first. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help your child ease into that change and become comfortable in their new child care centre.
Preparing Your Child for Child Care
A big part of helping your child settle into child care involves preparation. There are a number of things you can do before your child starts daycare to help them settle in:
- Talk about it. Some months before the transition, talk to your child about where different people go during the day, and why. Tell your child about daycare centres, and about how he or she will one day have to go there as well, what to expect, and what they’ll be doing there.
- Read about it. It would help to read stories to your child about children starting child care. There are plenty of picture books now specifically about entering a playgroup or daycare.
Plan a visit. Weeks or months before your child actually starts in daycare, schedule a few visits to the child care centre. This will help your child get acquainted with the new surroundings and the people who will be looking after them. If you can, start with half-hour visits, and gradually increase the duration of those visits. During the visit introduce your child to the carers/ educators, and build a relationship with them. When your child sees that you trust this person, they will learn to trust that person too.
On the First Day
On the day your child starts child care, do your best to keep your own worries from your child. Showing that you are nervous or worried will only make your child nervous or worried as well. Instead, talk to your child, ask how they’re feeling, and assure them that what they’re feeling is normal and that they’ll be okay.
Take care of things like packed lunches and clothes the night before so you can spend the next morning stress-free and focus on how your child is feeling.
Give your child some control
Allowing your child to take control of some aspects can help them be more accepting of the things they can’t control. You can give them choices for what they will wear for the day, and what snacks or toys (if allowed) they want to bring.
Use a transition object
A transition object is something familiar and comforting for your child that he or she can bring to child care. It could be a small toy or a picture. If your child is feeling particularly fragile, you could suggest that they bring something special to show at daycare, like a drawing, a picture, or a small item they’ve been given recently. This can help take their mind off of any anxiety they may be feeling and focus on something positive for the day ahead.
Stay a while
When you arrive at the child care centre, spend some time settling your child into an activity before you leave. You could read a book together or watch other children doing activities.
Talk to the carers/educators
To give you and your child more
security, talk to the carers/ educators about your child’s interests and routines, and any other details they might need to know about your child. At the same time, ask them about the day care’s schedule of activities, policies and other important information. You could also ask them about what steps they usually take to help children settle in better.
When it’s time to leave, let your child know and assure them that you will be back. You could have a little goodbye ritual, but make sure not to drag it out. Prolonging your goodbyes will only make the separation harder and more painful for your child, and for you as well.
When the Day Ends
Once you’ve said your goodbyes don’t turn back, not even to see how your child is doing. Again, this will only make things more difficult for your child. If you need to, you can always make a quick phone call to the child care centre to check on how your child is doing. More often than not, parents will find that their children have quickly adapted to the daycare environment once they’ve gone.
And when the day ends and you’re picking your little one up from daycare, make sure to do the following:
- Ask them how their day went, and give them words of encouragement. Ask them about their favourite activities, the friends they made, what food they were given, or about their favourite carer/ educator.
- Give them some downtime. Their first child care experience can be very stimulating, so you may need to give your little one some recovery time at home. This could mean an earlier bedtime, a longer naptime, or some quiet playtime.
Be patient, follow these steps and before you know it, your child will be breezing through child care.
Are you on the lookout for ‘child care centres near me?’ You might find Bliss Early Learning to be the best place for your child. Bliss Early Learning is a child care centre that offers quality child care services, well-designed learning environments, exceptional programs, and the best child care experiences for both children and parents. We offer all these in several different locations, so whether you’re looking for a Cranbourne child care centre or a Killarney Heights child care centre, you’ll find Bliss Early Learning near you. To learn more or find the Bliss Early Learning centre nearest you, enquire with us today.