Our 10 Tips For Surviving Your First Daycare Dropoff
Although sending your little one to their first day of daycare is an exciting time, it can also be difficult on working mums and dads. It’s the first time you’ll be spending the entire day away from your bub and your mind is probably racing with questions like “Will they be ok without me?”, “What if something goes wrong?”, “Is the teacher going to know how to handle X?”
We’d like to reassure you that all these fears are completely natural. After all, your child is the most important thing to you. However, we have a few tips and techniques that will make dealing with separation anxiety much easier.
- Start gradually
If you can, try to introduce your child to daycare by starting with a part-time schedule before moving to full-time care. Most childcare providers will recommend starting at the end of the week (so that the weekend is closer) or beginning with half-days. This will give both mum, dad, and bub time to adjust to the new schedule and quiet time in the house. We offer unlimited orientation visits where you can familiarise yourself and your child with the teachers and the environment before commencing care.
- Be confident
This might seem obvious but the fact is that your baby picks up on your moods. Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling cranky and tired, your little one is harder to settle? Or that when you’re in a great mood, taking care of bub seems so much easier? Even if you’re anxious or sad, try to project a happy confidence that daycare will be amazing for the both of you!
- Talk to your child
Your little one takes in more information that you realise, so talk to them about their upcoming daycare adventure and how exciting it will be. Make sure to explain what they can expect throughout the day so that the daycare will become a familiar and safe environment.
- Get to know your child’s teachers
Many parents worry that their child’s teachers won’t know what to do in certain situations or even the small personality quirks of their bub. If you’re concerned, take some time to talk to the teacher and let them know the little triggers or tells of your child. This will not only help the teacher identify any issues earlier, but will give you peace of mind that your child is being looked after.
- Say goodbye
It may be tempting to sneak out of the room while your child is distracted, but it’s important to create routines that give your child a sense of stability. Give your child a hug and kiss when you say goodbye and tell them that you love them. However, most importantly, remember to let them know that you will be back to pick them up.
- Don’t linger after the goodbye
Now that you’ve said your goodbyes, it will be tempting to stay around to wipe away your child’s inevitable tears but it’s important to stay strong. Although it might seem like a good idea, sticking around only makes things harder on your child as it prolongs the inevitable goodbye. We find that most children settle just moments after saying goodbye.
- Create a special routine
For anxious children, creating a specific goodbye routine will work wonders and help your child manage their expectations. It might be something as simple as a key phrase (“see you later alligator), or as complex as a secret handshake. Your routine should also include something your child can “keep” with them as a comforter throughout the day. This could be something physical like a small keyring with a photo of mum and dad, a “big boy” or “big girl” backpack, or even a special kiss from mum that will stay with them for the whole day.
- Don’t be afraid to check-in
Many teachers and daycare providers understand that the first day of daycare can be a struggle for both little ones and their parents. They won’t make any judgements so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone during the day to check in on your child and how they are doing.
- Trust your daycare provider
Chances are that you researched countless early childhood and daycare centres to find the best one for your child, and chose this one for a reason. Any time you are feeling anxious, remind yourself that you love this daycare’s teachers/activities/meals and that you made the right choice.
- Treat yourself!
It’s been an emotionally draining morning, so remember to practise some self-care and look after yourself. Even mum and dad deserve a special pick-me-up sometimes, so be kind to yourself.
A trusted and reliable daycare provider will go miles towards making you feel more comfortable on your first daycare dropoff. Get in touch with our team today to find out why we’re the right fit for your child.