It can be a difficult adjustment for both you and your child to transition into a routine of daycare. Know that this adjustment will take time, and it’s a process. No matter what age your kids are, it’s a big change for them. Here are five tips for helping make this transition easier:
1. Explain to your child why they are going to daycare
It might be a challenging conversation because many children won’t understand why they can’t stay at their own home during the day. Even if they don’t understand entirely, it’s good to keep the lines of communication open and give them the credit and the respect to be open about what’s going on. It’s possible that they will come to appreciate your openness and honesty over time.
It’s also helpful to tell your child what you will be doing while they are in daycare. Some children can feel a sense of panic wondering where their parents are throughout the day.
2. Familiarize yourself with the daycare as much as possible before your child’s first day
The first day will be less shocking for your child if you can explain in detail what they can expect after you drop them off. The fear of the unknown can cause children to become very upset in the beginning of daycare. Reputable and top quality daycare facilities like Summit Kids Academy will welcome any questions you have to help out. Knowing what the child will be doing while he or she is there will also help you be better able to draw their attention to the positive. If you know what kinds of games or activities they will be exposed to, you can try to get them excited about learning these new things and having these cool experiences.
In addition, you can make suggestions for them. For example, if you know the schedule for the daycare, you can suggest that they play a particular game that you know will be available to them. Then, when you pick them up after daycare, you’ll be able to ask specific questions about their day.
3. Help your child be prepared for social interaction
When children are very young, they don’t know what socially acceptable or polite behavior is unless they are exposed to it and encouraged to act in a certain way. Try to keep the conversation with your child upbeat and positive, rather than having a strict or warning tone. Paying special attention to the way that your child interacts with other kids at the playground or during events with friends and family will help you know where they can improve and ensure a better experience for them when they meet many new people at daycare.
4. Don’t leave them without saying goodbye
Most parents walk their children in to daycare and have a few moments there before leaving. If your child immediately makes a friend or settles into happily playing a game, it can seem like the perfect time to sneak out without a proper goodbye, but doing this can be hurtful to the child. Once they realize you’re gone they are more likely to feel abandoned if you didn’t at least give a smile and a quick wave before leaving them there at the childcare center.
5. Visit the daycare center with your child before the first day
You might think you are doing your child a favor by delaying exposing them to the daycare, but even a brief trip to make an introduction can help enormously. When you go, try to be as upbeat as possible. It will help if you are already familiar with aspects of the daycare already so that you can point out to your child what there is to be excited about.