Settling your child into daycare can be emotional for both child and parent/guardian. The task of letting go of your child for the first time is difficult enough without having to worry about their comfort and happiness. Though some children settle with ease, others benefit from a few key tips that can make a huge difference in how they cope with the transition.
So, how can you settle your child into daycare? Here are a few pointers that should quell both your little ones and your anxiety.
Settling into childcare tip #1: Encourage your child
Exciting your child about daycare is important in creating an initial positive attitude and outlook. It is normal for your child to be hesitant and wary of going to childcare. However, words of encouragement from trusted adults, like you, the parent, can go a long way.
Try to inform them of fun activities that they may partake in such as colouring or blocks. At the end of your little one’s day, ask them to tell you what activities they did or to recall their favourite part of the day. Invite your child to pack their back for daycare with you and ahead of time. This activity achieves two things. It excites your child and helps them to feel in control.
Settling into childcare tip #2: Attend an orientation
Many childcare centres offer orientations for parents and their little ones. Attending orientation can help break the unfamiliarity and uncertainty that most children face when they attend daycare for the first time.
While at the orientation, explain to your child why you are there. Let them know that this is where they will be spending time in the future and familiarise them with their different carers. Then, let your child explore their future environment and begin to develop a relationship with their carers and other children.
Though some may not fully understand your verbal explanation, just allowing them to become accustomed to the newness of the environment and persons can go a long way in settling your child.
Settling into childcare tip #3: Provide comfortProviding comfort for your child is essential in the beginning stages of their transition to daycare.
Allow your child to carry their favourite stuffed animal, colouring book or blanket to childcare. These items from home will provide comfort and calm to them in times of restlessness.
Speaking to your child’s carer about their habits and routines will inform them about how best to deal with your child. For example, if your little one becomes restless at a particular time of the day, then the carer will know the most effective way of comforting them without further irritation.
Settling into childcare tip #4: Gradually transition your child
Spend a few mornings at the daycare with your child. Watch them play and engage in activities or join in and colour or read a book with them. This helps to settle your child as they begin to feel more comfortable with you in the unfamiliar environment.
While at the centre, talk to the carers and other kids with your child. This will ease them into the environment and make it less scary for them the next time.
Settling into childcare tip #5: Communicate
Communication with your child is key in ensuring that they are settling well and for determining whether anything can be done to ease the process. Ask your child about their day, whether they’re excited about the next visit and if they made any friends. In addition to gaining more insight into your child’s day, you’ll also be able to determine how smoothly they are transitioning and whether anything should be done to support them.
Speaking to your child’s carers about their day is also crucial for settling your little one. Remember, these carers spend a large chunk of the day with your child and will be able to communicate useful information about your child’s behaviours, moods and new habits. This is also useful in case your child is not communicative with you.
Settling into childcare tip #6: Say goodbye and walk away
It can be very tempting to delay goodbyes with your child, especially if it’s their first day. However, this can send mixed signals to your child and prolong the tears.
It’s best to explain to your child that you are going to leave but will see them later in the day (do not sneak away!). If you have a goodbye routine then ensure that you do this and quickly leave. Lingering may only cause your child to think that you can stay or that they may be able to leave with you. In short, it’s best for everyone to say goodbye and leave.
At Young Academics, we make it our mission to help your child feel as comfortable as possible during their time spent at childcare. We know how daunting it can be, which is why our educators go the extra mile to create a nurturing and safe environment.
Are you ready to join the Young Academics family? Contact us on 1300 668 993 for more information.