How to prepare your little one for their first day at childcare

Charlotte Thompson, 28 Oct 2020

Whether it’s university or childcare, the first day of any kind of school can be nerve-wracking. This is especially true for children and preschool because in most cases, it would be the child's first experience with long-term separation and any form of prolonged structure. This unfamiliar setting will undoubtedly make any child nervous, leading to a variety of problems at home before going to daycare and causing possible future problems at the childcare centre.

Your child’s first day at childcare will set the tone for their experience in the following months. Here are a few tips to help make the first day of childcare for your little one a bit easier.

What should you expect from a child on their first day?

Before we discuss how you can prepare for your little one’s first day at daycare, let’s first get into what you can expect from your child. Remember that every child is different! Some may react worse than others and vice-versa, but that is completely normal! It’s important that you, as the parent, are aware of how your child may react in order to not be taken aback or confused by the situation. Here are some common reactions from children:

  • Your child may take days to settle into daycare – don’t think that they should settle on the first day.
  • Your child may appear overwhelmed or extremely excited on the way to daycare.

While these are some of the reactions your child may have to their first day of childcare, they are certainly not all. Be prepared for a wide variety of responses from your child.

How to prepare your little one for their first day at a childcare centre

Inform them ahead of time

If your child is old enough to understand and communicate, it is best that you have a conversation with them about their new childcare centre. Explain to them that they are getting older and that it is time for them to go to a childcare centre. Frame it positively and explain when they will be going there. Informing them ahead of time will stop the initial shock and fright about spending time at a childcare centre and instead, allow them to internalise the idea.

Allow your child to carry a ‘piece of home’ with them

It’s worth noting that even if you inform your child about the childcare centre, it will still be a nerve-wracking experience. Allowing your child to carry a comforting object from home will help ease their day at the childcare. It will assist in helping them feel connected to the unfamiliar environment of the childcare centre. Something as simple as a blanket, favourite stuffed animal or toy will allow your child to feel comforted at the centre and physically and mentally transition them to the new environment.

Speak positively about childcare

Parents, as well as children, become nervous about their first day at childcare. It’s important that you don’t voice any concerns or reservations you may have about sending your child to daycare around your little one. Even if you think your child cannot understand, children still internalise emotions and sense anxiety. Always ensure that you speak positively about childcare and help to excite your child about all of the fun experiences that they will have there.

Pass by the childcare centre or take a tour with your child

One of the most daunting things for children is the unfamiliar surroundings of a childcare centre. To ease their anxiety and the novelty of the centre, carry your child on the tour with you. You can also try physically passing by the centre and verbally pointing it out, letting your child know that this is where they will be spending time in the future. Seeing the centre and being able to take a tour will buffer the shock of a new environment for your child.

We hope that these tips help your child’s first day at childcare and eventually, ease their transition. Our team at Young Academics will try to help you and your child adapt to our centre as best we can.

For more information about our centre, contact us today on 1300 668 993.

Want to join the Young Academics family? Find your nearest centre and book a tour.

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