It’s exciting when your child sets off for childcare for the first time, but it’s also nerve-wracking. The first month is particularly challenging as you try to settle your little one into a new routine. You can ease that transition and plan ahead to ensure your child thrives.
The Preparation Stage
You spent a lot of time researching the right Brookvale childcare centre so, it’s only right that you put the same time and care into preparing your child for their first day. In the weeks before the big day, make a habit of driving past your chosen childcare centre. When you do, point it out to your child and speak excitedly about the fun they will have and the things they will learn when they attend. You can talk about the different activities they will do, the friends they will meet, and the new toys they will play with.
If your child hasn’t spent a lot of time with others, now would be a good time to start. Enlist friends and family to take your little one for short periods, so they learn that they are safe when you’re not there and understand that you will be back for them.
Get Them Ready
To make their first day feel more familiar, you can visit the childcare centre beforehand. It’s a new environment; there are new faces, toys, and smells to contend with. By visiting ahead of time, you get your child more familiar with their new surroundings. So, when the big day comes, they are more comfortable when you leave.
If possible, try to transition your child into care. This is particularly important if it’s your child’s first time spending any length of time away from you. You can discuss your child’s needs with the centre and start with an hour at daycare to test the waters. You can gradually leave your child longer and longer.
In the weeks before your child starts, follow the centre’s schedule at home. Adjust your times so you are feeding your child, putting them down for naps, and having playtime at the same time they will do these things when at daycare. There’s enough change going on in their little lives. Getting them into the rhythm of a new routine will help ease anxiety.
Whether your child responds well or not, it’s still a major change. You shouldn’t spoil them or try to make up for the change. You should keep life simple in the weeks following the start. Giving your child plenty of playtime at home, and joining in, is a good way to help them process and decompress.
The way you say goodbye will set the tone for their experience. If you are nervous and anxiety-ridden, that will transfer to your child. So, be confident when you say goodbye and do so quickly. If your child is upset, staying to comfort them will reinforce their upset and make it more difficult for you to leave. This will start a cycle that is difficult to break. You can call the centre after the fact to check-in. If your child is still upset half an hour or an hour later, then you can work with them to come up with a plan. A quick, confident goodbye lets your child know they’re safe.
It’s a big adjustment for everyone involved, and you may hit some bumps along the way. With preparation, though, you can both feel comfortable with the coming changes.