The move to place your child in day care is a big step for you as parents and for your child. All of us have seen children crying outside a day care and stressed, time-pressured parents trying to coax them in.
The old saying “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst” fits in to this situation. The following tips might help you to settle your child:
- Plan Ahead. Start several weeks before and talk about what will happen and what the child will do there. If possible find out who will be your child’s primary carer and talk about him/her: their name, what they look like and so on.Find out your day care centre’s routine and begin to get your child used to even lunch, nap and play times.Make a few short visits to the centre together and allow your child to accommodate the new sights, sounds and smells.Read your child some stories about starting child care: Yoyo Goes to Playgroup by Jeanette Rowe, Jojo goes to Playgroup by Christina Miesen, and Adam’s Daycare by Julie Ovenell-Carter are some titles to consider.
- The night before. Try to have a calm evening for the family, a good meal and routine bed time. Be organised for the morning with everything named and packed.
- D-day. It might be helpful to let your child have some control over the day by choosing clothing and a significant thing (toy, comfort item) from home to take to the Day Care Centre. Avoid over-playing excitement and enthusiasm – a child can see through those.You may wish to stay and play an activity with your child or read a book and when it’s time to go, say goodbye, tell them when you will return (it may only be a brief visit for the first few times) and leave.
- Communicate with your child’s carers. If they see you relating well it may help them feel more confident.
- Accept support from the staff. They will have experience in assisting children with this transition and may have some helpful hints if it is proving more difficult that you first expected.
At Angel’s Paradise Early Education Centre, our interest and concern is firstly for your child. Our qualified carers are trained to help your child through this transition.