Tips to Help Prepare for Sending Your Child to Daycare
It’s back-to-school time which means kids are returning to daycare or starting daycare for the first time. This can be a particularly emotional and scary time for both kids and parents, especially if your child has separation anxiety. But there are ways to help prepare both you and your child for this time spent apart. Before sending your child to a quality daycare in Stittsville, consider these tips to help you both with this big change.
Visit the Daycare with Your Child Early On
Whether you’ve chosen a daycare already, or you’re going around to interview potential daycares, bring your child with you so they can become acquainted with this new environment. If you notice that your child behaves particularly well at one specific daycare—i.e. freely plays alone or with other children and doesn’t pay attention to your whereabouts—then that particular daycare is probably worth choosing. The more comfortable your child is in the daycare setting, the easier the first day of daycare will be. You will also soon begin to nice that every day at drop off will be less stress for both you and your child.
Hire a Babysitter
While you might feel your child is too young to leave alone with a babysitter, a little bit of time away from your child early on will help both of you when it’s time for daycare. You need a break once in a while, and your child needs to be comfortable around other adults. You also need to feel comfortable enough to leave your child with another caregiver for the day. Ask a relative or a friend to watch your child for a few hours during the day. As time goes on, you can extend the period of time away from your child—i.e. go from 2 hours in a day to 5 hours. The more accustomed you and your child are to being away from each other during the day, especially during the typical length of a work/daycare day, the smoother the transition to daycare will be.
Expose Your Child to Daycare Routines & Activities
Another way to help ease any separation anxiety is by talking to your child about all the fun activities at daycare while sounding excited; read children’s books with them about daycare, and getting them used to a daycare routine. Children often feel secure with familiarity and structure, so by adopting some of the daycare routines at home, your child will be more familiar and secure when going through the same routine at daycare. Examples of daycare activities that are part of routines include:
- Reading time;
- Singing time;
- Snack time;
- Free play; and,
- Nap time.
Ease Your Worries
Although you don’t have anything to worry about when sending your child to a quality daycare in Stittsville, you can help ease any concerns by talking to staff ahead of time. Inform them of important details about your child, such as allergies and preferences. And remember, quality daycares want the best for your child too, so they have professionally trained staff, toys, and activities to ensure that your child is cared for in a supportive environment that nourishes their development.
Tips for the First Day
Consider these tips to help make the first day of daycare easier for both you and your child:
- Remain calm and keep smiling so your child is assured.
- There is no shame in crying, just wait until you’ve left the daycare so your child doesn’t get upset.
- Resist the urge to give in to your child’s pleas to go home if they start crying and clinging to you; and,
- Hug your child, tell them you love them and will see them soon (while smiling), and calmly walk away—quality daycare teachers know how to soothe a crying child, so keep walking!
We know this will be tough for both you and your child, but you will certainly help your child get over their separation anxiety by preparing them ahead of time for the big day and always staying calm and positive when dropping your child off at daycare. Also, a swift goodbye and exit will help your child get on with their day more easily. Before long, they will be occupied with a fun activity and forget that they were upset in the first place.