Tips to Help Your Child’s Transition Into Daycare
For hardworking parents, daycare seems like a beacon of hope. It’s a safe and healthy way to have a child taken care of during the busy work day, and allows some much-needed down time between parent and child. Enrolling your little one into daycare also gives the child the opportunity to spread their wings a little bit and socialize.
Your child may not be as enthusiastic. While you as a parent can see all the benefits, many children will see daycare as separation from their parents (perhaps for the first time), leading to tears and tantrums. No one enjoys seeing their child cry, not to mention the inevitable guilt that comes with it when you have to walk away. It’s a shame, but this can deter parents from enrolling their child into daycare. Stittsville (and Ottawa in general) has many great daycare options, with staff members who understand how stressful this time can be.
That being said, parents can rest easy knowing that they aren’t horrible monsters for dropping their child off at daycare: crying, and fussy behaviour is 100% normal. Many children experience separation and/or stranger anxiety when being introduced to the daycare setting. Up until this point, children are used to having their parents around at all times to care for and reassure them. When that changes, and the role of caregiver is transferred to an unfamiliar face (daycare staff member), it can be hard for a child to accept.
Transitioning into daycare is a big step for both the parent and the child, so here are a few ways to make this turbulent time a little easier:
Ease Into It
Any big change in a child’s life should be introduced gradually. Introduce the facility and its staff members to your child in small intervals before the big day. Allowing your child to recognize the building and the people in it will make it less foreign and intimidating when the day comes. This also gives staff the opportunity to get to know your child, their personality, and their needs beforehand.
A Little Piece of Home
Until now, home is all a child knows. They spend majority of their time there, and they’re comfortable. When that is changed, and they are surrounded by unfamiliar things, they get upset. Pack along a couple family photos, or a favourite stuffed animal. Having a little something familiar, a little piece of home to turn to, can ease feelings of stress and homesickness.
A big part of the daycare process is coming home afterward. For parents with children who aren’t taking to daycare so well, giving the child something to look forward to at the end of the day can keep their focus off of negative feelings. Create an after-daycare routine, be it making their favorite snack and talking about their day, or just settling in for some quality cuddle time. This associates daycare with good things, and assures your child that while they may be dropped off in the morning, mommy and/or daddy will be there at the end of the day.
Above all else, remember that daycare is a good thing – so don’t feel bad! You may see some tears at first, but give it time, and both you and your child can experience the joys and benefits of daycare. Ottawa parents can rest easy knowing things do get easier.