Prepping your little one for child care
First Day at child care can seem like a stressful event for little ones and parents, but it doesn’t have to be.
Preparation is key! Every child is different – with different ages and temperaments to keep in mind, each child will adjust at their own rate.
Here are some tips from our YMCA child care experts to get you through the transition:
Start with a tour.
Make sure you bring your child to see the child care centre, meet the staff and children and observe the fun and exciting activities happening around the centre.
Children will follow your lead.
Kids understand more than you think, and absorb everything around them, so make sure that you are positive about their transition to child care and answer their questions as best you can. Children can feel your anxiety, so be strong and assuring. Talk about how fun it will be to play with their new friends and how exciting it will be to explore all the new toys. Make sure to talk about the teachers too. Know their names and use them in conversations. If your child feels that you like and trust the teacher, they’ll feel safer while you’re not there.
Children are resilient.
They are much better at bouncing back from difficult situations than adults. Help foster your child’s resiliency by being a positive role model and sharing a caring, positive outlook with them. For more information on resiliency, visit: Reaching In…Reaching Out
Once your child starts child care…
- In the mornings, make sure your kids have everything they’ll need for the day. This includes items such as extra clothes, diapers, wipes, soothers, sippy cups, bottles, etc. Clearly label all of your child’s things and make sure the items are familiar to them. This will allow your children to recognize their own items so everything around them doesn’t seem so new.
- On their first official full day, say goodbye and explain that you are leaving. Don’t just sneak out when you think they aren’t watching. Be comforting and reassuring. For instance, “I’m going to work, but I’ll be back after afternoon snack. Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you later.”
- Be consistent with your timing. Children may not be able to tell time yet, but their internal clocks are pretty accurate. Try and pick them up consistently around the same time every day.
Your children’s new child care centre will be a safe place for them to develop cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially, so get excited for their new opportunities to learn. Remember, go at your child’s pace and be supportive!