Six Tips To Ease Your Child Into Daycare

Parent And Child Going To Daycare Together

Whether it's their first time being away from you or you are just transitioning to a new facility, there are many challenges to introducing a toddler to daycare. The process can be difficult for both parents and children, and it can cause life to feel disrupted. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease the transition.

Here are six tips to ease your child into daycare.

1. Visit together

With younger children, it can be very helpful for you both to visit the new daycare facility together. It will help ease any fears about security both for you and your child as he/she explores their new surroundings for the first time.

If the facility does not allow joint visits, you could head over on a Saturday and take it in together from the outside. Try pointing out the equipment in the playground to help create a little excitement about the fun your child will have.

2. Aim for a gradual transition

If the daycare centre permits it, introduce your child gradually by having them stay a little longer each day. If it's their very first time being away from you, perhaps start with just an hour to see how they react to the new surroundings.

Communicate with the staff/teachers to establish a transition timeline that will help your child gradually feel more comfortable at daycare.

3. Talk to your child about what to expect

It isn't always wise to hype a new experience up too much as children very often see things through us. Don't make promises about how great it will be or how much your child will love it, as this may lead to distrust if their experience doesn't live up to expectations.

Instead, stick to specific details about what to expect. Tell them the names of the adults they will be with. Offer details about the schedule of the day. This way, they will experience exactly what you said and feel more secure.

4. Adjust the home schedule

Get a copy of your child's daycare schedule and try to mirror it at home in the days leading up to starting there. Have lunch and naps at the same time to help prepare your child.

This limits the amount of change he/she is subjected to when they start. The rhythm may then feel more natural.

5. Be available

Don't immediately plan to start doing all the things you haven't had time for while your child was at home. Clear your calendar and keep home life as simple as possible for the first few weeks of transitioning. Both you and your child will need time and space to decompress and process the changes.

6. Be confident in saying goodbye

When you drop them off, say a quick and confident goodbye. Even if your child is screaming for you to stay, if you linger and try to comfort them it will reduce their ability to make the adjustment.

Children usually calm down very quickly after their parents leave. If you are distressed about the experience, you can contact the daycare after half an hour to ask if your child has calmed down. If not, you can come up with a plan together.

The bottom line

Starting daycare is an adjustment for parent and child. There are bound to be some bumps in the road. The suggestions listed above may help alleviate some of the difficulty but don't be discouraged if it is still a challenging time. Things will get easier and you will both feel more comfortable with the changes that come further down the line.