Your child’s transition to a day care for the first time or adjusting to a new daycare can be difficult for both the parent and the child.
These tips can help ease the adjustment period.
A visit to the daycare once or twice during normal day care hours before the child’s actual start date will give you the opportunity to see how staff interacts with children and gives your child an opportunity to interact with them too. For some children it could take months before they feel comfortable and like his normal self in a day care setting.
If possible, make their first few days shorter. This provides the child with an adjustment period where they are not left for the whole day should they be feeling abandonment or anxiety form ‘where am I now’ and ‘who are these people’ concerns.
Talk about it
Have a conversation about why they are going to daycare, or a new daycare. Read books about children starting daycare. Tell your child what to expect, talk about how much fun it will be. When they hear your positive expressions, it will help them with their experience. Be sincere, if you tell your child he’ll love school, and then he doesn’t, he may be confused or feel like he can’t trust what you say.
A favourite stuffed animal or toy can help them make comfortable when they are away from you and home. Consider having two of the same favourite item – one at home and one for the daycare.
When they realize that you are gone and did not say goodbye, It may add to their separation anxiety. Your child may feel that the moment they go off to play or explore on their own, you are going to sneak away.
It’s common to go through your own anxiety asking yourself – Will my child be ok with a new place? New teachers? All new friends? Will she/he be sad, reserved, or scared?
Focus on making the experience a positive one for your child. Remind yourself this is a beneficial opportunity to provide skills for their first step towards independence and confidence.
About their Day
Ask your daycare provider questions about your child’s day. This will give you some background for conversations with your child about what they did, who their friends are, and what was the highlight of their day. Even if your child doesn’t understand what you are saying, by repeating familiar names and showing them pictures it will help them become more comfortable at daycare.