The first day of child care can be challenging for both the parents and the child. How do you go about making the first day go smoothly? Before the first day comes prepare yourself and your child for the transition. Have a list of questions that you want to ask the child care center. If your child is old enough, talk to them and explain to them what is going on. Visit the child care center so that you can become familiar with the staff. This will help you become more comfortable with who you are leaving your child with. Make a routine for dropoff and pickup to help with the transition. One of the most important things is to have a list of all of the things the staff needs to know about your child, like allergies. The more the staff knows about your child the better.
Every child is going to handle the transition differently. Some will be excited for the new environment while others will become overwhelmed by it and have separation anxiety from their parents. However, it is important to be realistic about your expectations. It may takes weeks for your child to get settled into their new daycare. It is normal for you to feel that it is wrong to leave your child at a child care center. It is a big change for the whole family and it will take time for it to become familiar and become a routine. To help with your child’s transition set aside time when you came to pick them up to communicate with the staff. The staff will let you know any important information about your child and their progress at the child care center. You are also always free to call the child care center to check on them. The main thing to remember is it may take time for everyone to get settled into this new routine.
Some children may have a more difficult time when their parents are dropping them off then others. How do you deal with a difficult drop off? If they are old enough, try to talk to them about what is going to happen before hand. It is important that you do not try to sneak away. Instead set a routine with your child by telling them goodbye. This way they know you are leaving and they are not frightened when they are not able to find you. Another way to help with the transition is to let them take an object that comforts them to daycare. This could be a blankie or teddy bear but just make sure that you label it. Many parents find it tempting to stay with their child for a long time while dropping them off. However, this makes the child think you are staying with them and makes the goodbye even harder. Only stay for a few minutes while they get settled in and then say goodbye. Stay positive because your child can pick up on your emotions and react accordingly. Most importantly, do not re-enter the room once you have said goodbye. This can create prolonged separation anxiety and interfere with the drop off routine.