The first day at childcare should be a wonderful experience for both you and your child. It is an important step for both of you and if prepared, the entire family will share in a transitional step that will have numerous benefits. However, fear and uncertainty can get in the way of this.
Separation anxiety is the cause of many a daycare disaster and can be avoided or minimized by working out a routine ahead of time. The following tips are meant to assist you in settling your child into care. They will also be useful in helping you to get used to being apart from your child on daycare days.
1. Teach the Teacher About Your Child
The more information about your child you can provide the childcare centre staff, the better. Primarily you will want to share information on likes and dislikes, hobbies and activities that your child and family participate in. This gives the teacher something to discuss with your child to put them at ease.
2. One-On-One Teacher Selection
One way to assist your child in settling into childcare is to request that a primary caregiver is allocated to your child. This means that your child will spend most of their daycare time with the same person. This will build a relationship and will help in removing anxiety.
3. Create A Daycare Centre Book
By taking photos of places and activities at the childcare centre, it will help your child in many ways. For example, photos of the teacher, some classmates, the place where your child hangs his or her jacket, the lunch area, etc. will bring familiarity. Referring to the book frequently will make daycare a fun place to visit.
But first, check with your child care supervisor before taking photos to ensure that any guidelines are observed. As the safety of all children is important and must be adhered to.
4. Arrange Play Dates
It is never too early to encourage interaction with other children. Once your child begins childcare, connect with other parents and see if they are interested in having their child connect with yours through play dates. The bonding away from daycare will make seeing friends at childcare more enjoyable and help greatly with settling children into childcare.
5. Be Encouraging
Always be positive and encouraging to your child about what is happening at childcare. One great motivator is to encourage him or her to participate in activities taking place in the daycare centre. This assists in settling children into childcare with something fun to do and to look forward to.
Why Are Routines Important in a Childcare Setting?
If you are attempting to remove the fear and anxiety that your child has about going somewhere new without you, it’s a good idea to create routines. Routines become habits and your child will be relaxed and feel comfortable as a result. But these routines require you to be consistent.
For example, be sure to always say good-bye before leaving the daycare centre. Do not sneak out. Make the good-bye short and keep it the same each day. Once you say good-bye, leave. Do not turn it into a game because your leaving is a significant part of the process.
By using the ‘good-bye’ as your exit, your child will be signalled to start focusing on the activities going on during childcare. If you have prepared your child in advance, they will be glad to see you when you return rather than anxious for you to arrive.
At Cubby College Child Care Centre, we place a high priority on settling your child into child care. We know this can be an anxious time for all involved, so starting daycare off on the right foot is of utmost importance.