Sending kids in for that first day of childcare is an emotional endeavor. The kids are scared, you’re nervous and you just want the transition to be as smooth as possible. These ECE recommended tips are instrumental in minimizing tears and nerves on the big day.
Stay positive. Children can sense their parent’s feelings. If you’re happy and relaxed, it will help your child feel the same.
Discuss the expectations. Talk about what childcare is going to be like prior to the first day and discuss the fun activities your child will participate in at daycare.
Arrange to visit. It’s a good idea to meet your child’s educator and check out the classroom before the program starts. Remember what your child liked to play with and find the same activity when you return for their first day. Tell the educator about your child’s care and ask what you may need to bring on the first day.
Call to check in. Some centres will send a photo of your child on his first day because we know parents are sometimes anxious and wonder how their child’s day is going. Take a minute to call and ask about the day, it’s worth it for the reassurance.
Send a favourite comfort item (blanket, stuffed animal, family photo or soother). Check with your centre about their policies for items from home. Most centres welcome a special blanket or photo to cuddle with for sleep time.
Don’t sneak out. It is actually better for your child to see you say good-bye and leave. Establish a fun routine from day one that your child will become familiar with. When children can predict what is going to happen, they feel more secure and happy about their day.
Naomi Pelss is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and manager of a child care centre. She has a degree in Child Studies and has been in the child care field for almost twenty years. Her other full time job is parenting four children and keeping up with her personal blog at www.morewithfourblog.com