It’s a big day when your little one starts daycare. They’re taking their first steps into the world outside your home, and you want to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Starting daycare is a big milestone for both parents and children. It can be a difficult transition for kids, but with the proper preparation, you can ensure it goes smoothly.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to prepare yourself and your child for their first day of childcare.
The Benefits of Early Childhood Education
It’s well documented that child outcomes in school and life are better for those who receive high-quality early care and education. Children who start childcare early are more likely to develop stronger social skills, verbal abilities, and a stronger sense of self-regulation.
For working parents, child care can provide much-needed peace of mind, knowing that their children are being cared for by qualified professionals.
In addition, early childhood education can provide a solid foundation for later success in school and life.
What to Expect Before Sending Your Child to Daycare
Before sending your child to daycare, you can expect a few things.
First and foremost, your child may experience separation anxiety. It is completely normal and usually only lasts for a short period. It’s important to be supportive, and understanding as your child adjusts to this new environment.
In addition to separation anxiety, your child may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the new surroundings. Again, it’s important to be patient and help them adjust at their own pace. Your child will soon feel comfortable and at home in their new daycare setting with time and patience.
How to Prepare Your Child for Daycare
The first time you send your child to daycare can be nerve-wracking for both of you. After all, it’s a big change to suddenly spend time away from home in a new environment with new people. However, you can do a few things to help your child adjust to their new surroundings and make the transition as smooth as possible. With a little preparation, you can help ease your child into their first experience in daycare.
Get Organised Early
It’s never too early to start getting organised for daycare. Once you’ve found a centre, schedule a tour to see the facilities and meet the staff. It will allow you to ask any questions you may have and get a feel for the environment.
It’s also a good idea to start discussing childcare with your child ahead of time. Explain what they can expect, such as being in a room with other children and playing games.
By taking care of details in advance, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your first day back at work, knowing that your child is well taken care of.
Talk to Your Child About What to Expect at Daycare
Before sending your child off to daycare, discuss what they can expect while there. Explain that they will be spending time with other children and adults and that they will be doing different activities.
To make your child feel more comfortable in their new environment, try talking about things your child enjoys, such as playing with toys or reading books.
Help Them Get Comfortable With New People and Surroundings
It can be helpful to visit the daycare centre together so your child can start familiarising themselves with the staff and the other children. Once they’re attending, try to gradually increase the time they’re there so they can get used to longer periods away from home.
Helping your children feel comfortable in new surroundings and with new people will make the transition to daycare much smoother.
Show Them How to Take Turns and Share
Teaching your child how to share and take turns with new friends is a great way to prepare them for daycare or any other time they are away from home. It will help your child get along with other children and learn to respect boundaries.
Here are a few tips:
- It’s important to encourage your child to share their toys with others. Taking turns helps teach kids how to be considerate of other people.
- If your child has difficulty sharing, help them take turns with an activity or toy. For example, let them play with a toy for two minutes, then have another child play with it for two minutes.
- Teach your children how to convey their feelings in an effective manner. If they’re upset, assist them in finding words to describe their feelings. It will aid in the reduction of temper tantrums and make kids more comfortable when communicating.
Explain That Daycare Is a Place for Fun and Learning
Let them know that they will get to play with other kids and participate in fun activities. It’s also important to talk about the staff at the daycare. Explain that they are there to help and support your child.
Helping your child to understand what to expect at daycare can go a long way in making the transition smoother for everyone involved.
Read Stories About Going to Daycare
Reading stories about going to daycare can help them understand what to expect and get them excited about all the new friends they’ll make.
These stories typically feature characters who are apprehensive about starting daycare, but by the end of the story, they have made many new friends and love going to daycare every day.
Reading these stories with your child will help ease fears about going to daycare and adjusting to a new routine.
Let Them Bring a Special Toy, Stuffed Animal or Blanket From Home
Bringing along a comfort object from home, like a stuffed animal or toy, can help smooth the transition for your small child. It gives them something to hold on to and feel safe with when they feel upset or homesick.
Practice Separation Anxiety Exercises With Your Child
Every parent dreads separation anxiety in their child, but it is a phase all children go through. If your child is starting daycare, there are some things you can do to help them adjust.
First, it’s important to pay respect to your child’s feelings. Acknowledge that they may be feeling apprehension about being separated from you, and let them know it’s okay to feel that way. Then, you can practise some exercises to help them get used to being away from you.
For example, you can have short playdates with other children or leave them with a trusted caregiver for short periods. By showing patience and understanding, you can assist your little one in getting acclimated to starting daycare.
Reward Them for Good Behavior at Daycare
Preparing your child for daycare by rewarding them for good behaviour, such as giving them a special treat or hug when you pick them up from daycare, will let them know that their good behaviour is noticed and appreciated.
Allow Plenty of Down Time at Home
You can help your child learn to regulate their emotions and adapt to new environments by providing opportunities for calm and relaxation.
After a busy day of learning and playing, your child will need time to relax and unwind. During this time, they can cuddle with a favourite toy, read a book, or sit quietly and observe their surroundings.
Create a Connection With Your Child’s Early Childhood Educators and Carers
You can build a relationship with your child’s early childhood educators and carers by attending events at the centre, such as meeting the teacher days and getting to know the staff.
Before starting daycare, you should introduce your child to their educators and carers. It will help your child to feel more comfortable when they start daycare.
From clothing to bottles and everything in between, ensure everything your child brings to daycare is labelled with their name. It will avoid any lost items.
What You Might Need for Your Child’s First Day of Childcare
Most daycares require enrolment forms to be completed before your child’s first day. These forms will likely include basic information such as your child’s name, age and contact details. You may also be asked to provide information about your child’s medical conditions or allergies.
Sometimes, you may need to provide a copy of your child’s vaccination records. If you’re unsure about what you need to bring, it’s best to check with the daycare in advance.
About Hippity Hop Childcare & Kindergarten
Hippity Hop provides a safe environment for your child to learn. We have a great indoor and outdoor area, and our building is designed with a purpose. Our staff is passionate and is qualified to tend to children ages two to four.
At Hippity Hop, we treat your child like an individual, and we strive to nurture them and help them become prepared for life and school. We’re located in Pakenham South and Yarrambat. Contact us to enrol your child today.