Sending your child to daycare for the first time can be as difficult an adjustment for the parents as it is for the child. Worries about whether the child will be alright without a parent near are fairly common.
Usually, beginning daycare is a time of transition for both child and parents. Children at that age are on their way toward going to school.
Parents want the best for their child as he goes off to a new environment. They want him to learn and develop the social skills that will help him as he starts kindergarten.
In order for the child to fully embrace the atmosphere of a daycare setting, however, the parents cannot leave everything up to the childcare employees. A parent should take special care to prepare a child for the daycare experience.
If you are considering putting your child in daycare for part, or all, of the day, start to warm the child up to the idea by talking with him about it. One way to start the conversation is to read to him a book about daycare, or you might draw a picture of a childcare center and explain what it is.
You can also find out who the other children are who attend the daycare and invite their parents to bring them over to play with your child. This will certainly help your child to acclimate to the new children he will encounter at the daycare center.
Another good thing to do before enrolling your child in daycare is to visit the center to which you plan on taking your child. This is both for your benefit and your child’s.
You will be able to see whether the child enjoys the new surroundings. If the fit seems right, you can probably begin bringing your child to the center and staying for an hour or two with your child.
After you have stayed with your child for that hour or two, leave for a while and allow your child to come to grips with your absence. After a while your child will become increasingly comfortable with the situation.
It is helpful as well to tell your child about the schedule of daily events. Include in this schedule a time when you will say “goodbye” to the child.
Creating a little “goodbye” ceremony does not hurt. It is best for the child’s daily routine to be regular.
For that reason, it is usually not a good idea to try to just disappear without saying “goodbye” to your child. Such action is often harder on a child than simply saying “goodbye”.
The child needs to feel comfortable and familiar with the surroundings. While a childcare center will not be like his home, a child can feel more at home when he has something familiar with him.
Make sure the child brings along his favorite item. It could be a stuffed animal or a blanket, but, whatever it is, be certain he has it.
The more the center feels like the home, the more at ease the child will be. This will help in the acclimation process.
Provide the child with all the necessities he will need. Leave them in the child’s own cupboard supplied by the center.
If the child has what he needs for the day, he will be much happier. Making these preparations will ensure that your child enjoys the experience of childcare much more.
In order to ensure your child’s health while in childcare, make sure that his physicals and immunizations are up to date. Although daycares do take great measures to ensure the health and safety of all the children they care for, it only takes one child with an illness to give it to your child.
This attention to healthcare includes making the care providers aware of allergies or other conditions your child may have. Explain any medications your child takes so that the staff can properly administer them to your child.
Along with this information regarding medications, be certain to provide all relevant contact information for you and your spouse. Should an emergency happen, and the staff needs to locate you, that information will be very important.
Taking steps to prepare your child in these ways will make the transition to daycare much easier on both of you. Childcare can be helpful for both parent and child, if the child’s shift to daycare is facilitated by his parents.
Terry Daniels has worked in the child day care field for the past 12 years and written hundreds of articles about early childhood education. He recommends day care RI when looking for a quality day care.