Are you excited to go back to work but heartbroken about leaving your child? Are you obsessing about his well-being while he’s with a caregiver (even though you really like her)? Do you feel guilty for leaving him for 40+ hours a week? Here are the five best ways to smoothly transition into childcare.
This post was written by Nancy Shaw of Hi 5 Baby.
For most parents, introducing a child to formal daycare is a challenging and emotional moment. While most children settle into childcare settings smoothly, there are some situations where children cannot cope.
Every kid’s reaction to settling into a day care, and the period of times it takes for the little ones to become comfortable with their new surroundings, is largely dependent on the child and the age of the child.
Whether your youngster is starting with a childcare center or home-based childcare, here are some tips to help you through the settling process.
Look For The Best Childcare In Your Area
A well-managed, quality daycare program will give you the reliable childcare you want and also be good for the child’s health. A quality center can spell success in the future – particularly facilities where the caregivers know how to handle behavioral problems.
So, you need to conduct thorough research before you decided to drop your child off at a particular care center. Start looking at least a few months before you plan to resume work. If you reside in a big city you may even want to start checking out your options before the baby arrives.
One can also get recommendations from other parents and the pediatrician. If there are no parents in your area, consider asking those you come across in pediatrician’s waiting room, a mommy-and-me class or the playground.
Screen the recommended centers over the telephone. If the center’s hours don’t fit in your schedule, scratch it off the list. Once you have narrowed down your options, visit the center in person and see if it is suitable for your child. If something does not seem right to you, then it probably is not right for your child, too.
Make Slow And Steady Transition
Once you have selected care center, make a gentle transition. Settling your child into childcare presents a whole set of adjustment problems. Not only is your child in the hand of a new caregiver, he is in a new setting.
The more time your child has to get used to the whole idea before going to center for the first time, the smoother this transition will be. One of the finest ways to put your little one at ease before starting day care is to have him visit the facility a few times a week.
This will allow your child to interact with the primary caregiver and with the other kids at the center. Stay at the center for a period of time and slowly withdraw yourself rather than leaving abruptly.
Remember that all children will differ with how long they take to adapt to the new setting, so you need to take your cues from your kid. If your child still seems to be dependent on you, don’t leave too fast.
If they seem comfortable with the caregiver and other kids at the facility, then you can leave.
Be In Constant Communication With The Center
Communication between the parent, child and care providers is also essential in helping both the parent and the child become accustomed to the new arrangement. But often times, parents, children and staff don’t effectively communicate. Realize that children trust those that you trust.
A few days before each visit, have a positive discussion with your kid about the new environment, caregivers, the sorts of things they will do and the kinds of people they are likely to meet there.
Children learn how to sit up, talk and walk from the moment they are born. According to experts, children learn all these things through favored objects such as toys. Children will always be comforted by taking these items with them to care centers or day care so by all means parents should encourage them to do so.
Toys should be large enough so they can’t be swallowed. Appropriate children toys include rattles, squeak toys, blocks, crib mobiles, noise making toys, simple picture books, and stuffed animal toys.
Create A Good Relationship With The Caregiver
Entering a new setting filled with unfamiliar individuals can cause anxiety for your child. Do not minimize the importance of creating a good relationship with your child’s caregiver. Any child is likely to feel safe in the new childcare setting if he notices that you have a great relationship with the caregivers, particularly his main caregiver.
And a great relationship with the caregiver will make things smoother for you too. The more friendly you are to the caregiver, the more confident your youngster will be.
Build a relationship with caregiver by finding your kids’s caregiver upon arrival and greeting the caregiver by name. Spend some time talking together so that your child can see the two of you are in good terms. If time permits, it can be a great idea for all of you to begin an activity together.
When your child is settled in the new setting, you can talk with your child’s main caregiver about forming relationships with other caregivers in the facility. A solid relationship with other caregivers means your kid feels safe when her primary caregiver is not around.
Know How To Say Goodbyes
Goodbyes at the childcare’s entrance are important for both you and your child, but you need to handle your departure appropriately. A ‘clean break’ where the child is clear about what’s going on is better than confusing your child.
Be sure to tell your child that you are leaving, give them a kiss goodbye and then leave. Make sure that they understand you will come back for them soon. Experts suggest that parents should give their children some kind of time-related reference like “Mommy will come back for you soon.”
We all know that it can be so tempting for parents to come back into the room to have one final cuddle or to turn back to see how their kid reacts to the new setting. Even if your kid cries as you depart, hold firm and continue going.
Don’t get back into the room if the child is crying, as emotional as that may feel. If your child has been attending care for a few weeks now and he is yet to settle, it’s a good time to schedule a meeting with his caregivers to review the problems and options.
There’s no quick fix for ensuring a tear-free transition, but there are loads of tips which you can employ to support your kid to settle in their first few weeks. We hope this tips will help your child settle into childcare smoothly.
Nancy Shaw is the founder of HiFiveBaby where she writes about common problems encountered by parents and how to deal with them, motherhood in general and FAQs about babies, toddlers, and kids. She provides a scientific and medical basis and also her personal experience as a mom to a wonderful toddler. Now you can explore the joy of parenthood with ease! You can also find her on Twitter.
Jennie @ The Diary of a Real Housewife says
Such wonderful tips. I used to nanny and one thing I always told parents is to not come back or feel like you have to stay when the child is crying. They will usually stop 3 minutes after you leave.
Dropping kids off can be so difficult. These are great tips. It is always amazing to me how the tears dry in point 2 seconds after I leave.
I’ve been thinking about going back to work so this was extremely helpful! Thanks so much for sharing!
I totally agree with you. It’s crucial that you do preliminary research and ask for recommendations before choosing what care center is right for you and your family. It’s definitely a red flag if the staff at a preschool or a daycare are rough and impatient with children. You want to feel confident that your children are safe with the people you choose to leave them with, so it’s important to observe these things before. Thanks so much for sharing your input and advice!
Kate Evans says
Hello Raki, these are the great tips because it helps parents for better childcare. Thanks For sharing this nice post.
Kendall Ryder says
If you want to look for the best childcare in your area, you can start with your research. Research can help you to find the best daycare around. If you choose not to research, you may end up with a daycare that you aren’t comfortable with. That is going to cause problems for both you and your child.
Nancy Shaw says
@Kendall Ryder Of course 🙂
That sounds like a good tip to visit the center with the child a few times. That way your child can take time to get used to the facility. My niece is getting to daycare age; I’ll have to ask my sister if she has any strategies she’s using.
Mitchell street says
Great article, I believe that child care center helps your child to improve their skills & knowledge, that’s why I choose a child care center for my child.
John Mahoney says
I liked when you talked about choosing a childcare center that fits your schedule. It makes sense that looking into this can help you avoid extra stress and find the best place to care for your kids. I would want to make sure I take my time to look at online reviews and customer satisfaction when I look into the different locations.
My wife and I have been looking for a daycare to send our daughter to since my wife will be starting up work soon. I really liked the suggestion to make sure that you find a facility that has good communication between the staff and yourself. I think doing so would not only make the transition for our daughter into daycare easier, but I think it would also help reduce our anxiety of leaving our daughter in an unfamiliar place while we work.
Max Jones says
I like how you talked about a good relationship with the caregiver at a day care being a great way to help both your child and you transition smoothly. We’ve been looking for a day care for my son, and I think that if we could have someone we know a little bit better watching him, it would be easy. I’m going to have to see if we can build a good relationship with the caregiver at the day care and hopefully find somewhere my son wants to be!
Larry Weaver says
Thanks for the advice to have a ‘clean break’ where my kid understands what is happening when he gets left at daycare. My little son has one of the most tender souls I’ve ever encountered, so him understanding what is going on will really help him out for when he does start going to a daycare. I’ll be sure to follow this advice and find a place that my son will have fun attending.