A good daycare center can provide excellent care for a child while also helping him or her learn new concepts and build socialization skills. Many infants begin going to daycare at a young age when their mothers and fathers must return to work. In these cases, the transition is often more difficult for the parents than the child. But when a toddler or older child begins going to daycare after being used to staying home and being cared for by his or her parents or another family member, it can be a very big adjustment. If your toddler or older child is beginning daycare for the first time, use the following tips to help him or her adjust and feel more comfortable:
Try Some Partial Days
One of the best ways to ease your child into daycare is by allowing him or her to get to know his or her new caregiver before spending full days at daycare. Whether you choose a daycare center or an in-home daycare service, most child caregivers will let a child visit for a couple of hours before full-time enrollment to allow the child to slowly become comfortable with the new people and new surroundings. During the first visit you may want to stay with you child for comfort, but it is a good idea to let your child spend some time alone at daycare to get used to the new environment.
Reassure Your Child
Your child may experience some fear or anxiety when being dropped off at daycare. As a parent, give your child a hug and reassure him or her that you will be back to pick him or her up. If your child is old enough to understand, mention that you will be back after lunch time, nap time, or after another specific activity. Be calm when saying goodbye to your child, and try to avoid delaying your departure if your child gets upset or cries. Your child's caregiver will help comfort him or her, and after you leave it will be easier for your child to get distracted by an activity or the other children.
Consider Comfort Items
In the first days or weeks of daycare, it is not uncommon for toddlers and older children to get upset and feel unhappy about their new situation. If your child has a comfort item, such as a favorite stuffed animal or a blanket, consider sending it in a bag when your child goes to daycare. Ask your child's caregiver to present the comfort item to your child if he or she is having a rough day.
For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at Cottonwood Montessori.