Is your child starting day care? This is a big step in their development and a big step in your role as a parent. It might be the first time they’ve been away from you for longer than an hour or two -- which is significant! It is likely that you will be feeling some apprehension about saying goodbye to your child, and worried that your child will be ok without you there.
The process of being without your child is a vital part of developing their attachment to you, and with attachment patterns playing a role throughout our lives it’s important to model appropriate attachment from an early age. That said, despite any of your best-laid plans for how leaving your child at day care is going to go, there’s the very real chance that your child may get upset, no matter what you do.
We want to share some tips and advice on how to handle separation on your child’s first day of day care in the hopes that it makes an easy transition for your whole family.
Tips for your child’s first day of childcare
You can do a lot to prepare your child for their first day of day care prior to the day even arriving.
Talk your child well in advance of the big day
You want to start explaining fun things that are going to happen in child care and work this into their routine so that when the day comes to go to childcare, your child will be accustomed to talking about it and enjoying it.
Arrange a visit to your child care centre ahead of their first day
This will give your child a chance to see their new environment and will show them all of the fun things to do there. You can stay with them for an hour and play with some toys and interact with the kids and teachers -- as this can make things easier later on.
On their first day of childcare make sure you don’t hang around too long
But it can be helpful to stay for a small while and get your child comfortable. When it’s time to leave, your child may well cry and cling to you - but it is important not to give in to their pleas to take them home - as it sends the message that there is something wrong with the place you’re trying to leave them at.
Our teachers are experienced and trained in how to handle crying children
When dropping your child off, spend a little time if you need to, and then give your child a hug and a kiss, tell them you love them, and smile and say you will see them later. Then, still smiling, turn around and walk out the door calmly.
Even if your child is screaming for you - keep going. If your departure is handled calmly, children will generally stop crying rather quickly and will soon become so engrossed in playtime that they won’t mind your absence.
Consider having a transition toy
Children have favourite toys, and you might like to consider including a toy in their packed bag for childcare as it provides some continuity with home.
Involve your child with packing their bag for child care.
Do they want to bring a special snack or treat for lunch? Are they wanting to take a particular toy in to show their teacher? This can be a helpful part of easing the transition into childcare.
Ultimately, any anxiety that your child feels when starting childcare can be mitigated through your behaviour, and through your preparedness. Showing anxiety is not a negative thing; it merely means that your child is developing appropriately because they recognise that you continue to exist when you are no longer there! This is a key developmental milestone.
If you would like to arrange a visit here at Ascot Childcare, then please call us on (07) 3268 2748 or get in touch with us online and we will call you back.