If your child is beginning a new daycare center or preschool, you may be fearing difficult transition. After all, children are creatures of habit, and a new routine can be daunting. But these tips will help you and your child to navigate this change and make as seamless of a transition as possible.
- Take your child on a visit. Bringing your child to explore his new childcare center in the weeks before he begins attending regularly is a great way to familiarize him with his new classroom, his teachers, and the various toys and activities he can look forward to. Allow him to get to know a teacher or two while he’s here, so that he’ll have a familiar face to greet him on his first day.
- Talk about it. When you’re at home, make sure to talk to your child about the upcoming transition. Let her know that she’ll be going to a childcare center each day, telling her who will be dropping her off in the morning and who will be picking her up each day. Talk to her about what she can bring with her from home, any favorite lunches she would like in that first week, and what kinds of activities she might do during the day each day. You can also read to her from a book that discusses beginning day care or preschool, like The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.
- Talk to the center. Have a conversation with the teachers or the director of the child care center you’re enrolling your child into. Talk about their approach to this big transition, and ask for any advice you can take home with you. If you and the staff at the center are on the same page, you can all play a part in guiding your little one through this big change.
- Don’t be surprised by some behavioral changes. Even when a new transition is going well, your child may become more clingy and needy than usu
al, or he may have trouble getting to sleep. He may even become grumpy and slightly difficult at home. Rest assured that this temporary stress is just that: temporary. It will fade as he gets used to his new world!
- Think about your own feelings. Are you a little ambivalent about sending your child to daycare or preschool? That’s natural! Many parents know rationally that the socialization and learning opportunities afforded by center-based care are best for their child, but it’s still difficult to do that first drop off. Talk about your feelings with your spouse or your friends, and remember that as you begin to see excitement on your child’s face after a day of school, and new friendships forming, you’ll feel great about your decision.
Childcare veterans, how did your children find the transition into center-based care? Share your own tips in the comments section!