Some children experience the anxiety that comes from transitioning into day care, while others do not. Whether it's a family day care or not, the next step after choosing the day care centre for your child is preparing and helping them with the transition that lies ahead.
One of the ways to do this is by helping your child familiarise themselves with what is in store for them. Here is a rundown of how to go about it.
1. Plan a Visit
Let your child get a feel for the environment at the day care centre by scheduling a visit before their start date. During this visit, let your child move around freely and interact with the caregivers and other children. This visit is also a perfect opportunity for you to seek clarification and ask any questions that may have escaped you during the initial tour when you were narrowing down your options.
2. Start Living by the Same Schedule
What will a typical day at the day care centre look like for your child? You can take advantage of the visit highlighted above to find out from the centre. In the days or even weeks leading up to the start date, adjust your child's schedule to align with the day care centre's schedule. Naps in the afternoon? Meals and snacks at specific times? It shouldn't be a challenge to make these schedule adjustments.
3. Talk to Your Child
Depending on the age of your child, just talking about the changes that lie ahead can be a big help. Talk, in detail, about what they can expect. Highlight the exciting bits, such as being around other kids their age and getting to learn about and do fun activities. Make it a two-way conversation. Patiently answer their questions. Gently calm their fears.
4. Meet and Greet
With the family day care in your neighbourhood, it's more likely than not that you already know some of the kids going to the day care. Organise play dates with their parents and let your child interact with the other kids. Depending on the policy, you may also be able to get the day care centre to share with you the contacts of the other parents.
Starting at a day care centre need not be a time of anxiety for your child. These simple tips can help make sure of that. Reach out to long day care centres in your area to learn more.