Adjusting to a child care program can be difficult for both parents and children. How can you make those first days in child care a little easier for you and your child?
How you feel about your child entering a child care program will have an impact on the way your child feels about it. Don't apologize to your child for needing to use a child care program for him or her. You want to portray this as a positive transition in his or her life, not a negative one.
Before your child is scheduled to begin staying at the child care center for an entire day, take a few visits to the center just for a visit. This will give your child a chance to get acquainted with the staff and other children that he or she will be spending time with. Your child will see the toys, books and friends that can be enjoyed and it could help spark an excitement about the new stage in life.
Instead of dropping your child off for an entire day right from the start, try leaving your child there for an hour or two the first day and work your way up to a full day in a week or so. Before you know it, your child will be comfortable in the surroundings and won't feel as anxious about going.
If your child has a favorite teddy bear, blanket or action figure, send it with him or her. This item is what your child will turn to if/when he or she feels anxious, uncomfortable or scared. Just be sure to label your child's name on the item clearly so that it can be returned to your child if it gets mixed up with the other toys and things at the care center.
Don't Sneak Away
You may want to avoid a teary good-bye, but sneaking away could cause your child's emotional state to deteriorate when he or she notices that you are gone. Instead, hang around for a few minutes while your child gets settled, then tell him or her that it is time for you to go. Sneaking way could trigger abandonment issues and cause your child not to trust you or the situation.
Talk with a child care provider (such as one from Small World Early Learning & Development Center) to learn more about keeping your child comfortable, calm and secure in child care. He or she has experienced anxiety with children and parents and will know the best ways to cope with the separation.