Children are creatures of habit. Once you help them establish a routine, children are sticklers for following them exactly. But what happens when you change that routine? Like when you return to work and need to put your child in daycare. How do you help your child smoothly transition from staying home with you to going somewhere new and spending the day with new people?
Here are some suggestions to make the start of daycare a beautiful beginning instead of a traumatizing nightmare.
Avoid Big Changes At Home
Sending your child to daycare is a big thing for them to get used to. This is not a good time to host visiting relatives, rearrange their bedroom, and begin potty training or anything else new.
Talk To Your Child In Advance2
Prepare them for daycare for several weeks if you can. Tell them all about where they are going and what they will be doing. Elaborate about how fun the activities will be. By talking about daycare daily, it will be common more familiar, and children love things that are familiar.
Go For A Visit
After talking about daycare with your child, it’s important to take them there for a visit. Have them meet the staff as well as the children. Let them observe the other children enjoying activities like painting or playing together on the playground. Your child is less likely to be upset by being dropped off at daycare if he sees just how much fun he’s going to have when he’s there.
Organize A Play Date
If possible, work with the daycare to see if you can arrange a play date with your child and some of the children from his group. When children have friends to look forward to seeing, they will not worry about being lonely without you.
On the first day your child will start daycare, make sure to allow plenty of time so that you can help him adjust into an activity. If he’s busy having fun, he’ll be less likely to cry about your departure.
Don’t Sneak Away
Conversely, don’t linger either. Once your child is settled into an activity, make sure to say good-bye and then promptly leave. Your body language as you leave is crucial because your child will be watching you. If you walk off confidently and without getting teary-eyed your child will also feel confident about staying behind at the daycare to play with his friends while you go about your day.
Make sure to let your child know when you will come back and when he will go home and what you will do next. It’s important to help him establish that this is now the routine, and once he gets used to it, he’ll be happy to get up each morning, knowing he’s going to spend the day learning and having fun with his friends. And hopefully, you’ll start feeling that way about going back to work too!