The stress leading up to sending your child to childcare for the first time is hard. But it’s always hardest for mum and dad. As an Educator, I’ve help hundreds, if not thousands of families settle in on their first day. I get it – you’re leaving your child in the hands of someone else when you’re so used to that being you! It’s mentally tough! Here are some tips to help you on your first day.
- Ensure you’ve checked and double checked what your child needs at their daycare. Nappies, creams, hats, waterbottles, wipes, comfort item? This will help your day start on the right foot.
- Give your schedule some time to adjust BEFORE you start care. If you need to drop your child off at 7am – try doing this process for a week before hand and head to a park or to breakfast instead of daycare by 7. It’s much easier for your child (and you!) to settle in slowly to avoid the stress and rush. Stress is contagious.
- Make visits and get to know your childs educators. When your child has some familiar faces, they’ll be much more relaxed on their first day. Some places will allow you to do a few hours, or a session to settle in.
- Trust your educators. They’re AMAZING at what they do and their qualifications aren’t there for no reason. They’ve settled in hundreds of children before, they know every minor detail about every child. If you’re anxious, it can rub off so easily onto your child. Be confident.
- A special ‘daycare’ item. Maybe a big kid backpack, a lunchbox, something exciting your child can share is incredible at helping them feel grown up and ready to go!
- Something from home is also a great way for your child to connect and share. A photo of their parents, a cuddly toy, a pillow. It helps fill the gap and feel familiar.
- Start a goodbye routine from day one. Short and sweet is the way to go, lingering goodbyes confuse your child. When you arrive, you might ask your child to show you one activity. When that activity is done, you can give your hugs, kisses, and goodbyes and either let your child play if they’re confident, or get some help from an educator to give them a cuddle and wave goodbye. Remember, when you say goodbye, you need to mean it! Otherwise your child knows its not the real goodbye and can make the process longer and harder.
- Ask for an update. Your educators will more than likely be happy to send you some photos after you leave to show you they’re happy!
- Remember it will often take more than one visit for your child to settle in. There’s so many routines in a day, friends to learn, new activities that sometimes it can be overwhelming to understand everything in one day. Don’t stress if your child doesn’t settle on day 1.
- Spoil yourself. It’s always harder on YOU than your child!
- Talk about their day when you pick them up with their educators. If it wasn’t great, discuss a plan with your educators for drop off the next time they’re in care. This might include a routine, or an activity they especially loved.
- Talk to your child about their day. Gauge their favourite things, learn about their new friends, their educators and what they loved. This is something that you can discuss the next care day to excite them and may help the transition smoothen.
Above all else, remember that your child’s Educators are INCREDIBLE people with warm hearts to create a safe space for children every day. They’re great at what they do and you’ll be in safe hands. Wishing your family all the best for your first day!