If you’re starting daycare with a newborn who is just a few weeks old, you might not have too many concerns over starting daycare. However the older the child, the more time it may take them to settle into the childcare lifestyle. Whatever age, there are a number of ways you can help prepare your child for starting at your local centre. Here are 5 tips to help.
Tip 1: Meet the Teachers
Regardless of their age, if you want your child to settle into the arms of someone they’ve never met before, you need to introduce them. Take your child to the centre for an orientation – perhaps the centre offers the chance for you to stay with your child for an hour or two a few days before they start themselves. This is a great way for your child to meet the person (or people) who will play a major role in their growth, and it helps them get used to their surroundings.
Tip 2: Fix Your Routines
Daycare centres always operate on routines – they have set meal times, a specific time of day for naps (not for babies, of course), and particular times for play outdoors and indoors. If you want to prepare your child, start by setting these same routines at home. This gives them a sense of normalcy once they get to the centre. At the same time, keep your daily routines for waking, getting dressed, breakfast, then dinner, bath, bedtime. It’ll help them get used to doing things at a particular time of day.
Tip 3: Talk to Your Child
If your child is old enough to understand what you say to them, tell them your plans. Talk to them about why they are going to daycare, where they are going, who might be there, and reassure them that they will have fun. Let them know about some of the fun activities they will be able to do there to help them get excited. And don’t forget to reassure them that no matter what, you’ll always be there to pick them up again at the end of the day.
Tip 4: Avoid Going Too Hard, Too Fast
if you have the opportunity (depending on your work arrangements), try to ease them into daycare rather than pushing them straight into five days of care. Ideally, you want to start with two consecutive days, or you might choose days that are one apart, such as Tuesday and Thursday. Then as they get more used to it, you can increase their days gradually until they are attending the required number. Slow and steady wins the race, and this will help reduce the levels of stress as they settle in.
Tip 5: Choose The Right Centre
There are so many different centres and each one has its own learning systems and benefits. You want to choose a centre that matches your child’s personality or your expectations for care. For example, if you’re short on time in the mornings, some centres provide all children’s meals throughout the day, so you don’t have to stress about making lunches. There are centres that base their education on STEM, and others follow Montessori or the Early Years Learning Framework. Some centres focus on outdoor play and have large open spaces, while others are located in office towers providing an abundance of indoor art and craft options.
Essentially, you want to do plenty of research in your local area (such as childcare Cranbourne) and choose a centre to suit your requirements. Make sure your child feels comfortable there, and talk to the centre staff – their attitude to work is a great indication of a good centre.