When it is time for you to go back to work after you give birth, if you do not have in-home care provided by a relative or nanny, you will be faced with enrolling your young one in a daycare center. The upside of daycare is that your child will be in a structured environment that provides them with the opportunity to socialize with other kids their age and engage in learning activities.
However, you need to prepare your child for being away from you for an extended period during the day. The following tips can assist you in getting your child ready to handle attending daycare for the first time.
Begin Reading to Your Child Each Day
If you are not reading to your child every day, you should begin the habit in the weeks leading up to daycare enrollment. Many daycare centers provide daily story times. If your child is used to listening to you read and listening, they will have an easier time sitting still and behaving during story time at daycare.
In addition, reading to children helps them develop good listening and reading comprehension skills. Look for books with daycare and school themes to read to your child in the weeks leading up to their enrollment in daycare so they will be familiar with the concept of getting dropped off during the day.
Set a Routine
The earlier you create a routine for your child in the morning and evening based on your work schedule, the easier it will be to get them ready for daycare and bedtime during the week. A regular routine will also help you minimize running late and rushing out of the house in the morning.
You can begin with creating a morning routine of activities like tooth brushing, getting dressed, eating breakfast and hair care. In the evening, set clear times for dinner, bathing and bedtime. Even if your child does not go to sleep right away and wants to spend time reading or playing with a toy in bed, just make sure that they are actually in bed at the same time each night.
If the daycare provided you with a daily schedule of activities, discuss the schedule with your child the day before their first day so they will have an idea of what to expect after you drop them off.
Make a Visit to the Daycare
If possible, take your child on a visit to the daycare center before they begin attending on a daily basis. Take the opportunity to introduce your child to their daycare provider. Some daycare centers have teachers for specific age groups. Make sure that your child has a chance to interact with the teacher.
In addition, let your child explore the facilities and spend time on the playground. Show your kid where they will take naps, eat snacks and participate in other activities.
If you know other parents with children enrolled in the same daycare, try to arrange a play date. A familiar face on the first day your child gets dropped off can help them get acclimated to the new environment and forget that you are not around.
Create a Goodbye Ritual
Leaving your child at the daycare on the first day can be a traumatic experience for you and your little one. Your kid may experience separation anxiety and feel that you are not coming back. While you may be unable to stop tears or even a tantrum, create a goodbye ritual to help your kid handle the stress of you leaving them for the day.
Rituals can include giving your child a hug and a kiss while reassuring them that you will be back at the end of the day, followed by a high five or other comforting gesture.
Do not linger. Make the ritual quick and say goodbye as you exit. The longer you extend the goodbye, the harder it will be for your child to begin getting used to daycare.
However, do not disappear while your child is not looking. Leaving without saying goodbye may make your child distrust you and not feel secure. Stick to your goodbye routine until your child is comfortable with you leaving them at daycare. Before you know it, your kid may start running off happily to meet friends during daycare drop off without so much as a kiss or hug.
For more tips and information, consider contacting different day cares in your area, such as Basics Primary School & Day Care.