The first day of daycare is not only a big step for your child, but it’s also a big step for you as a parent. It’s essential to prepare yourself and your child for this new step in your life.
Here are five daycare tips for the first day of nursery and how to make it a good experience for you both.
1. Talk to your child about it
Having multiple conversations about daycare can help them feel prepared when the day finally comes. Use consistent dialogue to help them understand their routine is going to change.
Always speak positively about daycare, explaining to them why they will enjoy it and answering any questions they may have about it. This will make the first day easier because they’ll feel excited and look forward to being at daycare with other kids.
If you are positive and excited about daycare, you can reinforce your child’s own positive outlook on this new experience. Getting them excited to learn and socialize at daycare can be immense help as they get used to this new phase in their life.
2. Bring a comfort item
Up to 70% of children develop attachments to an item like a toy or a blanket. Comfort items can help your child adjust to the new routine that comes with daycare.
To make them feel more comfortable, pack a comfort item like a blanket or stuffed animal to have with them during nap time. This can make for an easier transition and reduce their tears when you leave them for the day.
In addition to packing a comfort item, be sure to pack other helpful products for your child’s health and care like skincare products.
3. Help them practice independence
One aspect of daycare that may be difficult for a child to adjust to is the loss of attention compared to what they’d be getting at home. In daycare centres, because there are more children than daycare providers, your child may feel like there’s a loss of that constant attention and supervision that they may have at home.
To combat this, try introducing independence before the first day of daycare. Being able to complete small tasks throughout the day on their own can be both helpful for the daycare providers as well as helping your child adjust to the new environment.
4. A smooth first day of daycare
We’ve all heard the stories of how badly the first day can go if your child isn’t prepared or adjusted to being left at daycare. What you do and say can affect the way they react when you leave them on the first day.
It’s best not to linger when you drop your child off. When you say goodbye, don’t stick around and try to soothe your child. This can make it more difficult for them to adjust.
It’s okay to comfort your child, but don’t stay too long. Instead, try to engage them with what’s going on in daycare and take the attention off of you.
On the other side of the spectrum, don’t rush too much. If you’re rushing them into the car and rush to leave, your child may feel stressed from your rushing. Take your time, but when it’s time to say goodbye, leaving appropriately can help them adjust more quickly.
5. Parents too need to prepare for daycare
Often, as parents, we are the ones with more apprehension than our children. We worry our little ones are growing too fast, or that someone else will be taking care of them. Yet, we understand that this is an important step for our toddlers and need to put our feelings aside so that they can make the most of this experience.
For us too it’s a period of adjustment. Get used to the new schedule and enjoy all the time you have with your toddler before nursery starts.
Preparing For Daycare
No matter how you prepare yourself or your child for the first day of daycare, this is an exciting new step. Take your time, be patient during the adjustment period, and trust that your child will adjust accordingly and happily.
Wishing you and your little one a great first day of daycare!
For more of my tips, check out my article on how to build self-confidence in a child.
Until next time, Tania xx