As with so many things in parenting, it’s difficult to tell how your child will react the first time you drop them off at day care. Some kids may be perfectly fine and will jump right in to this new environment. Others may experience separation anxiety to varying levels. This ranges from brief feelings of sadness when you leave to full-on meltdowns. Luckily, there are steps you can take for adjusting to day care.
Prepare your child for the big day
Whenever possible, it’s best to get your child accustomed to the new space before their first day of school. Schedule an appointment to have them meet their teachers and other students. Give them time to explore their new classroom, and tell them all about the fun activities they will get to take part in.
Doing a tour of the school will also give you the chance to speak to the teachers and staff about your child’s particular needs. If your child does suffer from separation anxiety, this is a good time to discuss this with their teacher.
Create drop-off routines
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating: Children are creatures of habit. As much as possible, create a morning routine that will take them step by step to day care. This may include doing things in a specific order, like eating breakfast, then brushing their teeth, getting dressed and getting in the car.
Keep the goodbye at the childcare center brief; while it may be difficult to say goodbye, often separation anxiety worsens if you hang around. You do want to hug and kiss your child before you go (don’t lie and say, “I’ll be right back”), but keep it quick and don’t drag it out.
Get them excited
Before you send them off, talk with your child about what their day will be like at the childcare center. There should be quite a number of activities for them to be excited about, from arts and crafts projects to playing with other children outside. There are also plenty of books about what it’s like to be away from parents that may be comforting to your little one as well.
Make it work
Let’s say you’ve taken your child in for their first day, and it didn’t go well. Don’t give up. The fact is that you’ll have to do this at some point. Work with the childcare team on ways to ease the transition—and remember that these things take time. Your child will adapt to the new schedule and routine in the coming weeks.
We know it can be tough for you and your child adjusting to day care. At Kids Kingdom Early Learning Center, our dedicated team is here to help your child feel safe and comfortable. We provide a welcoming learning environment for children of all skill levels and abilities. As a Christian childcare center and preschool, we follow Biblical principles in everything we do. Give us a call right now to learn more and set up a visit.