Transitioning your child into a new daycare center can be a tough transition, whether it is your first daycare experience or not. The comforting news is that you aren’t alone!
Most parents and children have some level of struggle with the new transition into any type of childcare, but there are some steps that you can take to make the transition smoother for both you and your child.
1) Schedule a Visit to the Daycare with Your Child
This is a great way to get kids building comfort with a new environment! Scheduling a visit to a daycare or preschool center will allow you both to get to meet the teacher and talk with them; it gives your child the opportunity to explore their new classroom a little bit before the first day; and having a parent there with them can typically settle a child’s nerves at being in a new environment.
2) Begin Your New Routine a Couple of Weeks Before Starting
You may have a new routine planned for your child leading up to the transition into the new daycare, so make sure you start that at least a week or two before the actual transition. If you plan to wake up at a certain time each day, get them breakfast, read a book in the morning—whatever your plan for your routine is, give your kids enough time to transition into that so that they aren’t having to adjust to too many things at once.
3) Build Trust and Excitement in Your Child
One way to ease a child’s fears of attending a new daycare or preschool is when parents hype up the experience to build both trust and excitement in the new upcoming experience.
Talk to your child about how much fun it will be while they are there. Talk to them about how they will get to play with new toys, do arts and crafts, make new friends, and anything else that would stand out to them as an awesome part of this new experience.
4) Just Say Goodbye
This is probably the hardest tip to follow, but one of the most effective.
When you are leaving your screaming, crying child in a new childcare setting, every one of your instincts could be screaming inside you as well. Just remember that your child is safe and okay, and if you give them a hug full of comfort and confidence, that can begin to transfer to them over the first few days.
The longer you stay after that last hug, the more likely it is that your child will continue screaming and crying because they still have hope that you are going to stay. Most children stop crying a few minutes after their parents leave as well, so take comfort in that as you walk out those first few mornings.
Helping your young child through the transition into a new daycare is definitely challenging; but with patience, consistency and reassurance, it can be done, and you both will get through it and be much happier on the other side!