9 tips to help prepare your children for daycare

If you're ready to return to work and your little one will be separated from you for the first time, here are nine ways to prepare your child for daycare.

9 tips to help prepare your children for daycare

1. Daycare is fun

It would be a mistake to keep silent about this important change that’s about to happen in the life of your child.

  • A good place to begin preparing your children for daycare is by describing every positive aspect of this new lifestyle.
  • Put emphasis on the new friends, games and adventures they’ll encounter.

2. One step at a time

Acquaint your child with the daycare before the big day arrives.

  • Go together for a visit so you both can become familiar with the new surroundings.
  • If at all possible, start by leaving your child at the daycare for just a few hours, followed by a whole afternoon and then for a full day.

3. Blankie to the rescue

Let your child bring a familiar item, such as a favourite toy, a blankie or an item of clothing belonging to Mommy or Daddy.

4. Get prepared for the first day

Don’t wait until that first morning to think about the personal items you need to bring.

  • To properly prepare your children for daycare, it’s best to avoid any stress on the first day you’ll be apart. And the calmer you are, the better it will be for him or her.

5. Don’t rush out the door

Don’t spend a great deal of time on the doorstep saying goodbye, but you also shouldn't leave without warning.

  • Your little one may not understand what’s happening. However, it’s still important to explain the situation as best you can and be reassuring about when you’ll return. Let him or her know that you’ll be back after her nap or following the afternoon snack, for example.

6. Keep your promises

After all the goodbyes are said, don’t linger too long. This will only postpone the inevitable.

  • It’s quite normal for your child to cry, and he’ll probably stop the moment your back is turned. Don’t turn back.
  • And make sure you’re there at the agreed pickup time.

7. One change at a time

As much as possible, avoid having the start of daycare coincide with another significant change in your child’s daily life.

  • Maintaining your usual routine for a while will help give your child a valuable sense of security.

8. Talk about the day

Encourage your child to talk about their day. Ask about the activities, the children and the meals.

  • You’ll get two birds with one stone by having a positive conversation together and by giving your child a chance to talk about all those new feelings and discoveries.

9. Let time do its work

Your child will need a few days, or even a few weeks, to adapt. It takes time to settle in and to absorb all these new experiences. Even the food may be different, or the format for nap time.

  • Be attentive and empathetic to what your child is experiencing without dwelling on it.

Preparing your children for daycare is a great occasion to learn to embrace change – and rest assured, your child is almost certain to adapt faster than you will!

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