Smooth First Day at Child Care – Tips for Providers and Parents

The first day at day care is a big one for all concerned
mum, child and carer.  It is exciting and terrifying at
the same time.  Here are a few tips on how best to prepare
all of you for the big day and help make that transition
a smooth one.

Mom Start gently preparing your child in advance
mentioning what a great adventure day care will be
with lots of friends and games. Keep it low key though
do not overdo it as this could overwhelm your child.
Provider You could provide mom with first names of
children and carers at the day care and suggest role
playing with dolls so everything is not completely strange
on that first day.

Mom should try to foster independence in the weeks
preceding with visits to friends, washing own hands etc
and providers should be sure to encourage mom and child
to visit the day care a couple of times before starting
allowing the child to absorb the environment.

Mom should be sure to have everything packed for the day
e.g. snacks, change of clothes, comfort toys and ensure
everything is labelled. Be sure and have monies paid and
forms completed before the big day so you are not
distracted by these tasks. Have lots of time
to get ready the morning of the big day with a good
breakfast and some chat about the great adventure ahead.
Carers should have an extra person on hand when a new child
is starting so that one person can focus on distracting
and comforting the new child. It is also advisable to have
the child start at a time when everyone is settled into
their morning activities  I wouldn't recommend first thing
in the morning when the flurry of activity could be
upsetting for the new child.

Allow the child to help pack his bag and carry it.
When you arrive at the day care walk your child in
holding his hand, do  not carry him. Providers should
insist on this therefore avoiding the peeling child off
the parent scenario.

All day cares should have a settling in period  where
the child will stay for gradually longer periods of time.
Facilitate the moms so they can be around but discourage
too much mom involvement.  This is where mom needs to
take a back seat and observe rather than interact. Provide
one on one support for the child.  He may just want to sit
and observe for a while eventually venturing into a group
to participate or play alone with a toy.  Let him go at
his own pace.  When mom leaves, distract him immediately
ushering him off to some exciting activity.

Mom,the first day of settling in you will probably stay
in the room, allowing your child to do his own thing but
remaining in  sight. Gauge his reactions perhaps stepping
out of the room momentarily explaining that you are making
a phone call and are just in the hall. Allow the staff
to distract your child and observe from a distance
(obviously, do not let him see you). When the time comes
for you to sit in the car or go for a coffee say, bye mom
will see you later, positively with a quick kiss and leave
the room. If your child cries do not look back, remember,
once you are out of sight the child will stop crying
shortly and will be distracted by play and activities.

It is very important to establish this drop off routine
from day one. Firm and consistent is key with children.
Communication and understanding between parents and
providers will make for a smooth and enjoyable transition
for the child. Now, moms, enjoy your cup of coffee in
peace!!! Providers enjoy your new little personality!

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