Tips for that First Day at Childcare

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The first day at crèche, childminder, playschool or preschool is a big one for both you and your child. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. Here are a few tips how best to prepare both of you for the big day and help make that transition a smooth one.

* Start gently preparing your child in advance mentioning what a great adventure crèche will be with lots of friends and games. Keep it low key though; don’t overdo it as this could overwhelm your child.
* Try to foster independence in the weeks preceding crèche with visits to friends, washing own hands etc
* Be sure and visit the crèche with your child a couple of times before starting allowing him to absorb the environment in your company
* Make sure you have everything packed for the day e.g. snacks, change of clothes, comfort toys etc
* Label everything
* Be sure and have monies paid and forms completed before the big day so you are not distracted by these tasks.
* Ensure you 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.
* Allow the child to help pack his bag and carry it.
* When you arrive at the crèche walk your child in holding his hand – don’t carry him.
* Most crèches will have a settling in period (depending on your child it could be a few days or longer) where the child will stay for gradually longer periods of time. The first day you will probably stay in the room, allowing your child to do his own thing but remaining in sight. Gauge his reactions stepping out of the room 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, don’t let him see you).
* When the time comes for you to sit in the car or go for a coffee say ‘bye, mum will see you later’ positively with a quick kiss and leave the room. If your child cries don’t 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.
* Finally, remember your crèche do this all the time. They ‘know the drill’ so listen to their advice. They’ll call you if they have any concerns so try not to worry.

Now, enjoy your cup of coffee in peace!!!

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February 19, 2010

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