A Place to Grow Learning Blog

  • Helping Your Child Adjust to the First Days at Day Care

    Posted by on September 25, 2015

    Once you have found the right childcare center for your family, the next step is helping your child transition into the first days in their new environment. Every child is unique, so it’s no surprise that each child responds differently to the first few days at school. In our experience, however, there are a few guidelines that help make the transition smoother. By following these four tips, starting at a new childcare center is more likely to be filled with smiles than with tears.

    1. Set the stage with your child about their new school. No one likes surprises, including our children. It’s a good idea to start setting the stage a couple of weeks before your child begins at day care. Talk about the new school and the new friends your child will meet. To make the change more concrete, drive by the school building and playground and plan to visit the center with your child at least two times before the first day of school.
    2. Assemble items together that your child will bring to day care. To make children feel more a part of the process, work together to assemble the things that your child will bring to school. Some children like to bring a familiar object from home with them, such as a toy or blanket. This is a good opportunity to share positive feelings about the upcoming experience.
    3. Recognize the importance of good-byes. A good rule of thumb is to remain relaxed and unhurried when the time comes to leave your child at the day care center. Children pick up on their parents’ emotions, so a relaxed parent is more likely to translate to a relaxed child. Saying good-bye is essential, so children do not feel they have been abandoned. Be sure to tell the teacher when you are leaving, so they can help with the separation process if necessary.
    4. Remember that prompt end of day pickups build trust. Children need to trust that their parents are coming back for them. During the initial weeks of school, make every effort to pick up your child promptly at the end of the day. Being the last to leave can be scary for children. If you will be late, be sure to call the childcare center staff so they can prepare your child.

    Transitions are never easy, but with some advance planning and thought, it’s possible to minimize the anxiety associated with adjusting to a new childcare center. If you are exploring childcare centers, please visit A Place to Grow. We would love to welcome you and your family. Although we can never promise that our new students won’t cry a little on the first few days, we promise that they will be cared for and they will never cry alone!