Smooth Transitions: Tips for Preparing Your Child for Daycare or Nursery
When sending your child to a day care, you want them to feel safe and happy. Here are some tips on how to understand, comfort, and respect your child’s feelings.
Sending your child to daycare can be a difficult decision for parents. Early childhood is a crucial time for emotional and social development, and it’s important to find empathetic, positive, kind, and loving caregivers who can establish an emotional bond with your child and promote their growth.
If you’re considering sending your child to a daycare, it’s important to start your search early and analyze each proposal carefully. Visit the facility, request an interview with the authorities, and ensure that the hygiene and safety requirements are met.
It’s not uncommon for children to struggle with adapting to daycare, as it’s often the first significant change they experience in their lives. When children are left alone in the nursery, they may feel abandoned by their parents, experience anxiety and fear, and cry, have tantrums, feel sad, and not want to be alone.
Here are some tips to help prepare your child for daycare:
Understand Your Child
Adapting to a new person or place can be difficult for everyone, so your child needs understanding and support from you. Children can feel abandoned if they’re left in an unknown place without prior explanation, so an adaptation phase is always necessary. If you’re sending your child to daycare, attend with your regular caregiver, visit the place with your child, and provide them with phrases that make them feel safe when meeting their careers.
Establish a Small Ritual
When leaving your child in the daycare, establish a small ritual so that they feel accompanied. For example, walk with them, give them a farewell hug, and tell them that you’ll come to pick them up at the end of the morning. When you separate from your child, say goodbye with a big smile, remind them that it’s only a temporary separation, and tell them when you’ll come back.
If your child has developed a secure attachment with you, they’ll be attentive to your reaction when you leave them. If you leave calmly and safely, they’ll understand that the place is approved by you and that it’s a safe place to stay. If they notice concern in you, they’ll have a hard time staying calm.
Another helpful resource may be your child’s favorite object, stuffed toy, or toy with which they feel safe. If your child asks for more affection when they’re at home or at daycare, give it to them. They need to feel that you continue to love them.
Understand and Respect Your Child’s Reactions
Don’t scold or minimize the problems your child may have in adapting to the new daycare. Tell them that you understand how they feel and that it’s normal. Explain that there’s no reason to be afraid because you’ll always come back. Talk about your experience when you were little.
In conclusion, transitioning your child to daycare is a significant step that requires careful preparation and understanding. It’s essential to choose a daycare that meets your child’s needs and provides a safe, nurturing environment. Preparing your child for this change involves understanding their feelings, establishing comforting rituals, remaining calm during drop-offs, and respecting their reactions. Remember, every child is unique and may react differently to this transition. With patience, empathy, and love, you can help your child adapt to daycare, ensuring they feel secure and happy in their new environment. This not only supports their emotional and social development but also lays a strong foundation for their future learning and growth.
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Article written by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa
Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. She has been running a Psychological Center in Venezuela since 2016.