Congratulations, you've finally landed your first post-baby job! Follow these easy tips to help your prince or princess easily adjust to daycare for the first time.
- Talk It Up – Begin talking about day care in a positive light, long before your child needs to go. Drive by when the kids are playing outside and comment on how much fun it looks like to be there. Mention how much an older family member loves going, and some of the fun crafts and projects that they get to work on. Mention how only "big kids" get to go to school there and that soon, your child will be a big kid too. Building positive anticipation can be the difference between a quick and easy first-day drop-off and one filled with anxiety and tears.
- Call It School – Most children can't wait until they are able to go to school because they know that means they have gotten bigger. Begin telling your child how proud and excited you are for them that they will be getting to go to school soon. This will help them feel like attending is an accomplishment on their part, rather than feeling neglected because you aren't there.
- Tour The Facilities - Make sure to set this up with the center before you just show up. Daycares can get hectic around certain times of the day. When you call the center, they will be able to let you know when is a good time to stop by with your child and will probably even be able to take a few minutes to show you around.
- Start Early – If possible, have your child attend for a few days before you start working yourself. This way, if morning drop off takes longer than expected, or if your child has a meltdown and you need to pick him up early, it won't affect your job. If you are not able to have your child start early, at least bring them to the daycare before the first day to see their "classroom" (remember, this is a school) and "teacher".
- Never Let Them See You Sweat – Whether this is your first child or your fifth, leaving him or her in the care of strangers can be stressful on you. Don't let you child see this anxiety, because it will affect their own feelings regarding starting school. Even if you are so anxious that you spend the entire first day waiting in your car in the daycare parking lot, never let your child know. You must act as if you are just fine so that your child doesn't pick up on your worry.
For further assistance, contact a local daycare center, such as Mendon Child Care Ctr.