OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care
ONCE you've made the decision about using childcare and which type of childcare you want, the next step is to help your child get ready to start.
Firstly, talk to your child and explain to them what they can expect at day care.
If they are fairly young, this method won't work so well however, allowing your infant to see their parents talking with the daycare provider in a friendly way so they feel secure that their parents like the provider is also a great trick.
For a toddler, talk about the chance to play with friends if other kids attend the daycare or the chance to play with the new toys and games the provider has.
As a child reaches the age of four, this is a great chance to point out that daycare is preparation for kindergarten.
Place importance on how they are becoming a big girl or boy by doing this and how proud you are that they are going to daycare.
Practice going to daycare:The more familiar your child is with the carer, the happier they will feel about being left with them. Arrange a couple of visits, at least an hour-long, with your new carer.
This will give your child a chance to relax and enjoy their time with this new person in their life, with you there for support. It may also help your child to be looked after by a grandparent or other relative a few times before you go back to work.
This will get them used to being away from you, and learn that you will always come back for them.
Prepare them further for one parent not being home by running a practice daycare session in your home.
Arrange for one of your relatives or friends to act as the daycare provider for a day.
Drop the child off, but remain in the local area and shop or enjoy a dinner while the child is being watched by the relative. This will help your child adjust to having neither parent with them during the day.
Consider only using daycare for half-days for the first week.
This will allow your child to get adjusted to daycare on a part-time basis without being overwhelmed.
Good bye for now: Remain at the daycare facility for a few minutes after dropping your child off.
Participate with the group so your child can see how much you like the daycare facility, teachers and activities. It goes without saying that the kids may not be the only ones struggling with the new routine. It's not easy to leave your children for the first time, particularly with carers they aren't very familiar with.
Take tissues: Have a cry in the car on the way to work. Ring and check how they are getting on during the day - but always be positive in front of your child.
Tips: If your child's daycare facility has a window where they can go and look out after you drop them off, be sure to stop at the window before getting in your car to wave to your child. At some point you will have to leave your child at daycare even though they are crying. Never sneak out! Always say goodbye and let your child know you will be back to get them later. Have you got any tips for a stress free drop off?
See more from Jody Allen at Stay At Home Mum.
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