October 10, 2017
It’s time for your child to start daycare—now that’s a decision that can be stressful and even downright nerve-racking for a parent. I understand you so well and I know how difficult it can be to just let go and entrust the care of your little one to strangers for several days a week, and so many hours a day! Yikes! Let me assure you this isn’t really the stuff of nightmares; the following pointers should help make this transition as easy and pleasant as possible for the whole family.
Choosing your daycare
As a first step, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do the caregivers have the proper training to care for my child and any special needs he or she has (allergies, handicaps, etc.)?
- Will my child flourish and develop his or her full potential in this environment?
- Are the caregivers capable of understanding and meeting the needs of my child adequately?
- Does the daycare meet the expected safety and hygiene standards?
Once your choice is made: establish first contact
I strongly recommend you contact your future daycare and visit this establishment with your child in advance. Take a moment to introduce your child to the caregivers and his or her future playmates. Draft a short list of questions so you don’t forget anything.
Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the group and to immerse yourself in its dynamics. A gradual integration is ideal; it allows children to become accustomed to their new environment progressively and favours a smooth adjustment.
Contribute to the easing process at home too
I suggest you establish a stable and consistent daily routine at home. This will give your child number of familiar and comforting reference points throughout each day.
In addition, you can display this routine with illustrations in a strategic location, within reach, so your child can refer to it during each stage of the day. You can ask the educator to do the same at daycare. Images will help little ones better understand their schedule, creating predictability so they can anticipate (patiently) the moment of your return. Caregivers can also post family photos for each child in the room and thus foster a sense of security. All these measures will allow your children to develop a sense of trust in the adults around them, as well as a sense of belonging to their new environment.
Before the official daycare debut, if your child hasn’t been babysat on many occasions, I suggest you entrust your little one to a relative or family friend for short periods of time while you go on a few outings. Gradually increase your absence periods. This allows children to see that mom or dad always comes back, thus increasing their sense of security and confidence.
Plan a 5- to 15-minute time slot every day to spend some quality time with your child. This will help reduce your sense of guilt and allow you to enjoy precious moments of joy with your little angel.
Be patient with your child, and with yourself!
To conclude, I have to say no magic solution exists when it comes to easing the separation from your little sweet pea. But when you are well prepared, everything goes smoothly! I wish you and your child the best possible daycare integration and, above all, remember to be patient and indulgent towards both yourself and your toddler!
Laithicia Adam, family coach
Founder and Director of Lili Rescousse
Member of the Nanny Secours network