The first day at childcare can be an exciting day or an anxious one, and it is mostly reliant on you, and how you approach it. Your child will pick up on your energy and feelings. So, its up to you to set the tone.
Preparing your child for childcare can begin weeks, even months before you start searching for the right provider – if time allows. Start with introducing routines into your homelife and by leaving your child with family and friends. This allows them to create some independence and to understand that you can leave, and you will come back again. Once you do find the right provider, we suggest you use these tips to prepare for your child’s first day at childcare. To find childcare in your area use a website like this one for Epping.
The main thing you need to do is be positive about childcare. Do not let your worries affect your child. Talk about what they can expect to occur. Read books or role-play about being in childcare. Visit the centre in the days before they start and let yourselves get familiar with the teachers, the other children, and the facilities. It will make the big day less daunting for them. Then before the first day, take your child shopping and purchase something special for childcare. Perhaps you can allow them to pick out their own special kindy backpack. The more excitement and anticipation you can put into the event, the better.
You want the morning of the big day to be relaxed so:
- Decide the night before what clothes your child will wear
- Make sure you leave plenty of time
- Let them take a little memento of home with them, and
- Get there early so you have plenty of time to make them feel comfortable before you leave
Your most important part comes when it’s time to say goodbye. Start, or use a practiced goodbye routine. It could be as simple as ‘see you later alligator’ or a special handshake. Say your goodbyes and leave. Don’t linger and don’t let them see your tears. Cry in the car if you need to but stay strong until then. Let yourself be sad for a moment then treat yourself. Bring a friend for support if you want or meet a friend after for coffee and let it out.
When the big first day has finished, be on time. Don’t be late picking them up. Start your going home routine. Talk about their day and what you are going to do with the rest of your day together. Make time for some quality bonding.
No matter how prepared you are for the first day there may still be some bumps. That’s okay. Talk to the teachers and get some more advice. Before long, your child will be looking forward to their days at childcare, as will you. Prepare, and give you and your child the best chance at a great day.