The following is a conversation between some of my mom blogger friends and I discussing how we prepare for new childcare.
How do you help your child(ren) feel comfortable with a new sitter, daycare, or childcare provider? What are some things you can do to make the transition easier for your child(ren)?
Ghada: I’ve changed daycare with my nearly 5 year old 3 times now and each time it gets a little easier as he gets a little older. But the one thing that I have found to work best is if you can slowly transition your kids in. On the first day go with them for an hour, then the second day go for an hour and then leave them for an hour etc…See what works best for you. Of course, I found I only needed to do this when he was 2 and 3. His first daycare experience when he was 1, I thought he’d never settle – some days he cried, some days he didn’t but it gets better, even if it is only slowly.When he switched to a new place when he was 4, I stayed for 15 minutes and then left. The first 3 days or so, he was a bit standoffish from the others and had a little cry, but with age his coping mechanisms have gotten better and he adjusts quicker. I’m a bit queasy thinking about him starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks but I know it will be fine.
Also, make sure to ask the teachers for their help or thoughts on what you should be doing (like not sneaking away, always make sure to say ‘bye’ and tell them you’ll be back for them soon). Teachers are your beast allies.
Ashley: My son is 16 months and headed to day care for the first time this week! He’s always been watched by a relative, nanny, or SAHM. I look forward to reading what the other moms have to say about this topic. We visited last week and I let him play there for a bit while I chatted with the provider.
Emily: On our way to school, we talk about what he’ll be doing during the day. Music, swimming, playing with trucks, working on art projects, or whatever topic the class is focusing on for the week. We then talk about what I’ll be doing while he’s at school – Trader Joe’s, dry cleaning, other errands and then my computer work (which is my blog). He always asks what I’m buying at Trader Joe’s, and if I can get him some of his favorite things. When I bring him inside, we put away his bag and his lunch. His teachers greet him right away and, most days, he nearly pushes me out the door! I do make a point of telling him that I’ll be back to pick him up after rest.
I would also like to add that being prepared for the day makes mornings much easier. Take time at night to make sure that your things and your little one’s things are packed and by the door. Having a few minutes together to enjoy breakfast is more calming than everyone rushing around gathering their belongings!
Gena: This is all great info because it’s something I really struggle with! Both of my sons love Bible class and go twice a week, but they’ve both had their separation anxiety phases. My oldest went to daycare for three hours at a time when he turned three and he loved it for a month but then started dreading it and getting really anxious about it and it carried over to his everyday life. Thankfully we were at a point where he didn’t HAVE to go, so we pulled him out. Well, he wants to start going again and I’m having reservations. He needs to go, he would love it and benefit from it, but I don’t want him to start hating it again. It’s a hard thing to do!
From being a former kindergarten teacher and daycare teacher, I know that no kid has ever cried all.day.long, but it’s harder to see that as a parent.
Ashley: Well I dropped my son off at day care for the first time. I packed one of his favorite stuff animals for nap time. I went early so I could sit with him for a bit. He was clingy at first, but then soon started to get into playing with the toys. When him and another little toddler his age started playing with some trucks, I quickly told him I was going to work and would be back to pick him up. I slipped out the door with no issues! Hopefully he is doing okay! I’m resisting the urge to call, hehe.
Mary: I’ve taken the kid(s) along with us to visit or interview sitters to see how they interact. If the kids did not like the sitter or place we never gave it a second thought. I also never linger when dropping them off at the sitters or daycare. It is a short and sweet good bye and then out the door. When I had extra time and wanted to spend more time with them I found that it made it worse the next day when I was running late. Personally, I take it harder then the kids. I sometime would pause outside the door of the sitter, secretly, hoping that they would cry when I left and felt a little better when they did because they missed me… I am not proud of that, but, eh I want them to love me more hahaha.