How to Prepare Your Child (and Yourself!) for Daycare
Are you dreading the day you take your child to daycare for the first time? Are you more excited instead? For many parents, this is one of the biggest decisions they’ll make regarding their child. It helps for everyone to be prepared – including you!
Here are seven tips on how to prepare your child and yourself for daycare.
1. Get Ready…
Preparing yourself is an important first step. If you’re confident and cheerful about your choice to send your child to daycare, it will go a long way toward encouraging your child to be more confident, too. If you’re doubtful, it may make your child feel insecure.
2. Choose the Right Daycare
It’s not too hard to be confident in your decision if you’ve chosen the right daycare for your child. Do your research and look for checklists and guidelines as to how to choose the best daycare for your family. Once you’re sure you’ve got the best possible situation for your child, you can be honest when you say they will have a good time, the people are nice, and so forth.
3. Bring a Friend (for Your Child)
As you prepare your child for daycare, scheduling playdates with other children destined for the same daycare can help. Then your child will see a familiar friend when he or she goes to daycare. You might be able to carpool together, too.
4. Get Familiar with the Facilities
Bring your child with you when you tour the facilities and meet the staff. In fact, visiting multiple times and interacting with the staff and teachers is not a bad idea. This can help familiarize your child with his or her caregivers, and also give you peace of mind as you meet the people who will be caring for your child.
5. Adopt a Similar Schedule at Home
Find out the daycare’s schedule and see if you can adopt elements of it at home. What time is snack or a meal served? What about naps and playtime? See if you can implement some of the same routines so the change in schedule will be minimal when your child goes off to daycare.
6. Find Out What’s Expected and Encourage Your Child
Many daycares have requirements for the kids in their facility. Make sure you know what these are, and encourage your child in these areas. For instance, are kids expected to eat with spoons or can they use their fingers? Will your child be required to wash his hands independently or be totally potty trained? These are important things to find out ahead of time so you can get your child on the right track.
7. Talk Positively about It
Take opportunities to talk positively about daycare as often as possible, preferably every day. As you adopt some of the schedules and routines of the daycare, you can say, “This is the way they do it in daycare” or “Let’s try this – I got this idea from Miss so-and-so at daycare!” Mention how nice the staff members are when you can, or talk about how much you like the facility.