How To Prepare Your Child For Daycare: A Quick Guide
Daycare is a fun and life-changing experience for many young children. It gives them a chance to socialize with children their age, encouraging exploration, play-based learning, and the development of lifelong skills through group activities.
And although daycare does provide children with an interactive experience, that doesn’t mean that parents don’t have their own homework to do as well. In fact, parents play a critical role in the success of their child, from reinforcing positive behaviors to providing a strong foundation at home.
Getting your child ready for daycare isn’t challenging, but there are certain tips you should know. Read on to learn a few of the steps you can take to help your children get the most out of their daycare experience.
Visit the Daycare Center Beforehand
First impressions matter, so, to make the first day as smooth as possible, visit the daycare center before school actually starts. Doing so helps you and your child to:
- Get used to the new environment at the care center
- Meet with caregivers and other children early on
- Find the route to the classroom where the day begins
- Learn about what’s planned in the itinerary for the day
Some first-time interaction between the parents and the caregivers goes a long way to making the daycare experience a smooth one from day one to the end of the year.
Meet with Caregivers
Children like to learn from their parents. The way you interact with the caregiver will ultimately impact their initial view of that caregiver. Take some time to build a strong relationship with the staff at a daycare center.
Don’t forget that they’re on your side too. Both of you want a quality learning experience that introduces your kids to working with teachers at school.
Tell Them About Your Child
Just like how you can learn about daycare from the caregivers, you have an opportunity to provide some helpful tips and information about your own kids. For instance, let them know your children’s:
- Typical temperament and moods
- Hobbies and interests
- Favorite foods
- Likes and dislikes
- Medical appointments like checkups and dentist visits
If there’s a particular way you’ve discovered to put your children to sleep or soothe them when emotions get high, let the staff at the daycare know. You’re helping the care facility to hit the ground running.
Of course, don’t forget to provide important parental contact information either by phone or email. Most daycare centers require this information upfront.
And Learn From Them As Well
Don’t be afraid to ask caregivers after the first day about how the day went. What did they learn about your child, and what can be done at home to enhance the daycare experience? What skills did the children learn that day, and what related activities could be done at home to complement them?
Take Time To Prepare Your Child
Daycare can be a time of life-changing fun and excitement but also a bit of anxiety for kids who aren’t used to the new environment yet. Make the transition a smooth one by preparing your child for the new year.
Talk To Your Children
If your children are old enough, try to explain in ways they understand what exactly daycare is and what benefits they’ll receive from attending school outside of the house for once. Stay positive in your descriptions by emphasizing the opportunity to have fun with kids around their same age.
Of course, make it clear that you’ll always be there for them, especially at the end of the day when they go home.
Prepare Them For Independent, Shared Living
Prepare your kids properly by encouraging independence and getting them used to sharing in the attention. For instance, teach them to…
- Put their shoes and socks on by themselves
- Go to the bathroom or wash their hands
- Get used to a shared living environment by letting them live with other siblings, cousins, or family members at home
Daycare is the first time children get to live without their parents. And if they don’t live with siblings or other relatives at home, then it’s also the first independent living experience in a way.
Set Up Routines
Create two routines to help the kids get into the swing of things once the day comes. Have a morning routine planned as well as one for a final goodbye before heading off to the daycare center.
Routines help people, not only children, get comfortable with their surroundings and reduce nervousness when new life experiences emerge. For instance, what should you pack before school? Are any books, crayons, or other supplies necessary? Will you eat breakfast at home, or does the center provide it? And most important, what’s the best wake up time so that you aren’t late?
Include in the routine some sort of last activity before the children head off to daycare. Whether it’s a toy, a snack, or otherwise, some sort of “leaving ritual” will help children mentally prepare for the new day.
Simulate Daycare at Home
Think about what your daycare has planned for the day and try to recreate those experiences at home first. This way, children feel more in control over the first day and are less anxious about seeing new things. The activities might include:
- Reading stories
- Playing outside
- Games like hide and seek
- Taking naps
Listen to your child about any questions or worries they might have. The fewer unanswered questions they have going into daycare, the more it will seem like an exciting adventure rather than a disruptive change in their lives.
Manage Your Own Emotions
Parents themselves feel a wide variety of emotions when sending their kids off to daycare for the first time. It could range from excitement to sadness or guilt. But regardless of your feelings, be sure to only exude a positive mood around your child.
Keep that positive energy up at the end of the day during pickup as well. It’s actually not uncommon for children to shed tears at pickup time, and not for the reasons you’d think. It’s often a feeling of relief or happiness from seeing you again, so respond with a smile and a hug.
Know What To Pack
Just like how an artist needs a paintbrush, the best way to prepare for daycare is to bring the tools you’ll need. You have the basics like a backpack, a snack or lunch, or a favorite book, but a few other suggestions to consider include:
A change of clothes in case the painting activities get a little messy A favorite toy like a stuffed animal to remind children of home A comforting item like the classic personal blanket
And don’t forget to label everything with your child’s name. Accidentally losing personal belongings is fairly common in school when everyone’s things get mixed up.
While most daycare centers allow certain personal belongings to be brought, it’s worth asking first.
Contact Kinderville To Learn More About Our Daycare Programs
Parental support is paramount in this turning point in many children’s lives.
Did you know that even the Government of Ontario offers advice for daycare preparation? If you’re interested in learning more, read their guide here.
And if you’re looking for a suitable childcare center, look to the daycare center with experience working with children since 1990. Kinderville offers excellent daycare services to help your kids get a head start in life, book your visit today.