First experiences are almost always daunting, and even more so for toddlers and young children who are still exploring the world and finding out how it works.
That’s why the first day of childcare can often be overwhelming for many young kids. They are, after all, entering a “new” home, meeting new people, and trying things that they may not have tried before.
These new experiences can make your child feel nervous, scared or intimidated on their first day at childcare.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make their first day as smooth and positive as possible:
Ease them into it. The key to a smooth transition is to familiarise your child well in advance with what they’ll experience on their first day at childcare. Visit the centre a few times with your child and take them around to get them acquainted with the carers and the centre. Attend orientation visits with your child and let them explore the premises a few times. The more familiar they are with your childcare centre, the less intimidated they’ll feel on their first day.
Don’t stress. If you stress, your child will stress too. Toddlers and young kids are more intuitive than you think, and they can pick up on your emotions and mirror them. To prevent stressing out on the day itself, make sure that you prepare the day before (or even several days before). Make sure you give yourself plenty of time on the day too so that you don’t rush and stress.
Work with your carers. Let the carers and staff know ahead of time any habits or peculiar things that your child does. This way, they’ll know how to handle it if it happens. It’s also wise to let your carers know how your child is feeling when you arrive so that they can tailor their approach when they welcome your child.
Settle in with your child. Arrive early on the first day so that you can stay long enough to help your child settle in and get used to their new experience. This is especially important if your child feels scared or anxious. By comforting them as they settle down, they can start to feel more comfortable and confident for the rest of the day.
Arrive on time for pick-up. Being there to pick up your child as you promised will comfort your child and give them something to look forward to at the end of their day. Keep this up throughout the week (and onwards as much as possible) to give them familiar comfort and security.
Promise them a treat at home. Give your child a treat when you arrive home and let them know about this before you drop them off. This will give them something to look forward to and make their day better, no matter what their first-day experience is like.
Establish a morning routine beforehand. Get your child to bed early and start waking up early several weeks before to help you and your kids get accustomed to your new routine. Don’t forget to include other activities that will be part of your daily routine, including bath time, breakfasts and packing bags. The more you and your child internalise your routine, the smoother things will be when you leave for their first day of childcare.
A Smooth Start for a Smooth Future
For many kids, transitioning from home life to childcare is a big step.
By preparing your child for childcare well before their first visit, you can make sure that their first day at childcare will be fun, positive, and exciting. This can set them on a path for developing a love for learning and exploration, which are tremendously helpful in school and later life.
If you need more tips and information on how to make your child’s first day at childcare wonderful, feel free to contact our team. We’ll be more than happy to help you make your child’s transition to childcare as smooth as possible.