How to Prepare Your Child For Childcare

How to Prepare Your Child For Childcare

. 4 min read

For first-time parents, placing your child in childcare centres for the first time can feel anxiety-inducing. While it's a major milestone, separation anxiety can kick in and your child may act out as a result of this looming change.

But fret not! There are ways to make the transition seamless and even enjoyable for your little tot. Your child's anxieties and worries can be washed away, even while they're still adjusting to this new phase in their life.

Here are a few tips to help your child be happy in their new childcare centre!

1) Be selective when choosing your childcare centre

One of the most important steps in ensuring a smooth transition into childcare is to do your research on various centres.

Find one that has qualified and experienced educators, as well as facilities that are fun, stimulating and safe. By doing this, you can be confident that your child is in good hands and will have a positive learning experience.

During the selection process, try to take tours of the prospective centres to get a feel for the environment. What are the kids like? What are the promised developmental outcomes? What amenities do these facilities provide?

Consider your capabilities too. Do you have the income to afford childcare services? If you aren't financially able to pay for it, you may qualify for subsidies. Try to find ways online to learn more about subsidised family perks in Australia, like in this Gowrie NSW subsidy calculator.

Above all, determine whether it's a location where your kid would be happy. If you have any concerns, discuss them with your tour leader and consider them before you make your final selection.

2) Give them a comfort item before they set off

For some children, having a security blanket or toy to cling to can help ease their anxieties. These items provide a sense of security in an environment that's vastly different from what they're used to.

So when packing your child's bag for their first day, be sure to include their favourite comfort item. Whenever they're feeling uneasy in their new environment, they can hold onto their toy, whether it's a stuffed rabbit or doll, for reassurance.

3) Talk to your child about the childcare centre

While each child responds differently to change, it's important to have a chat with your little one about their upcoming adventure.

Explain to them what they can expect in detail, from the type of activities they'll be engaged in, to the people they'll meet.

You can even show them pictures of the childcare centre, their potential classmates, and the educators to help them feel more at ease. The more informed they are, the less anxious they'll be about this big change.

4) Make sure they're well-packed

Childcare centres will usually require inbound students to bring along certain items. Be sure that you've packed everything on the list to avoid any stressful situations on their first day. Also, make sure these items are identified with your child's name - you wouldn't want any mix-ups!

In addition, include healthy snacks and lunch in their pack (if it's allowed), as well as sunscreen and hats to protect them from the sun. If your child takes medication, don't forget to pack that too!

5) Arrive early on the first day

During the first day or two, it's best to stay with your child at the childcare centre until they're comfortable enough to be left on their own. This will help ease their anxiety and allow them to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings.

Arriving early will also give you time to settle any last-minute paperwork and say goodbye to your child in a calm manner. If you're rushed and leave too early, it may make them feel more anxious and stressed.

But don't loiter around for too long, either. Most childcare staff are experienced and can handle separations, so it's okay to trust them to deal with your child's worries.

6) Brief the educators about your child

The educators at the childcare centre should be aware of your child's individual needs and preferences, especially if they have any medical conditions or allergies.

Typically, the childcare staff will have a questionnaire that you can fill up that will help them get to know your child better. But it's always good to have a quick chat with the educators as well, just so you'll get to cover all bases.

7) Set a good-bye routine

There's comfort in familiarity, and having a consistent daily send-off can help create a sense of stability for your child. Whether it's a quick hug and an "I love you." or a little pep talk, it's always good to have a send-off routine that your child can look forward to every day.

Besides comforting the child, it also helps you as a parent know your limits and not stay around for too long.

8) Set a morning routine

It's important to instil a sense of order and routine in your child, especially when they'll be attending childcare for the first time.

A few days before their first day, start introducing the concept of a morning routine to them at set times of the day. This could include getting dressed by themselves, eating breakfast, and brushing their teeth - anything that will get them ready for the day ahead.

Having a set morning routine will help your child know what to expect and make the transition into childcare smoother. As much as possible, avoid rushing things in the morning to ease any potential stress.

9) Help them sleep early

Just as important as having a morning routine is having a bedtime routine. For the nights leading up to their first day of childcare, make sure your child gets plenty of rest by sleeping early.

A good night's sleep will help them feel more alert and energised for the next day. If you have trouble getting your child to sleep, try reading them a bedtime story or singing them a lullaby. If that doesn't work, try to impose a screen-time ban an hour before sleep to help them wind down.

10) Have a positive outlook

As a parent, it's important to stay upbeat about your child starting childcare. If you act anxious or stressed, your child will pick up on those vibes and start to feel the same way.

Instead, talk about how excited you are for them to make new friends and learn new things. By showing your excitement, you can help your child feel more confident and ready to attend childcare.



Mark

Part of the expertEasy team in Melbourne. Mark is a keen gardener, a DIY addict and a father of two beautiful girls. He is originally from Perth and is a true Eagles fan.

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