How exciting! You’ve chosen your new childcare centre for your child. You want this is to be a positive experience not only for your child but also for you and your family.
There are lots of things you can do to make childcare and morning drop-offs happy and fun experiences.
Keep reading for our top tips plus some useful advice from other parents!
How should I prepare my child for their first day at childcare?
Preparation is key to ensuring your child settles in quickly, enjoys childcare, and gets the most out of it – learning, playing, socialising and experiencing new things.
Remember, your childcare centre wants you and your child to be happy, they will do all they can to make it a success.
Stuart, Daniel’s father
In the leadup to your child starting childcare
Arrange with the childcare centre for you and your child to visit.
Most childcare centres organise regular events for new children to attend. This helps your child see the childcare centre as a familiar, fun place to be. It also orientates your child where everything is such as toilets, toys and playground.
This is an opportunity for your child to meet their teachers and make new friends. You can talk to the teachers about your child’s likes and dislikes, so they are ready if any problems do occur.
Grace Village can organise play dates with other children who are starting childcare at the same time. Seeing a new friend or familiar face in the room or playground could make all the difference to their day.
Routines are an important aspect to childcare
By setting up similar routines to the ones at childcare, this will help your child know what they are expected to do during the day. This will remove their unease and give them confidence in each activity.
Keisha, Amy’s mum
Leave your child with grandparents, aunts or uncles or play dates with friends.
Leaving your child with grandparents, aunts or uncles or play dates with friends, is an easy way to help your child settle into childcare. For a lot of children, especially if the child is starting childcare at an early age, they haven’t been left with family or friends very often. This teaches the child that they can be left with others, have a good time and that you will pick them up later.
Talk to your child about starting childcare
In the leadup to the big first day, talk to your child about the activities they will be doing, the kind teachers who will be with them and the fun time they will have with friends their own age. Tell them about other friends, cousins or neighbours who go to childcare, so it becomes a natural thing to do.
Starting childcare can be as daunting for the parents, especially when it is the first time you are leaving your child. However, children can pick up your anxieties, so be confident and positive about the experience. Have a chat with your childcare centre, they can talk you through your concerns – you’re not the first family to be anxious for their child.
Kate, Thomas’ mum
On your child’s first day at childcare
Aim to reduce the stress in the morning by preparing as much as you can the night before. Wake up earlier so there is plenty of time to get ready.
Be excited for your child and talk about all the fun activities and friends who will be at childcare.
Arrive at the childcare centre with plenty of time. Get your child to choose the activity they would like to do. Settle them into the activity before you say goodbye, give them a big hug and reassure them you or someone else will pick them up at the end of the day.
Leave straight away, even if your child starts to cry. A teacher will respond and comfort your child.
When you go to pick up your child from childcare, be excited for their day and ask lots of questions about what they did and who they played with. Tell them what you did while they were at childcare.
Mark, Ali’s grandfather
Your childcare centre teachers have been trained and are experienced to handle all situations, so if you are struggling or need help with your child’s separation anxiety, talk to them.
They have lots of different ways to settle your child and ease the burden on you in the morning. It takes a village to raise a child, and we’re here to help!