Just because your child is old enough for you to go back to work and not have to spend every single second with them doesn't mean they are old enough to truly take care of themselves. If you are worried about the gap of time between when your child gets off of school and when you return from work, it might be time to look at a local daycare. That said, if you want this new beginning for your child to go smoothly, you'll have to take some steps to make sure they are prepared for the adventure ahead. Here are three tips to help get your child in the right state of mind for attending a daycare center.
Plan an Advance Visit
If you want to put your child's mind at ease about the upcoming experience, schedule a visit at the daycare center well in advance of their first day. This will give the child an opportunity to meet the caretakers while you are still around. Encourage them to run around and play and maybe even meet some of the other kids that are already there. If they have a fun experience when they visit with you , they will likely feel better about going back on their own.
Go Over the Schedule and Set Expectations
Giving your child a specific timeline to keep in mind can help them adjust to attending a daycare. Most daycare centers have specific periods of time when the children are encouraged to take a nap or eat a snack. There might also be specific scheduled group activities like kickball or other games during specific timeframes. Get a copy of this schedule from the daycare center and go over it with your child. Encourage them to follow the rules and go along with the other children throughout the day's events. Don't forget to let them know the specific time you will be picking them up each day as well.
Let Your Child Purchase an Item for the Big Day
It can help to let your child take partial ownership of the situation by taking them to buy something that they will use when they are at the daycare center. This could be a new backpack, a new pair of sneakers or several sets of gym clothes for the more vigorous daycare activities. This can help your child look forward to the experience because they'll know they get to use their fancy new item when they arrive at the daycare.
To help put your child's mind at ease before the first day of daycare, let them visit the center in advance to meet their caretakers or some of the other children. Get a copy of the daycare center's daily schedule and go over it with your child, setting expectations for different times during the day. Finally, help your child look forward to their first day by letting them buy a fancy new backpack or another item that they will only get to use at the daycare center. Reach out to a local daycare center, like Lapalco Learning Center, for more information.