If you need to get back into the workforce and send your toddler, who has been home with you up until this point, to daycare, you may be worried about how he or she will adapt. Spending the daytime in daycare is a lot different from spending it at home with mom and dad. Your child will need time to get used to being around other children and listening to other adults. To make this transition easier on your little one, follow these tips:
Start off with just a few days per week or a few hours per day.
Ideally, you should begin acclimating your child to daycare a few weeks before you go back to work. This way, you can send him or her just one or two days per week in the beginning, and allow the child to adapt to that schedule before daycare becomes an everyday thing. You could also try sending your child to daycare for just two or three hours per day at first, and then working up to a whole day by the time you have to go back to work.
Work on "daycare skills" at home.
In order to do well at daycare, your child will need to know how to sit and listen to another adult's instructions. He or she will also need to learn how to play with other children. Prior to enrolling your child in daycare, work on developing these skills at home. Have a close adult friend come over and do some craft activities and play with your child so he or she learns to respect other adults. Invite some children of the same age over, and encourage them to play with your child so they both learn how to share and how to make friends.
Don't let emotions get the best of you.
Watching your little one go off to daycare for the first time can be heartbreaking. Your child is likely to shed some tears. But if you start crying too, this will just re-affirm to your child that there is something to be upset about. When your child gets sad or upset about daycare, put on your strong face and emphasize to him or her that everything is going to be okay. It's perfectly fine for you to shed some tears about your little one growing up – just don't do it in front of your child.
Some children have a harder time adapting to daycare than others, but with the tips above, you can ensure your child's transition is as smooth as possible. For more help, contact a school like Cottonwood Montessori.