For many children, the transition from around-the-clock parental care to a daycare environment is not an easy one. Anxiety and nervousness about separating from an attachment figure can manifest themselves in plenty of tears and a physical resistance to your leaving. The truth is, by the time you reach your car, most or all of the tears have subsided. Nevertheless, these interactions can cause overwhelming feelings of guilt and perhaps even lead you to question your decision to enroll your child in an early learning program. It’s important to remain grounded in your knowledge that the long-term effects of preschool programming have significant benefits on your little one’s development and that the professionals at your school have the knowledge and experience to help smooth your child’s transition. There are indeed some steps that you, as the parent, can complete in order to do your part and further accelerate your child’s transition.
Consider the following tips below:
- Create a Video: Technological advancements have allowed for the development of several new interventions within the classroom. One effective way to smooth your child’s transition is to create a short video with a message letting your child know that you love them, encouraging them to play, and reminding them that you will be back later to pick them up. When a child is having a particularly rough day, day care staff can grab an iPad and show your video to your child, helping to provide comfort and a sense of familiarity in order to alleviate the sense of apprehension overwhelming your little one.
- Send Your Child in with a Comfort Object: Check with your program and inquire about its policy on comfort objects. Small stuffed animals or an object from home can provide a sense of home and smooth the transition between school and work environments. Throughout the day, your child can reach for this object if they’re feeling insecure or homesick.
- Set a Schedule: A primary reason for the development of anxious feelings within a child is the uncertainty that arises from the shift to a new schedule. While your little one was accustomed to the at-home lifestyle, enrollment in daycare sets a new agenda that frequently deviates significantly from the previously-held standard. Thus, when the shift to day care is made, it is important to set and maintain a consistent schedule corresponding to the program. Think especially in terms of bedtime, wake up time, and breakfast time when considering specific timing. By keeping this schedule constant, your child has the ability to adapt to this new schedule as quickly as possible. Consistency is key and encourages the development of habit.
Rough drop-offs are always a difficult experience for parents. Remember, at first, meltdowns at the front door are all too common. By allowing your child to work through these emotions rather than pulling them from a program, you allow your little one to develop resilience and adaptation skills, ultimately growing from an initially difficult change.
Need additional advice or help with implementing these solutions, feel free to work with any of our teachers. If you know a friend that could use support in this area, please share this article.