As a parent transitioning your child can be one of the most difficult times for you and your little one here are a few tips we think can help.
1. Visit our centre with your child. Introduce him a few times to his new Aunty. Show him the toys we have and do at least a couple “trial runs.”
2. Think about the timing and developmental stage of your child. Remember just like us children go through predictable stages of development throughout infancy, toddler hood, and preschool. Although of course there are wide variations, there are also certain periods of developmental “calm” and others of “turmoil,” when new milestones are being reached. Toddlers are going through a sort of mini-adolescent mid life crisis of new communication skills, separation anxiety, and new understandings of the role of their new Aunty.
3. You must have the talk...Talk about school at home before the transition, no matter what the age of your child. Sing songs about school and even read about children who are starting at a centre. Talk about how much fun it will be and even play “pretend school.”
4. Feel free to discuss your routines for your child with his new Aunty and school director. Different centres may have very different philosophies about how to handle the first weeks. Some may prefer that parents spend the first days with their child, others may ask that you give a quick kiss and leave immediately, letting the Aunty handle settling in for the day. You know your child best and we would love to work hand in hand with you to make this transition smooth.
5. Give him experience with caretakers outside the family and outside your home well before thinking about all day at the centre. Some children love being with babysitters or grandparents, but only at home. There are times when his enthusiasm for new people would not translate to a centre setting, and he may be overwhelmed by a new environment.
6. Some change is to be expected in him. While he’s getting used to his new routine and schedule, he may be clingy, sad, or out of sorts. This is normal for many kids, because kids’ stress hormones actually elevate during this transition period but it has no lasting damage.
7. Confront your own ambivalent feelings about your child’s starting day care. It’s normal to feel guilty and anxious, but it’s important not to communicate this to your child. It is important to have a great support system for yourself during this time. Talk to your spouse, friend or mom about how you feel and don’t worry it will get better.
8. Be very patient and start the process as early as possible before you need to start work or have other commitments. The transition process can take months or even weeks before he feels comfortable and like his normal self in the centre.
This process is not nearly so difficult for most kids, and it’s a good lesson that life is full of new people, new experiences, and transitions. For your child, this story does have a happy ending. With the amazing teachers and our infinite patience, your child will love being at our centre tinkering and discovering!