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Starting Daycare

A huge milestone in a young child’s life is starting daycare! Whether your child starts at 6 weeks or 3 years old, it can be a stressful time. Preparing yourself, and your child, for the first day can alleviate some of those first day nerves.

Here are 4 tips that will make the first day go smoothly:

  1. Plan a visit to the center before the first day. – You’ve likely visited the daycare center when you enrolled your child, but it’s important to get acquainted with your child’s classroom teacher and room beforehand. Schedule a tour, or ask the Director if you can peek your head into the room. Doing so will also provide you some comfort. If you think your toddler is feeling especially anxious about their first day, maybe ask if your child can look around their new classroom and meet their teacher beforehand. This may provide your child with a little bit of familiarity that will make the first day go more smoothly.
  2. Prepare the diaper bag the night before. – The last thing you want to do is forget something important. While what you will need to pack in your child’s bag will vary with age, being organized will help tremendously. The more smoothly you can get everyone out of the house on time, the better you will feel starting the day. Being organized will make you feel confident, and will allow you to drop off your child without having to rush.
  3. Do your best to not linger at drop-off. – Instinctually, you will want to see your child’s reaction to their new teachers and classmates. However, lingering may add to the anxiety that you both feel at drop off. Imagine it like ripping off a Band-Aid; the faster it happens, the less uncomfortableness you’ll endure. If your child is crying at drop-off, trust that the teachers have a lot of experience with comforting children who are nervous about their first day. This also provides their teacher an opportunity to form trust with your child. The comfort your child’s teacher gives them in this moment helps to establish a positive relationship and allows the two of them to connect.
  4. Be patient. – This probably should’ve been tip #1! Patience, patience, patience. If you’re feeling apprehensive, or emotional, it’s okay! You will feel a lot of things, and so will your child. As the first week goes on, you’ll feel more settled and your child will get into the flow of the new routine. It will be a huge adjustment for the entire family. Eventually you will see your child’s connection to their teacher emerge and you will take comfort in knowing that you are leaving them with someone that they adore and trust.

The first day of daycare is stressful for you and your child. It is a new experience, and it can feel overwhelming. By preparing for the first day and trusting the staff at your child’s daycare center, the first day will go smoothly for everyone.