Whether your child is three months old or three years, transitioning to child care at a daycare center from being at home with a parent can be a large transition. That is why it is important to take steps to make the transition easier on both you and your child.
#1 Visit the School
One of the most important steps you can take is to visit the school before your child's first day. This gives you an opportunity to figure out where to park and how the drop-off and pick-up proceed work for the daycare. For your child, it gives them an opportunity to see their new environment and to meet the staff and students they will be interacting with before you drop them off and leave them there. Getting to meet new staff members and children with you present can help your child feel more comfortable.
#2 Start with a Short Visit
Second, try to do a short visit to ease the transition before your child has to start attending the day care full time. This will allow both you and your child a chance to get used to this important transition.
Get your child ready, and drop them off for an hour or two. Ideally, don't do it during nap time or meal time, as those are busy times at a daycare. Just a short little visit will allow your child to become more familiar with the daycare and will allow your child to see that you will return to pick them up.
#3 Try to Sync Your Schedules
Next, try to sync your schedule with the daycare. Some daycares allow children to nap whenever they want, and others have a set nap time. Many daycares also have specific meal times for children who have moved to solid foods.
Try to sync up your meal and nap times so that they match with the daycare centers. You want to do this on days that your child is home with you. Eating and sleeping at the same time, regardless of if your child is at daycare or at home, will help your child. Consistent schedules, regardless of the location, are important for children.
If your child is getting ready to attend daycare, visit beforehand so you are both familiar with the preschool. Then, do a short visit so your child can see how dropping off, playtime and getting picked up work. Try to get your schedule and the daycare's schedule on sync together so that your child is eating and napping at the same time each day regardless of where they are at.