Settling into childcare: What to expect?
Most childcare centres provide early education and development to children age zero to five years. They offer full-time or part-time care and are built either in stand-alone premises or in schools, shopping centres or office buildings. These centres are usually licensed and are run by private operators or community organisations. To provide working parents the time to enrol their children in preschool programs, most childcare centres these days extend their operating hours from seven in the morning until six in the evening.
Once your child is enrolled in a childcare centre, one of the things probably upmost in your mind is how he/she is going to be ready for this transition in their lives. Here are a few tips about settling children into childcare, which we know can have a significant impact on you and your child, to make this new step a positive one.
Preparing your child for their first day
When your little one is coming to a childcare centre for the first time, there are many factors you should take into consideration. High on the list is the need to introduce her/him to the centre before starting their first day there. The purpose of this is to get your child accustomed to the environment they will be in while separated from you. It also helps if your child accompanies you to the enrolment interview so that they can meet the staff and other children. Familiarity reduces anxiety.
Having your child undergo an orientation session at the centre can also be a big help. This will provide you and your child an opportunity to meet the educators, gain better understanding of the routine and learn what makes the centre better than the others. Also, this will allow your child to feel comfortable and encourage them to start building a bond and relationship with their carers. If your child
You may ask your chosen childcare centre to conduct orientations that you think are necessary for your child, and you, to feel comfortable about staying at the centre on the first day.
What to expect for the succeeding days
During their first few days, it is best to leave your child at the centre for a shorter of period of time. The first few days can be quite stressful for most children, especially for those who haven’t been away from their parents for long periods of time. A slow transition, therefore, could prevent the scenario where your child doesn’t want to go back to the centre.
After a few days, children will begin to not just feel comfortable about being in day care but would come to enjoy it as well, allowing you to leave them for longer periods of time.
The bottom line
While we have mostly discussed about how to get a child settled into a centre, we can’t rule out that parents need to consider their own views on the matter as well. Your anxieties and worries about leaving your child to the care of others, often strangers, at first, could sometimes be the biggest factor. It is therefore important that you pick a childcare centre that you feel can trust, one where you feel confident that your child won’t be just a number but will be well taken cared of.
We hope this article covered your basic questions about settling your child into a day care centre. If you want to know more about typical costs of sending your child to day care, watch out for our next blog post entitled Child care costs: What you should know.