Sending your child to a childcare centre for the first time can be worrisome. There are a lot of things to consider. How will they behave? Will they be scared without you there? How will they be treated by the care workers? As a parent, you likely want to make sure your child gets the best possible care. You can help ensure that by teaching your child a few simple things before their first day. If your child is about to start at a childcare centre, here are four things that they should know.
What Their Day Will Look Like
Young children often love routine and repetition. That’s why they ask to watch the same three television shows over and over, read the same two bedtime stories, or repeat the same silly joke. You can support this need by telling your child what their routine at the childcare center will be each day. Start from the moment when you say goodbye to a child to the moment when you will pick them up. Talk about how there will be specific times for snacks, learning, lunch, and play. The more your child knows to expect, the easier the transition will be for them.
When To Expect You Back
It’s very normal for young children to have some separation anxiety when they first start at a childcare center. Their care workers will be able to help them through this during the day. You can help prepare your child ahead of time by telling them what time you will be back to pick them up. If your child doesn’t know how to read a clock yet, you can say it as part of their schedule. Try saying something like, “You will eat lunch, and then take a nap, and then go play on the playground. After playground time ends, I will be there to pick you up.” The first few days may be tough, but having a consistent and predictable pick-up time will help your child adjust quickly.
How To Share With Others
For young children, learning to share is an important step in their development. For children who haven’t spent a lot of time around other children or siblings, their first few days in a childcare center can be difficult. You can help by teaching your child to share their toys with others. You could talk about how it feels to help make others happy, or how there will be lots of other fun things to play with. You can also talk about how they can go to their teacher if they don’t want to share or feel sad. This helps your child know that they are supported while they learn.
What To Call Their Teacher
Another way to help your child feel excited about starting at the childcare center is to tell them about their new teacher. Tell your child their name. If the childcare center has a picture to share, you can show that to your child. Teach your child how to refer to their teacher. Some may like to be called by their last name, while others like to be called by their first name or nickname. This will help them recognize a friendly face on their first day and get them off on the right foot.
Enrolling your child in a childcare center for the first time can come with complicated feelings for both you and your child. You can help reduce those first-day worries by teaching your child some things beforehand. Let them know what the routine will be, assure them that you’ll be back to pick them up, teach them to share with other children, and help them get to know their teacher. before you know it, your child won’t be able to wait to get to their center every day!