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5 Tips for Starting Daycare

September 15, 2022

Starting daycare is a milestone with a lot of moving parts. There are all the logistics of pick-ups and drop-offs, endless forms, even more labels, and let’s not forget the emotional adjustment to returning to work and your child being cared for by someone new!

As someone who has gone through this a few times and supported many parents through the process, here are some of my favourite tips:

  1. Be kind to yourself
    Evaluate what you need to feel supported through this change. Remember to prioritize your need for rest and have someone you can talk to and share your feelings with.
  2. Start slow
    Plan for a gradual entry, starting with short visits and slowly building up to full days. If short visits aren’t possible, even starting mid-week is helpful. Work with your daycare to create a transition schedule you feel comfortable with.
  3. Sleeping and eating
    ‘How will my child fall asleep?! I always do x, y & z!’ One of the most common questions I get from parents is whether they should be changing their routines before daycare starts so it’s consistent. My answer is no; it’s best to stick to the familiar and comfortable routines you have at home. Children have different expectations from different caretakers. Often, parents find themselves both amused and frustrated that at daycare their child has long naps in their cot while at home they will only sleep in the stroller, on a parent, or not at all.
  4. See your daycare staff as an extension of your family
    Your child will settle into daycare once they feel connected to their teachers. You can support their relationships by speaking warmly of the staff and using their names at home. When your child perceives their teachers as being your friend, they will warm up to them much more quickly.
  5. Transitions take time
    Even with the best preparation, it takes time to adjust, and depending on your child’s temperament, it may be weeks or longer before they truly feel at home in their routine. But if you sense things aren’t on track, speak to their teachers or book an appointment for perspective and support.

I hope these tips resonate with you and provide confidence and motivation as you begin your daycare journey.

If you’re feeling anxious about this adjustment or are struggling to settle in, please reach out! These big changes are a great opportunity to gather insights and develop strategies that will serve your entire parenting journey.


Written By:

Heather Sande

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