Easing Your Child Into Daycare after Maternity Leaveby Laura Driver
It is important to acknowledge that your child starting daycare can be a difficult transition for the whole family. Especially if you have a child known to have the wobbles, or who experiences and displays symptoms of separation anxiety.
Let’s have a look at some tips to help your transition!
More than one introductory visit
Initial visits are vital; don’t just rely on one visit as your child needs to gain recognition and build trust. Your child will pick up on tiny elements during visits that will become part of their recognition of daycare – little tiny details that as an adult we may overlook, as we’re looking at the bigger picture.
Your child not only needs to feel familiar with the people and the new environment they’re in, but there’s the journey from the car to the front door, then the move into the building and then entering their designated room/space.
These are all new and unfamiliar areas and this journey can be the most daunting part of the whole experience for them.
Routine is important
Is there a routine to entering daycare? Is there a key person you can meet each time you visit to hand your child to? This is all important and becomes established within your child as part of the routine.
Place great importance on this ‘tradition’ as you need to leave the room at some point! Establish a routine regarding how you leave the room and stick to it every single time, even if there are distractions!
Try not to become overwhelmed and flustered if your child becomes distressed. If you feel good about the setting and your handover, then you need to lead by example and show confidence even though it can be hard.
Recognise your feelings
Your child absorbs from you, so try to acknowledge how you feel and recognise these feelings. Let them sit and know that it’s OK to feel the way they do. Get out, go for a run or do what you do to have your time. Don’t be afraid to talk about your concerns, not only to your child’s teachers, but to your friends and family, so they too can offer you support.
Part of this transitioning process is getting used to being amongst other children. At this point in time in their development, it is about them and their world, not that they’re a person within a big world! Children are constantly developing their social and emotional skills as they learn to be with other children and to develop relationships.
Don’t be afraid to raise any concerns to your child’s carer, never feel as though you’re being a burden.
Of course, there are going to be good mornings and not-so-good mornings, trust your instincts and let your little one lead the way. With constant support and reassurance from you, your child WILL settle.