Setting up a routine for kids is great when you’re at home. But if you get a new job and have to put your child in daycare, it can be a huge adjustment for your child. How do you make it more comfortable for them?
Here are a few ideas for making the transition less abrupt and difficult.
Avoid any other big changes at this time
Don’t overwhelm your child with a ton of new changes like moving their furniture around or potty training. Let them get used to daycare first before trying anything else new.
Talk about it first
Ideally, you should talk to your child about daycare weeks before they go. Tell them all about it, going into great details about the fun things they’ll do and see. The idea is to make it more familiar which will make it less scary.
Take them to see it
Once you’ve talked the place up, take your child over there to see it. Let them watch the other kids having fun or visit the playground. Your child will be much less likely to cry or resist on the first day you drop him off if he sees how cool it is with his own eyes.
Set up a play date
If you can, see if the daycare can help you set up a play date with some of the other children he’ll be in a group with. If he has friends going into it, he’ll be even more excited to go to daycare.
Arrange to go earlier on the first day of daycare so you can make sure you help your child adjust. Once he’s busy and having fun, he won’t even notice when you leave.
But don’t be sneaky
Sure, now he’s having fun but even if it’s the time of his life, when he looks up to see you left without saying goodbye, he’ll be upset. So say goodbye and then leave without lingering. Walk out confidently. If you look sad and shrunken he’s going to pick up on that. Cry all you like in your car on the way to work. Just don’t let him see it!
Give it time
Remember, it’s only going to be difficult for a week or two until he adjusts to the new normal. Things won’t feel normal for a week or so, but keep to the new routine you’ve established. Once he gets used to it, he’ll be so excited about daycare that he won’t want to leave when you pick him up!