Parents often have a great deal on their plate. They have to look after themselves, may have to work for a living to try to make ends meet, as well as take care of the welfare of their kids. Consequently, they may make decisions as quickly as possible so that they can remain efficient and move on to the next challenge. You may be familiar with this scenario and have been scrambling in recent days to pick up information about the various childcare centres in your locality. You believe that you've found a "winner" and have made arrangements for your child to attend when the new term begins. However, this is not the end of the story as you've got to look at this through the eyes of your child and help them to prepare for what will be an unusual new world.
In fact, this new world may not just be unusual, but it may be downright frightening. Some children experience high levels of anxiety for several weeks when they first get to a new childcare centre and this can be especially pronounced if they tend to be rather shy. They will need to make a quick adjustment so that they can cope with the new schedule, but parents can do a lot in advance to smooth this over.
As a parent, it's important to talk everything through with the child and prepare them for their first visit. Give them as much detail as you can about the type of facility, the activities that they will experience when they are there and talk to them about their teacher.
It may be a good idea for you to visit the facility before the big day. Tour the school and reassure your child. They may even be able to meet their teacher, but they will definitely become familiar with the environment, so it's not such a shock on that first day.
Strike up a conversation with your child and ask them questions. Find out if they have any concerns or worries and this will help you to focus on any negative thoughts and gently smooth them over.
If you can, make sure that your schedule is aligned with that of the childcare centre, so everything is as "normal" as possible on the first day.
Finally, if you know any other families that may be enrolling a child at that facility, see if you can connect with them, so their young one may have a friend to hold onto. This can, of course, be mutually beneficial to both children and parents and may be a particularly good way to prepare.
Use these ideas to better prepare your child for their time at a child care centre near you.