Starting daycare is a huge milestone! Early childhood experiences that are nurturing and language-rich are essential to healthy cognitive development.
That said, your child’s first day at daycare will be nerve-wracking – for you and them. Your baby will cry, you may cry, and there’ll be tears all around. It’s going to be a tumultuous first few days, so chances are you’ll have to ease your child into it.
Here’s how you can ease early childhood anxieties.
Easing Early Childhood Anxieties
1. Talk to Your Child About Daycare
Many children fear strangers and have separation anxiety. Help your child feel comfortable by talking about daycare. Use language and concepts they can understand to discuss where they’re going and what they’ll be doing. Always use positive language and mention that you’ll be back at the end of the day to take them home.
To help ease these early childhood anxieties, you can also watch tv shows and YouTube videos about the first days of daycare so they can get comfortable with the idea.
2. Visit the Daycare
More than once, if possible. Leaving your toddler in an unfamiliar setting with strangers will only fuel their separation anxiety. Instead, try to visit the daycare center more than once with them. Please allow them to get familiar with the facility and the caregivers. Have them play with kids and the toys for a short while.
Starting slowly is a great way to ease the transition from early childhood anxieties. It also gives you time to establish a rapport with the daycare providers. In addition, early childhood educators have a lot of experience settling young kids into daycare; they’ll undoubtedly have suggestions for you and your child.
3. Work Daycare into Pretend Play
Does your child enjoy pretend play? You can show them how exciting the whole experience will be. Go through lunchtime, playtime, and any other activities they’ll engage in at daycare. Make it extra fun for them by talking about all the friends they’ll make and the new toys they’ll get to play with.
When your child gets to daycare, the day’s events will unfold exactly as they played them out, giving them a sense of safety and stability.
4. Build Similar Routines into Their Day
Once you’ve found a good quality daycare center, it’s important to get in touch with the teachers to determine your child’s routine. Find out what the timetable looks like and incorporate some of the activities into your child’s day.
Let’s say your child prefers late morning naps, but the daycare has naptime in the afternoon. It might be a good idea to adjust their naptime so they can adapt better to the transition. In addition, routines help your child feel more in control, which goes a long way in easing their early childhood anxieties.
5. Develop a Goodbye Ritual
It could be a formal handshake, a high five, or playing with a toy together before you leave. Spending some time with your child at daycare before you go can help them feel safe and ensures they can calm themselves more easily.
On that note, it might be a good idea to bring a transitional object to daycare, whether that’s a blanket or a stuffed animal your child enjoys. This way, they can find comfort in something familiar.
It’s a good idea to acknowledge that you might have some separation issues too. The transition to daycare is challenging for both parent and child. Easing your stress about the situation could help your child better cope with the shift away from these early childhood anxieties.
Contact The Learning Center
Contact us to learn more about our early childhood education programs in Windsor, South Windsor, and Manchester, CT. You may reach us at (860) 643-8639 or visit our contact page.