Your maternity or parental leave is coming to an end, and your place in daycare has been reserved for some time now. The time has come for your little one to start daycare, and you are apprehensive. Nothing could be more normal. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of our best advice for a smooth entry into the daycare.
1. Creating a bond of trust: the time of familiarization
You are going to entrust your little one to the professionals of the nursery that you do not know yet. What could be better than meeting them and getting to know them? The period before entering the daycare center is called “familiarization” or “adaptation to daycare”. This is the time when parents and their children get to know the daycare professionals during an appointment that suits everyone’s schedule. The quality of the exchanges is privileged to create a feeling of security for the child.
Familiarization in the daycare center is also an opportunity for the childcare assistants to gather important information about the child: nap times, reactions to fatigue, sleeping habits, waking habits, food preferences, favorite activities, etc. The more information your child’s caregiver has about your child, the easier it will be for your baby to adapt to his new environment.
2. Visit the daycare center: get to know the place
On your first day of familiarization, take the time with your child to visit the nursery. You will be able to ask all the questions you have to the child’s referent and prepare for his arrival with peace of mind. Choose his bed, personalize his locker, change his diaper in the dedicated place to get him used to the place, etc… The child will feel welcomed and expected for his first day.
If possible, try to plan your child’s first day at the daycare before you go back to work. This way, you will be able to spend time with your child for at least the first few days. Parents can stay as long as they wish and even participate in the activities offered to adapt to their rhythm, especially to the child.
3. Anticipate a smooth separation
Very often, the idea of entrusting their little one to a daycare center makes young parents feel guilty, as they dread the separation from their child. But don’t be afraid: nursery nurses are professionals who know how to take care of babies, even when they are still infants. However, to avoid being too worried on the big day, you can prepare for the transition gently: at the end of your maternity or parental leave, separate yourself from your child for a few minutes each day by entrusting him or her to a person outside your home.
Stay present at first, then leave. Gradually increase the time you spend apart each day to continue weaning your baby gently. Your baby will quickly get used to not being in your presence all the time and will adapt much better to his new environment on the day he starts daycare.
4. Prepare the appropriate material for your child’s entry into the daycare center
In order to reproduce a reassuring universe for the child, it is advisable to put some objects in your child’s backpack to make him feel comfortable. Preparing a list of items to bring to the daycare will help you not forget anything: blanket, pacifier if he/she has one, change of clothes labeled with the child’s name, baby bottle… The daycare provides diapers and milk; you will not normally need to bring them.
If a doctor has prescribed a medical treatment for your child, please bring the medication with the associated prescription. Finally, depending on the season and the weather, having a hat or raincoat can be very useful when your child goes outside to play. Also, remember to bring a small photo of your child on the first day so that you can stick it in his/her locker.
5. Communicate with your child
Finally, communicate with your child for a smooth entrance to the daycare. Take the time to explain things to him: you will go back to work, you will pick him up in the evening, the daycare center is not far from the house… When you visit the daycare center the first time, show him where he will sleep, where his things will be, as well as where he will have his lunches. All this new environment will be new for him (new place, new faces, new noises).
Also, the more you talk to him about it in a happy and calm tone of voice, the more your little one will be reassured and will have a positive feeling about his daycare. When you drop him off, don’t forget to let him know you are leaving: avoid long hugs to say goodbye, which may make the departure more difficult, but tell him when you are leaving and explain that you will pick him up at a certain time. This will be much less frightening for your child than seeing you suddenly disappear.
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