You spent weeks, or maybe even months, looking at childcare centers. You went on tours, interviewed directors and asked friends who have kids about the best daycare centers in your area. Now that you've finally chosen one, your little learner is off to her first day of 'school'. The first day away is never easy—for either of you.
Don't worry, your kiddo is about to enter a world of fun (that will also help her to grow and develop as a person) and you can feel comfortable knowing that she's getting top-notch care while you're away. So how can you make the transition from staying home with mom or dad to child care easier?
Do a Dry Run
How much time will it take you to get ready in the morning? Before you had a child you had your morning routine down to a science. Now that you have to add in your child's breakfast, getting her dressed and finding that always-missing shoe, it's likely to take more time.
Adding on to the stress of the first day is definitely a don't. Try a dry run before the big day. Not only will this help you to judge how much time the whole thing takes, but it can also make your child feel more comfortable. She'll get to experience what will happen and she'll learn what to expect.
Set Up a Playdate
At some point you're going to visit the daycare center before your child actually starts. Try to get there during drop-off or pick-up time—when the other parents are around. Introduce yourself to some of the other moms and dads. Talk to them about the center and set up a playdate or two. Getting to know a few kids beforehand can make your child feel better about starting school. When the first day rolls around, she'll be excited to see her new friends.
Act it Out
Your child isn't sure what she should expect from her daycare day. Role play child care and set up your own pretend play center. You can play the teacher and her dolls or stuffed animals can play the roles of other kids. Switch things up and let your child also take on the part of the teacher. She can show you what she knows about daycare and what she thinks will happen. As you're going through the pretend play experience, ask her to act out any concerns or questions she might have.
From doing a dry run to acting out her day, you can help your child to get excited about starting child care and help yourself to get ready for that first day. To learn more about making the first day the best day for your child, contact services like Dreamland Education Ctr.