Starting childcare early is beneficial to help kickstart social development. However, parents of early starters may be concerned over how their child will handle a childcare environment.
The first day of childcare is always a rollercoaster of emotions for children. Imagine dealing with an unfamiliar place, separation anxiety, and having to meet other children and adults all at once.
Most of the time, children get upset after their first day in childcare because it is a shock to their daily routine. It can be overwhelming and it can make it a challenge for the parents. As such, it is important for parents to prepare their children for their first few weeks at childcare, and here is how they can do it.
What parents can do before putting their child in childcare?
As childhood educators and carers, we are trained to make your child feel at home in the childcare environment. However, every child is different when it comes to their needs and habits, and it really helps if we can get an idea of what your child likes to help ease them into a childcare environment.
Here are some of the important details that can help our educators and carers understand your child’s needs better:
- Your child’s sleeping patterns, emotional preferences, and social habits
- Any comfort items or toys your child will need
- Food allergies or other medical conditions
- Any help your child needs with toileting
- Your child’s interests – eg dinosaurs, space, robots
- Learning activities your child enjoys – eg drawing, puzzles, building
- Any concerns about your child’s development
- Any family circumstances that might affect your child’s behaviour
- Your child’s immunisation status
What preparation should be done before entering childcare?
Doing a little bit of homework goes a long way in adjusting your child to a childcare environment. These are some tips for familiarising your child in the weeks leading up to their enrolment:
- Get to know what will take place on their first day
Talk to our educators about what a child’s first day at the centre is like and how they get them settled in. It also helps if you could bring your child along to familiarise themselves with the centre, other children, and the key people running the place.
- Start a routine
Preparing routine does wonders in readying your child. Check with the centre’s schedule and try to implement it into your child’s routine at home. For younger children, it is recommended to let the centre know about their meal, play, and nap times so that they can advise or adjust accordingly. However, for older children, it is better to adjust their home schedule to be more aligned with the centre’s.
- Meet the educators
Your child will meet many people at their centre, but the most important individual to them is their educator. They will be the ones who will help introduce your child to the rest of the children and facilitate activities and interactions. In the week prior to starting childcare, find out who your child’s main educator is, introduce your child, and talk to them so that they will be more aware of your child’s attendance and needs.
Children love to hear stories and some books about friendship and adventure can help them to better understand and explore their emotions around upcoming new events. Talk positively to your child about the excitement and possibilities the new environment, friends, educators, and activities have in store.
How to prepare your child for their first day of childcare?
The first day of childcare is always the most crucial day, so you shouldn’t rush things in the morning itself. It is best to get all practical things organised on the day before, so they can get up and go, and it’ll put you and your child on the right foot for the coming days.
Parents should do the following on the day before their child’s first day at childcare:
- Pack everything that your child needs, including bottles, formula, nappies, hats, spare clothes, medicines, and special comfort items like cuddly toys or blankets.
- Check that all the packed items are labeled with your child’s name
- Ensure that your child eats a healthy dinner the night before and get them to bed with enough time for a good night’s sleep. If they aren’t able to sleep well, inform their educators.
What will your child do on their first day at Bright ELC?
Every child settles into a childcare setting differently. Some will be anxious, others will be excited. Both are completely normal reactions. At Bright ELC, our educators believe in a gradual orientation where your child will have a steady induction that is guided by their assigned educator and carer.
This gradual orientation period starts with a few hours at first and is slowly extended week by week, as the child steadily accustoms themselves and gains confidence in their surroundings.
Talk to our experienced educators and carers about how they will approach this challenge and ask them for their advice on how to help them settle in.
So, get in touch with Bright ELC today and book a tour of our Glen Waverley childcare centre. Our educators and carers will be happy to meet you and your child and will be ready to answer any questions you might have.