If you are having mixed feelings about sending your child off to childcare, you are not alone. Many parents feel sad that their child is growing up so fast and perhaps a bit anxious that they will not be able to easily adjust. It is a big transition for both you and your child.
Not only do you need to get your child ready for childcare, but you need to acknowledge your own ambivalent feelings about this change to your family. Remember that children will almost always take their lead from you. How you approach this will surely affect their ability to transition into their new social life away from home.
Keep Your Feelings To Yourself
Many children can sense your emotions. What you say and your tone of voice can communicate volumes. If you are upbeat, encouraging and excited about the prospects of childcare, your child will be too. Emphasize all the positive aspects of attending childcare, like meeting new friends, playing games, and learning new things.
Your little sponge will soak up everything you send their way.
Talk And Listen
While you may spend a lot of time talking about childcare, don’t forget to listen to them. Give your little one a chance to respond and express their own feelings. They may not be able to describe their emotions clearly, but give them the space to feel comfortable with their own feelings.
If they say they are scared or afraid to be away from you, acknowledge their feelings but remain positive.
Pretend And Practice
One of the best ways to have children express their feelings and become more confident about any unknown is to pretend and practise what they will be doing.
Act out social situations that will happen at childcare:
- Have them practise taking off their coat and hanging it up.
- Pretend you are playing a game and show them how to take turns.
- Act out how to get someone’s attention appropriately
- Read books together, especially ones about childcare.
- Roleplay sharing situations.
If your child seems less than excited about this new chapter in their life, remain calm and give it time. You may even find they will regress to old habits as part of their anxiety. Don’t be alarmed. If you stay patient and loving they will eventually accept and even look forward to childcare.
Prepare For Happy Goodbyes
Children love and need routine. Decide upon a typical routine to send them off each day, and begin it on the very first day of preschool. Get an early start and sit down to breakfast together. Maybe have a special song you play in the car every day that you can sing together. Pick out a “secret” hug or goodbye sign that only you and your child know. Save it for when you drop them off AND pick them up.
It’s okay to stay for a few minutes, but not too long. Even if your child seems unhappy or fearful, trust the caring well-trained childcare educators at Childventures to provide a happy, safe, and stimulating environment for your little one. They are in capable hands.
Contact us if you would like more information about our programs or would like a tour of the facility.