At Little Kingdom, we know one of the biggest challenges for parents and their little ones is making the transition to childcare. Our experience tells us that it can be equally tough, if not more so, for the parents than the babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Our staff have over 45 years combined experience in childcare and early education. Here are their top ten tips to settling into a new routine with childcare.
1. Enjoy some playdates
In the two weeks leading up to starting childcare, visit the centre for short playdates. The surrounds will become familiar, making those first days much easier.
2. Talk about it
Talk to your little ones about childcare in the lead up to and early days of joining. By using a positive tone, you will build excitement and reassurance that it’s an exciting milestone. If your little one is still a baby, they will still pick up on your positivity.
3. Read about it
Consider purchasing or borrowing some books from the library that talk about going to childcare. This will build familiarity for your child. We recommend Mason’s First Day at Daycare by Brisbane author, Tamsyn Rose.
4. Bring a familiar object
Pack a familiar object from home such as a favourite toy, teddy bear or blanket. Particularly for babies and toddlers, the scent of the object will help them feel more at home.
5. Always say good-bye
When dropping your little one off to childcare, always say good-bye and never just disappear when they aren’t looking. This tip is particular important to build trust and routine.
6. Rituals and routines
Little ones love routines and special rituals – it builds a sense of security and familiarity. Consider a ritual on the mornings that you have childcare such as taking a special snack on the ferry to the CBD.
7. Work with your educators / carers
Work with your educators by establishing an open dialogue on your child’s development. Keep your educators updated on your child’s needs, habits, likes and dislikes so they can support you and your child.
8. Consider multiple and consecutive days
Feedback from parents are that they find it easier to settle in their little ones into childcare when they are doing more than one day per week and ideally consecutive days each week. The increased frequency helps to build a sense of belonging faster.
9. Network with other parents
At Little Kingdom, we aim to foster a relationship between other parents as well as our educators. Our online sharing platform/app Story Park and regular family open days are a great way to meet others parents and share your experience and tips for settling your kids into childcare.
10. Share your day with each other
After each day at childcare, no matter the age of the child, it’s great to talk about what happened, what activities they took part in and who was at childcare today. In addition to helping your little ones settle in, this is a great way to build their speech development.
Finally, our advice is to be prepared for some tears – even if you do all of the above. In our experience it’s very common and they don’t last long.