Transitioning from home to a structured daycare can be a challenging time in a toddler’s development. The new caregivers, routine, and learning environment can be overwhelming, but there are ways to help young children prepare for the changes ahead.
Here are three tips to help make transitioning to preschool easier and to help make the experience a positive one for your toddler.
1. Set The Tone By Creating Excitement
Introducing the idea of going to daycare in an exciting way can help your child positively associate with the new change to their routine and creating excitement is vital. Dropping your child off on the first day, without the necessary introductions can be confusing and difficult for them.
The tone set by parents has the most important impact on how the child perceives the change. Be sure to use positive words about their new school and portray excitement too! A few weeks before they start, start talking to your child about their new school and what it will be like. Ask them questions about their expectations. Having conversations on a regular basis can help to calm initial anxieties and will provide an opportunity for parents to answer any questions the child has. The less uncertainty that exists, the greater the chances of a positive learning experience.
2. Plan A Visit To The Daycare With Your Child, Before Their First Day
Arrange a visit to the school before the first day because it helps your child adjust more quickly. Taking the drive to the school or practicing the new morning routine can help your child feel less confused and will help them get used to the idea of spending their days away from home.
Before their first day, explain the new morning routine to your child and that you will be traveling to a new place where they will be learning and spending some of their day. Assuring your child that you will always come back to take them home will make that of a difference as to how your child perceives the change. A good daycare center will have great facilities that intrigue young children and encourage their development.
The drive and visit could also help your child look forward to playing in their new space with their new friends!
3. Pack Your Child A Comfort Item
Experiencing separation anxiety is normal in young children and an important part of their emotional development. Leaving your child with a familiar item to comfort them when you are away can help to ease their anxieties. Having an item gives them comfort will in turn give them the confidence needed to take the day head-on.
Should the school not allow personal toys, you can leave your child with a piece of clothing, like a scarf, that they know belongs to you. It can also help to reinforce the understanding that you will come back for them.
At Parklands Children’s Academy, we know that the first day of school can be an emotional day for toddlers and parents. It is important to trust the teacher’s expertise and know that they have your child’s best interest at heart. This is why parents should not linger on the first day. Making drop-off quick and leaving even if your child is crying can be difficult, but it’s important to reinforce to them that their new routine and environment is okay and safe. This can seem cold, but trying to comfort your child and staying for extended periods can make adjusting for them more difficult. Experienced teachers will inform parents of any adjustment concerns they should be aware of.
Contact Parkland Children’s Academy today to find out more about our daycare curriculum and how it can benefit your child!