We understand that starting an early learning child care can be a nervous time for children and their families and we aim to make this a smooth, exciting and rewarding time.
As a mum of a 2 ½ year old boy, there are days when he does not want me to leave and cries his eyes out and it is heartbreaking, all the typical things run through my head, including am I doing the right thing leaving him to go to work? And before I can get to the front gate I look back and he is playing and laughing. This happens to so many children and is a normal part of development in babies and toddlers.
Some children become upset when their parent/guardian leaves them at the early learning child care centre, this quite normal, especially when first beginning care or when there are changes at the centre or at home. Separation anxiety usually disappears as the child becomes more familiar with their surroundings and their educators, and as children get to Preschool they are less likely to have separation anxiety, although there will always be days where they just want to be with you (by the time they are teenagers and don’t want much to do with us, we will look back on this time, remembering how loved and needed we felt).
There are also the days (more often than not) when I go to pick him up so excited to see his little face and he is having far too much fun and doesn’t want to come home with me! Again, totally normal – I hope 😊 –
We try and make this process as joyous and relaxed as we can for families, here are some tips to help you and your child settle into care:
- Try to spend time with your child on their first day and ensure it isn’t rushed.
- Where possible try to make their first day a shorter day.
- Before starting care and education, talk to your child about:
– Where they will be going to learn and play
– Why they are going to the centre and what they will do there
– Who they will meet, new friends, teachers and animal friends
- Answer your child’s questions openly and honestly and reassure them they will be fine
- Read some books about new experiences to prepare your child
- Drive or walk past, to show your child where they will be going to play on their first day
- Visit us with your child a number of times before you leave him or her there for the first time. This will give your child an opportunity to get to know the educators and surroundings (and see how much fun their new friends are having!)
- Send along items that will provide comfort if needed such as photos or a comfort item
- Show your child that you feel comfortable with their educators and ensure you always say goodbye, reminding your child that you will return and when. Resist the temptation to leave without telling them when your child is distracted
- Call throughout the day to check on how your child is going
- Spend time at the end of the day to find out about your child’s day and discuss this with your child when you get home.
Trust your instincts, on really unsettled days I will sit and read a book, play a little. Sometimes this helps sometimes it doesn’t. Just remember that if you need to leave and your child is unsettled, our Educators care about your child and will always let you know if they have not settled after you have left.