Between the separation from their parents to being forced into a new routine with new people, daycare can be one of the most stressful times in toddler-hood. The decision may be out of your hands, so it is equally as stressful for mom and dad. Helping your child adjust to daycare starts with you.
4 Ways To Adjust Your Toddler To Daycare:
- Make sure you are comfortable. It is important for you to do your research ahead of time and make a sound decision based on your own feelings. Do plenty of meet and greets and tour a handful of facilities until you find one that meets your specific needs. Ask questions and bring a notebook to jot down anything you see or hear during each tour. The more comfortable you are with your decision, the more comfortable your toddler will be. Your child can potentially feel your nerves on edge if you aren’t 100% sure about your decision. They won’t understand the “why” and may also be uneasy, causing a rough transition.
- Talk to your child. It is important to tell your child about the upcoming changes that are going to happen. Children thrive on routine. They need time to prepare for changes to their routine, just as adults. Unlike adults, they don’t need much time to prepare. Talk to your toddler a few days leading up to their change in schedule. It is helpful if your child has met their new caregiver or other children at the facility. The night before the big day you can then tell your child that they will be going to see their new playmates and teacher in the morning.
- Say goodbye. It may seem easier to just sneak off when your child is occupied, sparing everyone of the possible breakdown and tears. The problem with this is what happens once you leave. Your child will eventually notice that you are gone and will likely feel hurt that you left without saying goodbye. The trust that your child has for you can even be broken. Your best practice should be to give your child a quick hug and kiss, letting them know that you will be back later. Try to remain upbeat and happy, even if your heart is breaking on the inside.
- Bring a piece of home to daycare. Having a transitional object from home can be extremely helpful in getting your toddler to adjust to daycare. A transitional object can bring the feeling of the security and comfort of home to daycare. It may make the transition easier if your child has a favorite stuffed toy or blanket with them each day. Another suggestion might be a favorite book or a family picture. Having a piece of home at daycare can lessen your child’s stress and help them get comfortable and adjust to their new surroundings.
When it came do daycare for Aidan, I knew I had to find one that would provide the personalized care that he would need. As an ex-preemie, he was extrasensory and it was important for me to be sure that he would be within his comfort zone each day. We shopped around and ultimately decided on a home daycare. I checked with the daycare ahead of time and found that the kids all slept on nap mats, which were provided. I also found out that I would be allowed to bring my own mat cover for him to use. I selected an Embellish Kids Kinder Nap Mat Cover. I loved the fun print and especially loved the fact that the pillow was included, and removable for washing. It really seemed like a lot of thought went into the design.
I let Aidan sleep with it during nap time at home leading up until D-Day (Daycare Day!) The fabric used is so soft, he had no trouble getting comfortable. When it came down to it, I think I was more upset about dropping him off than he was! One lucky reader will win a $30 gift certificate to purchase their toddler an Embellish Kids Kinder Nap Mat of their own!
What ways did you use to adjust your toddler to daycare?