First Day At Daycare

 In September, many children will be starting day care for the first time. This is a change for both children and parents. Staff and parents can work together to ease the transition to day care.

What to expect when your child starts day care for the first time:
No matter how old your child is, it's not easy to leave him/her in a new care situation. Children need time to feel comfortable in a new or different environment. It is normal for children to be upset for the first few days. As the new settings become familiar, children usually look forward to their day at the center.

How to ease the transition:

Arrange to visit the center with your child before he/she starts attending. You will need to set this up with the center director ahead of time. Stay for an hour or more so your child can become familiar with the center, other children and staff.

When you bring your child for his/her first full day at the center:

    * Tell him/her what time you will be back at the end of the day. Be sure to be on time.
    * Let staff know how you child's morning has gone so far, and
    * Make your good-bye as brief and cheerful as you can. If your child sees you are upset it will upset him/her too.

It is normal for children to cry when you leave. It is a good sign if he/she is happily playing when you return. However, if crying persists, speak to staff to find out what's happening and discuss possible solutions. Your child may be happier in a different group or with a different staff member.

After a few days if your child is still unhappy, it may be that group care in a day care setting does not suit your child. Some children are happy with lots of other children and adults, other children prefer to be with a smaller group. A setting with fewer people, such as a small center or family day home, may be better suited for your child.

Reference: Day Care Matters Newsletter. Alberta Family and Social Services.