How do I make the transition into child care easier?

Some parents feel anxious about leaving their child in the care of a stranger and some children feel anxious about being in an unfamiliar environment. Know that the anxiety will lessen as you and your child adjust to child care. Preparing your child in advance will help make the transition smoother.

Here are some ways to help prepare your child for child care:

Before Beginning Child Care

  • Begin talking with your child about child care before he starts attending. Tell him about the things he will be doing and the people he will be meeting.
  • Take your child to visit the program before she begins attending on a regular basis. Allow time to meet the caregivers, play with the toys, and visit the playground. Stay with your child during this visit.
  • Find out what you are expected to bring to child care. Collect materials in advance, and label them with your child's name. Put everything in the car the night before so you don't have to worry about forgetting anything.
  • Learn about the child care provider's policy on bottles and pacifiers. If there are restrictions about when these items may be used, prepare your child by explaining the rules ahead of time.
  • If possible, make arrangements for your work day to be shorter on your child's first day in child care. You may need some extra time to get him settled once you arrive, and a shorter day for him may make the transition easier.
  • Communicate with your child's caregiver from the beginning. Be sure to tell the caregiver important information about your child's schedule, personality, and likes and dislikes. And be sure to listen to the information your caregiver tells you. Setting up good two-way communication from the beginning will lessen problems later on.
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