It is important to take the time to separate from your child and we always encourage our parents to spend time in the centre before their child transitions fully.
All children take different lengths of time to get used to that separation and this can be different with every child. Take notice of the tears and ask a teacher for guidance if you are unsure. For the first few weeks don’t expect to be able to drop and run. Even after a few months there may be days when your child will suddenly not want you to drop and run, but spend some time until they are comfortable. The teachers may also want to share with you how well your child is settling and what they are achieving in their new environment.
How to settle your child into childcare
You maybe feeling a little worried about leaving your child for the first time and how they might settle. Here are some tips to support your child’s successful transition to centre life.
Before your child’s official start we encourage you to spend some time in the centre together, to help your child become familiar with the sights, sounds, smells, toys and faces. This also helps your child to start to build some relationships with other children and become familiar with teachers.
We usually recommend at least 3 visits with your child, leading up to the start date.
When you go to the centre for a visit, teachers will encourage you to join in with the programme. If your child sees you happy in the centre they are more likely to feel settled. Children can often detect if parents are anxious so make yourself at home and join in with any activities that are happening.
We will ask you questions to find out your child’s personal preferences in regard to routines, foods, toileting, how they like to be soothed and how they ask for and accept affection. Other things teachers will talk with you about might be what your child does at home, what are their interests, who are in their family, what languages they speak, what is their cultural heritage, what are their favorite stories and do they have any special toys that they have for comfort. Not only does this help settle your child but it helps us develop an individual learning programme for them.
One way to reassure your child is to talk about the teachers they are going to see at the centre. Talk with them about the teacher that was at the paint table, sand pit and so on to help your child become familiar with the new faces and names,
Teachers may make a book with photos about your child’s first day so you can go over this with your child and familiarise them.
Leaving your child
When you leave your child on their own at the centre they may become distressed, this can often happen on the third time they attend. This is a normal response to separation and should change over the following week or two depending on how frequently your child is attending.
Steps to settling your child in
Step 1. When you arrive together ask what activity your child wants to start with. Be direct. Let your child know what is coming up. One of our teacher’s tips is to talk to your child about who they might play with when they get to the centre. It helps your child focus on where they are going and what they might do.
Step 2. Ask your child who they would like to look after them when you go. This helps your child know you also trust this person and that you know they will be able to comfort your child. Warn that teacher that they are the ‘chosen’ one!
Step 3. You must say goodbye to your child and reassure them you will return. Yes, the first few times you may have to peel them from your leg, but give them a hug and kiss and walk out. Don’t look back. You know your child will be safe and in minutes will be settled in an activity.
Our professional teachers are skilled at comforting and reassuring children. They will acknowledge your child’s feelings by providing them with reassuring words such as “I will keep you safe and play with you until dad/mum comes back to get you after lunch. I will be here when you need me.” We will talk to your child about all the things they can do and introduce them to other children. We will wait for your child’s cue as to when they are ready to explore the centre. Be assured, one of us will stay within the range of your child for the first hour of your child arriving so that we are on call if your child needs reassuring.
Please feel free to ring us to check on how your child settled after you left, and be assured that if your child does not settle we will call and let you know. At the end of the day we will share with you how the day went and ask you any questions that they may need to know to support your child further.
If you have any questions or would like help settling in do ask us. We’ve seen it all before and look forward to settling your child in so that they love coming to our centre and beginning their learning journey.