The first day of daycare is a milestone! It's equally exciting and overwhelming, and we can all agree that a bit of extra planning could come in handy.
Those are our five tips for a smooth transition for both you and your baby.
Source: Today’s Parent
Most daycare centers allow a tour before your baby's official starting date. Whether your little one is two years old, six months, or less, it's a good idea to take him to visit the place he's going to be spending half of his day from now on beforehand. If possible, stay the morning and let him meet the teachers, get acquainted with the other kids, and play with the toys. This small effort will support the smooth transition you're working towards.
Team up with the teachers
You know your baby better than anyone, so if you expect him to burst out crying on the first day, communicate that with the teachers and devise a coping strategy.
Moreover, guide them into your child's personality - tell them what makes him happy, what might upset him, the activities he enjoys, the foods he likes and dislikes, etc. Fill out a health journal with all your child's health characteristics, allergies, vaccination status, and anything else needed. Team up to deliver the best experience for your little one.
Get a big bag
Now, this is a must! No matter if your baby is higher or lower in age, you will need an adult-size backpack to fit all necessities for each day of daycare.
Opt for a water-resistant option with a wide top and lots of compartments that will allow you to store everything at once, making it easy both for you and the teachers.
Pack all the necessities
And talking about the necessities... Ask the teachers for a list of required items that will make packing easier and confusion-free. Such lists usually consist of two sets of extra clothes, diapers, a diaper cream, wet wipes, a crib sheet, a blanket, a pacifier, and a little toy your baby goes to bed with.
Even if food is provided, snacks are also part of some daycare centers' lists, so you might want to include a few pouches and bars your baby can have just in case he refuses to eat what's on the menu.
Also, another pro tip is to label everything you bring from home. In this way, you will ensure that nothing gets lost.
Name Labels for Kids
Show good attitude
Last but not least, show a good attitude. Express positive emotion when talking about daycare with your little one. Show excitement and if he is old enough to understand, give him examples of all the fun activities he will do while at the center.
You know that kids often mirror their parents' behavior, so make sure he has a good example to follow.
And something to consider - don’t be afraid to say your goodbyes. Don’t sneak out, give a kiss and calmly explain that you will return later instead. As a parent, you need to set boundaries and it is important to be clear with your child about what's about to happen. Sneaking out may traumatize your little one into thinking you ’t come back while saying: “I am leaving now, you will be here, and I will come back for you later” will set the right expectations, even if your kid’s too young to know exactly what you are saying.
...It can take a while for him and for you to adjust to the new routine, but do prep well, trust the teachers and the process, and take it day by day.
Soon enough, everything will fall into place!