First day at daycare: 5 tips for a smooth transition!

The start of the new school year is almost here, and for many children (and parents) it can be an exciting, anxious and emotional time. I have spent all of January, for the last 11 years, helping parents and children settle into their new daycare room. To ensure a smooth transition and to make the situation as easy as possible, I have listed my top 5 tips for a less stressful first day.

  1. Pack your child’s comforter- bring every single one that you have if possible. For younger children this can mean a blanket, teddy, toy, dummy or all of the above. For older children you can pack a picture of the child’s family in their bag, write a note and place it in your child’s lunchbox, draw a smiley face on their hand to remind them of you, or think of something special to do that only you and your child share.
  2. Try to transition your child into care if time allows. Visit the centre with your child at playtime or a mealtime and sit with them while they are in their room. Encourage them to play with the other children while you sit back and watch. Try to make each visit a little longer than the one before.
  3. Don’t make their first day a long day. Children may start off the day fine and happy, but as the day progresses and other children start to be picked up from care, children can become quite anxious and start to fret. Separation anxiety is quite common at first and children need reassurance that mum or dad will be back soon to collect them.
  4. If you have older children it is beneficial to discuss what will be happening. Read stories about daycare, talk about daycare with your child, encourage them to talk about any fears they may have and try to get them to list some things that they are looking forward to.
  5. Know that every child is different. Some children will run into their new Centre and not look back. Others will cling on to your leg screaming. All good things take time, so it’s important that you as a parent stay as calm and collected as possible and allow your child the time they need to settle in to care. Show your child that you trust the staff by confidently handing your child over to them and saying goodbye.

At the end of the morning, when the kindy drop off is done, there is one thing you should know- no one will judge you if you need to sit in your car and cry- we’ve all been there and done that. You’ll be in good company- just turn your head and look at the car parked next to you ;)

Three happy children resting on the green grass

Three happy children resting on the green grass