We know that childcare has plenty of benefits for children - from learning and growing physically, emotionally and academically, to building relationships and forming an understanding of social cues and much more. While the benefits are known, it’s also recognised as a difficult transition period for parents and children alike when first entering into childcare.
For a child, entering a new and unfamiliar environment surrounded by strangers can be daunting. For parents, there are often feelings of guilt and separation. In order to make the transition into childcare easier on yourself and your child, your child must first be prepared for it. The best way to prepare your child is to communicate with them and help them to understand the concept of childcare and what they can expect to experience from it.
Below are some ideas for how you can introduce childcare to your child before they begin.
Have Meaningful Conversations
Start by introducing the idea of childcare to your little one in conversation. You can try explaining why people go to different places during the day - adults go to work, older children go to school to learn, and children go to childcare. Talk about families coming together every afternoon and on weekends. You should also talk to your child about what they might do and see at childcare - making friends, going on excursions, learning about gardening etc. This will hopefully help them to become familiar with the concept of childcare and even develop a level of excitement for it.
Help your child prepare by taking them to purchase a water bottle and lunchbox. By involving them in this experience and allowing them to choose their own items, they will hopefully be excited to use the lunchbox and bottle while at childcare. In the lead up to officially starting at a centre, you should do a few trial days where you pack the lunchbox together and then go out for a picnic.
Make The Most Of Storytime
Children love stories, so it’s a great way to introduce positive concepts of childcare through a book. Some of our recommendations include ‘Adam’s Daycare’ by Julie Ovenell-Carter, ‘Maisy Goes To Preschool’ by Lucy Cousins and ‘Kindergarten, Here I Come!’ by D.J. Steinberg.
These stories all introduce childcare themes and milestones in a fun, exciting and visual way for your child. The beautiful illustrations are an added bonus!
Give Control To Your Child
By handing over a certain level of control to your child, it can help them to feel more accepting of some of the things which are out of their control. By allowing your child to pick their outfit for the day, which toy to bring, which hat to wear or which fruit to pack for morning tea, your child can feel empowered and in control of the day ahead.
Attend Stay & Play Sessions
This one we cannot stress the importance of enough! The best way to get your child comfortable with childcare is to actually take them into childcare and help them to get settled in the environment. Most childcare centres provide free Stay & Play sessions, which you can use in the lead up to your start date.
By attending these sessions, you can introduce your child to the centre they will be attending, get them familiar with the educators in their classroom, and even start to form friendships with the other children at the centre. They will also have time in these sessions to become familiar with some of the activities and schedule that they will be experiencing when they start.
For more information, or to book a free Stay & Play session at any Lifelong Learning Centre in Australia, call 1800 CHILD CARE
or find your nearest centre
to get in touch directly. We would love to welcome you and your little one to our centre!