Leaving a child at Jewish daycare for the first time is a big step for any parent, but it’s important to remember that it represents a significant change in the child’s life too. Since they were born, you have most probably been ever present in their life, and from the moment you enrol them in a childcare program, that all starts to change. While many children adapt to their new surroundings with relative ease and cope admirably without you around, some children become extremely anxious about this “separation.” Many parents are dependent on childcare in order to return to the workplace, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stop worrying about this transition. To help both you and your child deal with this change, we’ve put together some of our top tips in this post based on our years of experience of working with parents in Thornhill, Mississauga, Maple and Vaughan. We hope you find them useful!
Our Top Tips to Help You and Your Child Adjust to Life at a Jewish Daycare Centre
Tears, tantrums and emotional goodbyes, we’ve seen it all since we started offering a Jewish daycare program for parents with young children in the area. Below you’ll find our top tips to make the transition into daycare as trouble-free as possible for both you and your child.
Preparing Your Child Well Ahead of Time
You should always give yourself plenty of time to find the best Jewish daycare facility for your needs, closely examining each option before making a decision. However, you can start preparing your child for life at daycare a long time before this decision is made simply by getting them used to spending time with other carers without you being present. This can be as simple as leaving them in the presence of family members or trusted friends once or twice per week. By the time they start daycare, they will be used to experiencing a range of different surroundings and carers, making the change seem far less drastic.
Get Them Used to the Daycare Centre Gradually
Taking your child to Jewish daycare for the first time and leaving them after a couple of minutes will likely prove an unnerving experience for them. Instead, you should try to “ease” them into their new schedule by starting off with just a couple of short visits to the daycare facility per week with either mum or dad present during the session. As they start to feel more comfortable, gradually increase the number of visits per week and then start to decrease the amount of time you stay for, until eventually you just drop them off. After a few weeks they will have likely made some friends and will probably hardly notice when you leave!
While a conversation with a 2 or 3 year old might not be as rational as an adult conversation, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your child doesn’t need to be reassured when starting Jewish daycare. Clear communication with your child plays a key role in helping them settle. Leading up to their first day, talk to them about the centre, their new routine and what to expect. If you don’t have the luxury of gradually easing them into daycare as we mentioned in the last point (your own work schedule may make this impossible), let them know when you will be leaving and when you will return to pick them up. Make sure you then do just that, as staying longer than you said you would, or arriving late to collect them can make your child anxious as it gives them mixed messages. It’s also important that you talk to your child’s carers about any special requirements they have in addition to asking for updates with regards to settling in. Simply by developing a good relationship with the care provider you are demonstrating to your child that this is a person that can be trusted. Additionally, members of staff at a Jewish daycare centre may be able to offer additional advice that can make the transition easier on everyone involved.
Using “Transition Objects”
New setting, lots of new people; it can all get a bit overwhelming for a young child. Transition objects help to “level the playing field” by offering a little bit of familiarity. By transition objects we are referring to either a favourite toy or another object that reminds them of home, such as a picture. This can really help to calm your child and make them feel safer while at Jewish daycare.
For more tips on how you can prepare your child for their first day at Jewish daycare, or to ask our team about the services that we provide to parents in Thornhill, Mississauga, Maple and Vaughan, simply pick up the phone and give us a call today.