You have picked out your daycare (or maybe you still are looking) and the time has come that you will be making quite possibly one of the many “first” with your newborn.
Your Child’s First Day of Daycare
From experience, it isn’t easy. I’ve had to make the first drop off twice now. Many emotions are running through you as you leave your child with people you barely know. For the most part, nervs are taking over yourself.
You are hoping that you remember everything that your daycare provider needs on a daily basis: diapers, wipes, two sometimes three changes of clothes, a blanket, something to remind your child of home, breast milk or formula, and whatever else they want you to bring.
It’s difficult; you are wondering how your child will react to when you leave them alone with this person they don’t know for an entire day. You are wondering if all they are going to do is cry the whole day, and what is your boss going to think that you are an emotional wreck upon returning to work for the first time in weeks maybe months.
Daycare providers work with new parents all of the time to help make it easier not just for you but your child as well. Remember you aren’t the first parent to drop their child off at daycare.
In the end, the daycare you choose is going to be there to help you and your child through this challenging process.
But if you are still uncertain about this new part of your child’s life, there are some things that you can do to help make the transition to daycare more comfortable for your child.
Prepare The Night Before
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Make sure that you have all of the paper you need and everything that your child needs to succeed in their new setting. Your daycare provider will provide you a list of everything that they need to take care of your child. You can always ask if there is something that helps ease the first day.
Your child’s first day of daycare is not only a big moment for your child, but it is a big moment for you as well. To your child, you are leaving them with a person they don’t know after being in your care for the last weeks and months. To a child, the only way that they can show their emotion, desires, and needs is to cry. It might not happen on the first day, but it will happen at some point while you are dropping your child off.
The best way to handle this might seem the cruelest, you just have to drop them off and leave. Lingering to help soothe your child is going to make it worse when you do leave. Make sure that you let your provider know that you are not trying to be mean but trying to make it easier for them.
Don’t do this on the first day though, let them know that they are going to be OK and give them hugs and kisses so that they know everything will be alright.
Help Them Take Ownership
If your child is older, help them understand that this new daycare is something they can call their own. Let them pick out what clothes they will wear on the first day, what blankets to bring, and what stuffed animals to help them nap.
Talk About It
Again with an older child let them know that they are going to be starting somewhere new. Build it up and let them know that they are going to make some great friends and learn some new things. Give them the opportunity to tell you their feelings about that first day and help them overcome any fears that they may have.
Help Calm Them
This is going to be if you have an older child starting a new daycare and it might sound obvious. But calm them as you drive or walk to the center. Point out landmarks and things that are familiar to them. We started our oldest a new daycare at about 4 or 5, and his dropoffs were a lot better as my wife pointed out things that he could always recognize.
Children Are Resilient
If you are a new parent, one thing that you are going to learn quickly is your child’s ability to bounce back from whatever is thrown their way. It will feel like at times that your child will not get through crying when you drop them off but eventually they will get over it and see just how much fun their new daycare is. If it becomes too big of an issue you are going to want to talk to your daycare provider, but eventually a couple of weeks to a month down the road they are going to get through it. At which time you are going to wonder why you were worried about it all in the first place.