One step that is often overlooked when transitioning childcare, is preparing your own child, the participant! When you plan to enroll your child in any form of care, it is crucial for everyone’s success (and sanity) to prepare ahead of time.
As a daycare provider, past nanny, previous camp counselor, and current mom, I see all of the angles needed to prep a little one for care in another location. Avoid a tough transition and plan ahead before the new schedule shift!
There are a few ways to help your child succeed. These ideas will also help you, and greatly help the caregiver or teacher.
Get on their schedule
Ask for a sample schedule 2-4 weeks (or more if possible) so that you can start mirroring meal and nap times at home. If your current schedule is drastically different, start adjusting times by 15 minutes each day until you get close to the school’s schedule. Put yourself in the school’s shoes. If ten children are enrolled and all on different schedules, it would be nearly impossible to have a structured day. If all ten children are on the same or similar schedule, things run much smoother.
Work with the staff
Childcare is an extension of your home and vice versa. The more that you work with the staff and their requests, the better. Yes, the staff are there to provide a service and care for your child. You drop your child off, pick them up and repeat the next day. There is so much more to it than that. Help the staff out to have a smooth day, and in return your child will have a smooth day too! Makes sense, right? Think of it this way. If you give the caregiver AND your child the tools needed excel, they will! Work with the caregiver as a team and your child will excel!
Hands down, more communication is better. Is your child teething? Did they learn something new? A new word? Have an off of night of sleep? When did they last eat? Passing any information that you can is a BIG important step! If you are rushed for time during drop off, send a text when you are on your way or even the night before.
Bottles for ages one and under
Try bottle feeding many days or weeks, not the day before! I have experienced this attempted transition, and it is not easy for the provider, and even worse for the infant because they get stressed and super “hangry”. No fun for anyone in this situation. I was faced with the reverse challenge when I returned to work from maternity leave. My son was with me 100%, and I could never find the time to pump, attempt a bottle, and when I tried, he would not take a bottle from me because he wanted to nurse. Each day closer and closer to going back to work I tried and tried but failed. Eventually with someone other than me, he took the bottle. Finally. I was on the verge of delaying my return to work because of the slow bottle transition.
Find the best fit for your family
You need to find a location that you feel confident to drop your child off, go about your day without worry, and return for pick up at the end of the day knowing that your child is in good hands. The whole idea behind childcare is that someone else will be caring for your child. You shouldn’t worry all day and check your phone for updates. Interview and tour several locations before finding the right one. Once you see a variety of set ups and teaching styles, you will be able to choose the best fit for your child.