Settling your Child into Child Care or Kindy
As a Parent it can be scary to even think about leaving your most prized possession in the care of Educator’s at a Child Care or Kindergarten for the first time. As a mother of two children and Owner of 3 Early Education and care Centre’s I have written some tips to make the transition from home to care easier for you, your child and the Educator’s at your new Centre.
Once you decide to use Child Care, whether it be for respite, work commitments, education or socialisation for your child be sure to do your research. Visit as many Centre’s as you can until one feels right. It is important that your Centre’s Vision, Philosophy and Mission statement align with your family wants, needs and beliefs.
You can arrive at a Centre unannounced and should not be turned away, but if you don’t have an appointment and the Director is not there or available there may not be anyone to show you around and answer your questions. Or it may be a rushed visit. It is not ok for an Educator to take time away from being with the children to show you around. Making an appointment will mean that there is a specific person available to give you the time and information you require.
When you find a Centre where you feel your parenting will be supported and your child will be nurtured, loved and Educated in a stimulating environment, invest time to get to know the Management team, Governance ( who owns/ operates the Centre), Lead Educator and Educators of your Child’s room. Ask as many questions as you need to feel you understand who will be caring for your child and who you can go to for support.
7 TOP TIPS for SETTLING your Child into Care
1. If your child is old enough talk about how exciting it is that they will be going off to ‘school’ to play with friends and do lots of fun things like painting, role play, (whatever interests them- you can almost guarantee all activities you know of are done at Child Care). Talk about the Educators names you know will be in the room
2. Always be positive and calm when dropping your child off. If you feel unsure or nervous your child will sense this and feel the same way. Remember you are feeling confident about your decision to leave your child in the place you have chosen. The happier you can be the easier your child will settle
3. Bring your child for 1-3 visits whilst you stay with them. If your child is happy to go and join the group just sit back and be there for when they look around. This gives them a sense of familiarity of the environment without the separation
4. Ensure you bring your child’s comforter, whether it be a teddy, dummy etc. Also provide the Educators with as much information you can about your child’s likes and dislikes, routines etc.
5. On the first day of dropping your child off, I have found in my many years of experience that the “drop and go” method is best for everyone. It is like ripping off a bandaid. The slower the more it hurts. If your child is going to cry when you leave/ separate from them then whether you stay 1 minute or 30 minutes it will not matter. I always suggest to parents that they settle their child into an activity that interests them. Then an educator will engage with your child and the activity and if needs be they will take your child for a cuddle/ distraction. This has the added benefit of building a trusting relationship between your child and the educator so they know that they are safe, loved and ok without you
6 Our Child care Centre’s send a picture of your child once they settle. Ask the Centre you choose to do this for you. It will make you feel better seeing them happy. It is also great for your child as they get to look at the photo of themselves and help send to mummy and daddy
7. If you can, it’s wise to pick them up early on their first day or two. This will make their settling in feel a little less overwhelming. On pick-up be positive and excited about the great day they have had at their new special place and encourage them to share what they did and who they met
Lastly enjoy whatever it is you are doing whilst your child is in care and don’t be afraid to talk to your Educator’s/ Management if you have any queries. You should always feel comfortable and able to approach them and know your questions and concerns are valid and will be heard.