How Teachers Can Make the First Day of Daycare Easier
Going from home to the first day of daycare for kids can seem like a pretty stressful thing, which is understandable. Most young children have never done it before and often aren’t sure what to expect. Even those accustomed to occasional transitions to new places can feel the strain of starting a new routine and being away from their parents at the same time.
The first day of daycare can put a lot of pressure on teachers to make not only the children but also the parents feel as comfortable as possible. According to the Health and Wellness Article on The Stress of Leaving Your Child at Day Care, Cherie Langlinais, a social worker says, “By decreasing the child’s anxiety, this will also decrease the parents’ level of anxiety. Parents should drop in when not expected to see how things are being run. They should also get to know the childcare team before dropping their child off at the daycare. Doing the investigative work of picking out the appropriate daycare will help to decrease any anxiety about a child not being able to remain in their family home where the environment is controlled. Again, this comes with time, knowledge of the facility, and how comfortable one is with daycare personnel,” Cherie recommends.
But, there’s no reason for teachers to be anxious about how the kids will do on that first day. We’ve put together helpful tips for a child care team that will make the transition from home to daycare easier for everyone on that first day.
Here are 10 tips to make the first day of daycare easier for children.
10 Tips for Teachers to Make Daycare Easier for Toddlers
Be Reassuring & Empathetic
As providers, it’s important that you show the parents you are just as concerned as they are. You’ll want to reassure them that you’re an expert in your field and guarantee a worry-free experience while their children are with you. Parents are putting so much trust in childcare experts to love their babies and help them grow and learn. Ease the parents’ worries by reassuring them that their child is in good hands.
Prepare The Entire Family With a Practice Run
Helping families transition into daycare for the first time can be a stressful experience for both parents and children. One way to ease any anxiety is to walk them through their drop-off routine. This is not an interview, but rather a meet-and-greet after the family has already gone through the enrollment process and decided on a daycare provider for their child. During this time, you can show them where they will enter, what to do with their belongings, how to sign their child in and where they should hand their child over to you.
Welcome The Parents With A Gift
Giving the family a small token to welcome them to your program will make your business stand out from the others. The first week of daycare can be extremely hectic for the children and parents, which can make this transition time more difficult. Showing them a little extra appreciation can make all the difference in a child’s first few days of daycare.
Give Students a Classroom Tour
For little ones who are more aware of their parent’s absence, setting the scene beforehand can make a big difference. Take the time to show them around the daycare to make them feel more “at home”. If they know how to navigate their new daycare, they’ll be more at ease and they’ll have an idea of what activities they’ll be participating in.
Create a Welcome To Daycare Pack
When the child is leaving, send them home with a special “Welcome to Daycare” gift. This helps them be excited about the first day of school. The packet could include a book that their parents can read to them, some pictures of the daycare and a sign they can hold up for a picture to get them excited to return!
Plan a First Day Craft Project
Make the first day memorable for both child and parents by setting up a first day of daycare craft project. Kids love being creative and using their imagination, so make sure you have simple and creative toys and projects.
Use Their Name as Often as You Can
Have cubbies, labels, class lists and name tags ready. When a child walks into your classroom, greeting them with personalized name tags, class lists and cubbies can make them feel welcome. A clever idea is to have them make their own name tags to make it extra personable.
Display Photos of the Children and Their Families
The first week of daycare can be a bit challenging for the little ones. To help them feel comfortable, ask parents to send photos that you can hang in the classroom for all to see.
Set Up a Welcome Area
Prepare a welcome mat! Put up a sign at the door that greets each family by name. Make a list of all the languages represented in your family program and have children write their own greetings.
Follow Each Child’s Individual Schedule
Try to be your most flexible during the first few weeks so that the new children get a chance to settle in and get comfortable with the classroom environment, teachers and other kids. You need to acknowledge any child’s anxiety about being away from their family for the first time. The kids are bound to feel a little out of place and sad after spending the day with his/her parents and now must stay in school.