Monday, January 20, 2014

You've just started your child in a new creche. It's the first day however things go wrong and your child protests loudly when its' time for you to say good bye. Many children experience anxiety when starting a new childcare arrangement but there is plenty you can do to make the transition as stress free as possible for you and your child. Remember lots of patience and hugs are very important at this stage.

Here are a few tips:

Prepare your child by talking to them in advance, tell them where they will be going, what they will be doing.

Take your child to visit the creche or childcare center on a couple of occasions before you need to leave them for the first time.  Show your child where they will be going.  Answer any questions they may have openly and honestly reassuring them that everything is OK. Sometimes you can arrange to have a few short "trial" periods of 1, 2 or 3 hours before the first full day at creche.

Arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of time so that you can help your child to settle into an activity before you have to head off to work. They are less likely to protest your departure if they are having fun and involved with an activity.

If you feel it necessary, familiar objects such as a favourite stuffed animal or security blanket should be on hand. Your child may find it easier to adjust to a particular care situation having a favoured toy to hold when feeling anxious or upset.

Try and allocate enough time so you aren't rushing to sign in and settle your child into an activity.

Pay attention to your own body language when saying good bye to your child. If you're feeling uncertain about the new arrangement you could be conveying some of your own anxiety to your child. Try to leave the rush hour mentality at the door

Resist the temptation to sneak out the door while your child isn't looking. You'll simply create more problems for both of you. Fearing that you're going to disappear again, your child may become unwilling to let you out of sight for a minute, even when you are at home.

If your child reacts strongly see if your partner or a trusted friend can drop the child off instead. They might actually be protesting your departure more than the particular childcare environment.

If you feel there is a problem of any sort you should ask your child's creche or center if they can provide insights. For instance maybe the child doesn't like one of the other children in the group or is having difficulty settling down for an afternoon nap!

Consistency is important so stick to a routine. Avoid making other changes to your child's routine while getting used to a new childcare arrangement. For example this would not be a ideal time to move them from a cot to a bed.

Accept the fact that it takes time for young children to adjust to a new childcare setting and some children take longer than others.

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