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How Can I Help My Child Adjust To Daycare?

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Question: How Can I Help My Child Adjust To Daycare?
Whether it's a first-time daycare experience, having a child start daycare after being off for an extended time (such as summer or holiday break), or even "graduating" to an older class or new caregiver, kids (and adults too) can get the daycare blues.

What can parents do to ease a child's anxiety about daycare?

Answer: Parents and children will both need adjustment time to a new daycare. Even if your child is excited to begin attending the new arrangement, he or she will still experience some normal nervousness and anxiety as to what to aspect. These tips can help to minimize the adjustment period for you both.

    1) Learn as much about the facility and its schedule in advance. Discuss with your child what he will be doing, and in what order, if possible.

    2) Express confidence and enthusiasm about the new arrangement. She needs your support. Tell her about some of the activities she will be participating in. Speak about your positive expectations about the experience--and she will most likely work hard to meet them.

    3) Tour the center and the specific classroom with your child before his first day. Introduce him to friends and teachers. Let him explore some of the centers or features.

    4) Prepare in advance by establishing a structure that will be followed once your child starts attending this center. Determine a bedtime routine, and be sure to allow enough time in the morning for a good breakfast. A familiar routine helps to establish a positive experience for all.

    5) Plan to remain with your child when she first arrives. This will provide some needed reassurance and support. You'll know when the time is right for you to leave. With some children, the first day is the only time staying in the classroom is necessary. With others, you may need to remain with your child for a few days...or even longer. Eventually, she'll be familiar with the new setting and routine and will be too busy to notice your presence!
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