- Hand in all your paperwork prior to the first day. Whether we are talking childcare center, an in home daycare, the YMCA services, a new babysitter or private school; HELP by submitting a thorough child information form and other paperwork. Overall it helps those providing support and care to have an idea of your child, a peek into their personality or likes/dislikes, etc. Any good teacher or provider, will really look at this if you hand it in prior to your child coming to help them have a great first day! (Even down to a favorite snack or food item.)
- Make accommodations for the drop off time. For example, if it is usually 6 A.M. and all the other kids get there at that time, ask your teacher or provider if you can come 15-30 minutes earlier or later. This will allow the teacher or provider to have the other children settled and their day to begin, in return, giving him/her the ability to have the child’s undivided attention.
- Talk about it. Encourage your child to pack a back pack! Help them be excited about going to a new place, new friends and how much fun it will be! Leaving your precious one is hard, don’t make it harder on yourself by leaving a screaming child and wondering how long he/she cried. Your new program, teacher, and/or provider wants you to have a great first day back ALONG WITH your child, they really do care!
- Should crying occur. (As you know, is very common!) Keep it low key. If you panic or “baby it” they will only respond. It could be to pour it on thicker so you’ll feel bad and take them home. Or just respond to you and your emotions.(You’re upset, so they will be too.) It’s natural! To have that bond AND your child’s heart, it’s beautiful! A good program, provider and/or teacher doesn’t want to mess that up, only build it up. (That takes parents understanding and involvement too.) Perhaps offer your child a quick support cue, then divert their attention to a neat toy, a fun project, breakfast, or whatever is happening in the room. Say goodbye and head out. Most children do adapt quickly. Yes, sometimes it does depend on the teacher and provider too. Each deals with it as they see “best” for you and your child. ***Personally, I want the children to know mom/dad/ or caretaker is leaving, BUT they’ll be back. It builds that trust for the next time that guardian/parent leaves. It seems to greatly reduce the “sadness period” too. This isn’t because of me, it is usually because of good parents. ~A child maybe little, but from birth they learn and develop trust. Whether or not they even talk, they are watching. If they’re hungry, you feed them. If tired, you put them to bed, etc. When dropped off in a new setting, it’s hard for both sides, teachers/caretakers KNOW, CARE and UNDERSTAND this fact! They are there to help build up this trust you have already started.
- A personal item, toy or stuffed animal can also help. It can be packed in the bag or carried in. Now depending on the program, provider and/or teacher, this may be a violation of a “personal rule or policy”. It doesn’t hurt to ask though. Sometimes a simple squeeze of something from home is enough to help them continue their day.
Lastly, these seem simple. That is because we really do know what our children need. We know the things that help them have good days, or the things they really dislike-things we could possibly avoid. When utilizing these things we set a precedent, not just one day, perhaps how the whole school year will go… We want it the best, because that is the recipe for how our child will learn and develop the best!
Another thought, when looking at these points, if this does not describe your child’s current daycare, teacher, preschool, caretaker, etc. perhaps it is not the best option for your child. You and your child deserve the best. I understand sometimes options are limited, but also know you can tell or not if it’s a good fit for your child. Which, in return, will give your child every opportunity to grow and advance in his/her development at maximum capacity.