child at child care provider location

Making the Transition to Child Care

With a little planning, the transition to child care or to a new caregiver can go smoothly. Here are some ideas to help prepare you and your child for this step. Your caregiver may also have suggestions.

SHOW THAT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR CHOICE.

Even young children can sense when a parent is anxious. Be positive and confident about the new caregiver.

TALK WITH YOUR CHILD.

Talk with your child about what he/she will do at the new program for example, an activity you observed, toys you saw when you visited or where lunch is served. For some children, engaging in play-acting about going to child care can help relieve anxiety and add to the excitement.

IF POSSIBLE, START GRADUALLY.

Visit the caregiver with your child - several times, if you can. If the caregiver is willing, allow your child to stay with the caregiver without you for short amounts of time.

ADJUST NAPTIME.

If possible, change your child's naptime in advance to match the new caregiver's routine.

TAKE A FAVORITE ITEM ALONG.

A blanket, a favorite photo or a treasured stuffed animal can be a comfort to your child during time away from you. It's a good idea to check with your caregiver first before bringing items.

MAKE DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP A HAPPY TIME.

If you build a familiar routine, your child knows what to expect when you leave and return. Allow enough time in the morning so that no one feels rushed. A special good-bye ritual can be reassuring to both of you. Never slip away without saying good-bye. Try to pick your child up at the same time every day.

DON'T FORGET TO TAKE CARE OF YOU.

Sometimes, a new child care arrangement is more difficult for parents than for children. Some parents find it reassuring to check in with the caregiver to see how things are going.