Change is always difficult! Because we grow accustomed to a certain way of life, we find it hard to adapt to new circumstances. Because young children are new to feeling emotions, and to expressing their feelings, transitioning from home-based care into formal daycare is especially difficult. When discussing how to prepare your child to enter a new daycare such as the childcare in Rockville MD, early childhood educators have some advice.

Make it About Them

When it comes to organizing childcare routines, as adults, we often look at things from our perspective: When should I drop them off? How early should I get off work to pick them up? I’d better make alternate arrangements for pickup on Thursdays, because I work late one day of the week. 

It’s admirable that, as parents and caregivers, we’re proactive about getting ourselves organized. But what about the child? After all, this is an important milestone for them too – and one would argue, it should only be about them! If dealing with the new reality of daycare is hard on us adults, think how much more anxiety-filled it is for the youngsters?

When you plan your child’s enrollment into a Rockville daycare center, it helps to make the child the center of those plans. That might sound like a novel idea because, after all, it’s you who is doing all the planning. So, shouldn’t those plans revolve around you? No, say the experts, and they have some tips to help you through the process.

It Begins Before the First Day

The plans begin even before the first day of formal daycare. Here’s what you should do a week or so prior:

1. Acclimatize your child to his/her new environment by visiting the center – on more than one occasion – prior to the first day of formal care. Let them meet the caregivers and assistants, and also see how child care in Rockville, MD works. They’ll feel at ease when they see other kids in the same setting.

2. Talk to the child throughout your visits, and explain what’s happening there, and what will occur as they transition into that same world in a few days.

3. Obviously, the transition from 100% homecare into formal daycare requires schedule and ritual changes. Start implementing those changes – early to bed, early to rise; limiting pre-bed-time play and screen time etc. – well in advance of “D Day”.

On the first day they attend a Rockville daycare center, you’ll find implementing those 3 things will make the transition less stressful for you and your child. 

Wade In…Don’t Rush!

Change requires time! Don’t begin full-time daycare right from day 1. Instead, work with center staff to gradually ease the child into the new environment. And, as you increase the time they spend there, you too should decrease the amount of time the child sees you around. 

It might be a good idea to talk with the provider of child care in Rockville, MD, and ask if you can send a familiar item – stuffed toy, comfort blanket, family picture – with the child.  Also, to comfort the child during those first days, talk to them several times (before you drop them off, and after you pick them up) and explain the day’s schedule and the new routines they should now expect.