Transitioning from home to daycare

Putting your child into a daycare or preschool or Montessori school for the first time is difficult for many parents. Parents don’t usually know what to expect. Here are some things you should know before your child starts to help to make that transition go smoothly. 

Book a Tour and Choosing a Centre 

It is extremely important to book a tour of the daycares you are interested in.   We ask parents to take a tour of our daycare centre & Montessori school in order to answer any questions they may have and walk you through the daycare facility so that you feel comfortable with your choice. During the tour, it is recommended that you bring your child as well and see your child’s initial reaction to their first daycare environment.  

A workday is long enough but add in the drop-off and pick up from daycare onto either end of your commute and you’re sure to be completely exhausted by the time you get home. Depending on your work schedule, family support, and lifestyle, there can be pros and cons to choosing a daycare close to home or close to work.  

The convenience of having a daycare centre near home can lend to a lot of flexibility for a family. Either parent could drop off or pick up the children regardless of how far away or in which direction they work. It also means that you won’t be stuck entertaining a sleepy or hungry child for the duration of your long commute.  

Some parents choose childcare close to their office – especially if they tend to work long days and can’t make it back in time for pickup times. The shorter the time to your place of work, the less time your child will spend at daycare, and the less likely that you will be speeding to get to pick-up before closing time. Additionally, spending time with your child during the commute can also be a valuable bonding time to share stories of your day and listen to music or audiobooks together.   

Transitions Days and Separation Anxiety 

Most daycares offer transition days so that you and your child may visit the classroom and get to know the teachers and see the routine of the day unfold. This is a great opportunity for your child to build a relationship with the teacher as well as an opportunity for the parent to get more comfortable with the teachers. Transition together. Most childcare centres have a transition period to some degree. Take advantage of it. This will help you and your child to feel comfortable while they explore the new environment.  

Be honest with them about what to expect during their time there. Give them examples like, when you get to school you will see Ms. Jones, then you will play inside with the toys, then you will go outside on the playground, have lunch, a nap and finally you will have another snack before I pick you up. Setting realistic timelines for your child will help them understand their day and when to expect you. 

It will be difficult for both you and your child to separate when your child first attends daycare or preschool. Parents need to know that this is completely normal! It’s usually a good sign when your child is upset because they don’t get to spend more time with you. However, it’s important to realize that separating is an important step in the growth of the child. It helps them to learn independence and social skills when they are able to function in a new environment on their own. In most cases, the separation anxiety period only lasts a few days or a few weeks for some children until they adjust to the new environment. During this adjustment period, it is recommended that you stay positive with your child and support them to help them grow. 

When driving by the childcare centre, point it out to your child. Remind them that they will be going to SimplySmart Childcare and provide them with days. You can say, in two days you will get to go and see Ms. Jones. It is important to speak fondly of the teacher and the childcare. 

Lastly, but almost the most important is that you say a quick and confident goodbye to your child. Saying goodbye with confidence shows your child that they are safe. Most children will stop crying shortly after their parents leave. If you are concerned, you can also call the centre and find out how they are doing. 

Things to expect while in care 

Teachers do their very best to keep  kids’ play  safe and positive and to have all children be the best of friends. But, falls and scrapes do happen. Just like they do at your house. At a licensed daycare or preschool, teachers are required to report any incident that results in an injury, even if it is minor, to you in writing. 

In Ontario, all children attending a licensed daycare or preschool program must be immunized according to the local municipality requirements. If your child is not immunized, you must submit a valid reason for this which may be a doctor’s recommendation or personal/religious belief. 

Keep in mind your child will be at the daycare for long hours and will require a lot of things. Some key things to bring: one set of extra clothes, indoor and outdoor attire (always check the weather), a sippy cup (or two), a blanket, diapers, wipes, and any diaper creams you think your child requires. Most childcare centres will offer 2 meals and a snack, so you do not have to worry about packing food. Sometimes your child is very attached to a certain toy or pacifier and we encourage you to bring it with you for the transition period so that your child has something familiar from home.  

 Be involved in your child’s time at Daycare 

Any quality daycare or preschool will welcome your involvement in the program. It is a great idea to participate as much as possible in the child’s experience at the daycare or preschool. Whether you are able to occasionally volunteer in the classroom or go on a field trip with the class or attend an event, it’s a great opportunity to get to know what your child is doing and get to know all the children and their teachers as well. 

It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your teachers throughout the day. Feel free to check up on your child during the transition period to keep your mind at ease during your workday. Most childcare’s will have an app that you can communicate through that includes photos and daily reports about your child’s day at daycare. We also encourage families to call and ask us questions at any time. 

Enrolling your child in a quality childcare facility is truly one of the best things that you can do for them. It is scary for you and them, but the experience they will have there is invaluable. Childcare teaches them sharing, patience, teamwork, empathy and so much more. It was always easy to stand in a kindergarten classroom and tell which children had been in childcare and which had not.  

Choosing your kid’s first daycare can be challenging but it prepares your child for the school system in different ways. It makes kids confident and not scared to leave their parents to go to school. It gives them a social experience that is difficult to provide at home. They make friends easier and know how to take turns. Kids who attend childcare or Montessori school know how to express themselves in healthy ways. Finding childcare is easy, finding childcare that aligns with your vision is rewarding.