When maternity leaves of a mother come to an end, the toughest decision that parents needs to make is of sending their child to a Daycare. With increasing number of families with both parents working & living in a nuclear setup, daycares have become a need for most families. Finding a perfect daycare that fits all needs of you and your child is a big task. Even if you find the perfect daycare which fulfills all your criteria, the biggest battle is still to be won. The battle of ‘Separation Anxiety.’
If your child is less than 8 months old when you are starting with the daycare, you don’t have much to worry when it comes to separation anxiety. Kids till that age do not feel attachment, thus a new environment or new caregivers don’t bother them much.
The toughest time, when the stranger & separation anxiety is at the peak is around 18 months. It would be comparatively more difficult to transition toddlers into a daycare.
The following tips can help you in such case.
1. Talk to your child – Start talking to your child few months before the actual daycare starts, even if your baby is young to understand it, it will still help. Get them excited about the new place, new friends, new toys & caregivers. Talk to them about all the positives associated with daycare. Do not mention or emphasize on the fact that they will be away from home or parents.
2. Read relevant stories – There are a lot of books available about kids going to school or kids going to daycare. Read those stories to the baby to make them understand that ultimately all kids have to go through this phase. If you cannot find such books, you can tell them made up stories & examples of other kids in family of friend circle who are in daycare.
3. Visit the daycare together a few times – Once you have decided upon the daycare, visit there a few times along with the baby before the actual daily routine begins. Talk to the staff in a friendly manner in front of the baby to make them comfortable with the new faces. If they permit, do a few activities or read a book with the baby to make them comfortable with the new surroundings. For the first few days, be there to make baby feel secure.
4. Use comforting objects for transitioning – My daughter has a Mickey Mouse soft toy that she has always been attached to. When she started with her daycare, I started to send that toy with her the first few days. That made her feel a little more comfortable in a totally new environment. Any such object can be sent along with the baby for their comfort for initial days.
5. Don’t let your emotions slow – It is a difficult phase to transition not just for the child, but also for parents. But don’t let those emotions show in front of the baby. While you talk about daycare or go to drop the baby do not get overwhelmed in front of the baby. Keep smiling & encouraging the baby.
6. Don’t sneak away – The initial few days baby will cry. But NEVER sneak away behind their back. Say a good bye & then leave. Assure them you will ALWAYS come back.
7. Make a ritual – Make a fun morning good bye ritual just for you and your baby. Share about your day when you pick them up in evening. Dress up in color coordinated dresses, have some treats on the way back home. Do something fun during the time you are together for the baby to look forward to every evening.
–Shalu Sharma Rathod–
EECE Expert, ProEves