Sending a child off to day care is never easy, especially when the child is very young and might not understand what's going on. Children can adjust quickly, but the actual adjustment period can be kind of rough if you don't help the kid out. Follow these tips to help your child make a smoother transition from being at home to being in a child care center.
All Required Vaccinations
This may sound like less of an adjustment tip and more of an obvious reminder, but it's essential to helping your child make a smooth transition. Get all of the vaccinations required by your state before sending the child to day care. Because there may be children there whose parents have tried not to immunize, or there may be children there who for health reasons (like immune system disorders) can't get immunized safely, your child's vaccinations will help prevent him or her from picking up any diseases the unvaccinated children may have been exposed to -- and your child's vaccinated status will help protect those kids who can't be vaccinated for whatever reason.
Think about it. If you send your child to day care, and he or she comes down with a serious illness like mumps, your child could associate the day care with being sick. You don't want that -- you want your child to associate day care with fun and friends.
If your child is able to understand you when you talk (he or she isn't an infant, etc.), let him or her know what would happen on a normal day at the child care center. You could try driving the child around the area where the center is located, or even bring the child in for a sample day, if the center allows it. Sometimes, day care center teachers might be willing to come to your house to meet the child in familiar surroundings; if that's an option, take it. Make the child aware that the teacher is a friend.
Older kids can generally handle being dropped off at a new center, but younger kids could pitch a fit if you're not there. Come into the child care center with the child and help him or her get ready -- taking coats off, getting a tour of the center, seeing where the child will sit and going over there with the child. Let the child know when you're leaving and give him or her a definite time by which you'll be back (and stick to that time, so watch out for traffic that day). Do this for a few days until the child seems calm as you enter the day care facility.
Eventually, your child will find friends there and adjust to the fact that days are now going to be spent at the center. The center staff will have more tips, so call them now so you can start everything rolling.