We know starting your infant in childcare is a very trying time. You have a lot to do to prepare for that first day. Here are a few things that you may not think of!

  • As a licensed Child Care Center, we must obey Safe Sleep Practices. Please be sure you are putting your infant in a crib on their back to sleep at home. If you do this at least for naps, this will help their transition into child care.
  • If you are breast feeding, here are a few tips for a successful transition into child care. Please be sure that your infant has taken a bottle prior to their first day at school. You can provide the center with a shirt or small blanket you have slept with. This way the caregiver can hold your shirt or blanket that smells like you while they feed or soothe your infant.
  • You will also want to send unopened diapers and wipes to the center. The center will ask for a change of clothes, but it is best to have at least two outfits just in case.
  • At drop off be sure to tell the caregiver when they last ate, the last diaper change and how they slept the night before. This will help the caregiver tend to the needs of your infant.
  • If you have an older infant, they may get upset when you leave. It is okay, the caregiver will soothe them. I know it is very hard to watch your baby cry or be upset, but it is best to get into a drop off routine. Tell them you love them and that you will be back to get them soon. You should then go. It will be hard for you, but it will be easier for your infant. They often will feed off your emotions, which sometimes makes it harder on them. In my experience when you have a good drop off routine, they will transition more quickly.

Tips for Toddlers

  • To help your child get to know the new environment, visit the child care center with your child before the first day. You and your child can meet the caregiver and the other children.
  • To help prepare your young child to go to out-of-home care, explain using language and concepts they will understand where he’ll be going and what he’ll be doing. Talk about how they will meet new children and participate in fun activities. Always mention that you’ll be back at the end of the day to take him home.
  • Talk to the caregiver about your child’s cues, likes, dislikes and temperament. How does they like to be fed, soothed and put to sleep? Your tips will help the caregiver know how to best care for your child without having to guess which methods to try. You can also explain what developmental skills you’d like your child to learn.
  • Ask for daily updates about your child’s progress from the caregiver.
  • Find out if the center provides breakfast so you know whether your child needs to eat at home.
  • Create a goodbye ritual so that your infant or toddler starts to feel comfortable with their caregiver when you leave.  Routines help children feel in control of their surroundings, which eases anxiety. Your ritual could involve feeding your child, changing a diaper or interacting together with a toy before you leave. Whatever activity you choose, make sure you take time to talk to your toddler about what’s happening and don’t rush the process. Once your child becomes used to the goodbye ritual, he/she will be better able to regulate his/her emotions so that they can calm themselves more easily when you go. It is best to tell them goodbye and that you will be back later rather than sneaking away. Sneaking away may cause them trust issues. It is best to leave with a kiss and hug. Just reassure them you will be back and then leave and allow the caretakers to comfort them and to get your child involved in some fun classroom activities.

At Finding Me Now we understand that it is natural to be apprehensive about starting on a big adventure like child care & preschool!  We would love to discuss your care options, just give us a call at 1-800-777-7312 or send us a message.

Jennifer P. is the director of Finding Me Now Indianapolis – South