Helping your Child Adjust to Daycare 


Most adults resist change. So do some children. Depending on their personality and stage of development , some children will find separation from their parents more difficult than others. It will take time for your child to adjust to the new arrangement.

With older children, discuss any fears or misgivings they may have about the change in their life. Speak calmly about the decision. If you are nervous, your children will sense your anxiety and worry about it more than they might otherwise have done. Talk about the new child care arrangement with your family as soon as you have made the decision to go to work yourself.

Take your child to visit their new caregiver at least once before the new arrangements begin

Plan to spend part of the day for the first few days helping your child get used to the new person and surroundings.

Be sure your child has a toy or blanket from home for comfort.

Try to explain in a way that your child can understand (i.e., using regularly occurring events in the day rather than time) when you will be coming back. For example, mommy will be back "after lunch " or "after nap" or "when it gets dark".

Let your child know when you are leaving. Don't sneak out. This will only make the child more insecure . Give the child a hug and kiss goodbye, saying when you will return. Make your stay brief.

If you are nursing, accustom your child to a bottle or cup at an early age

Telephone occasionally to be reassured your child is all right.

Be positive about returning to work. Your child may sense negative feelings and react to them Attempt to minimize other changes in your child's life at the same time as a change in their child care arrangement

If you are changing child care arrangements, be sure the child understands it isn't because he/she has misbehaved. Some children will assume responsibility and blame themselves for any changes made. You may expect some of these behaviors as the child reacts to separation and change: clinging and r refusing to let go -consider letting the other parent do the job of bringing the child to childcare tantrums; forgetting toilet training; eating all the time or not eating; waking up at night or having bad dreams; thumb-sucking; bedwetting; showing anger and resentment toward you and the rest of the family.

These problems should be temporary. Be loving and understanding but firm. Ask the caregiver to spend a little extra time with your child, being attentive, responsive and reassuring. She/he should try to keep the child busy and involved and close to her. If problems continue beyond a few weeks, review the situation with your caregiver. Perhaps the caregiver or her situation are not a good match for your child. Perhaps your child is picking up negative feelings from you about returning to work or the child care arrangement. Try to determine why your child is not adjusting and be prepared to make changes If your child is unhappy in a child care situation, his/her messages to you should be responded to. Visit your child if you are concerned. Be sure to let your caregiver know you trust her but  need to have some idea of what your child is doing. If you have doubts, explore them. Don't ignore them!

Compliment of The Ontario Early Years Centre – Leeds and Grenville