Health & Safety
From Home to Childcare
Transitioning into a child care setting can oftentimes be a stressful time for parents and children. The great news is that there are strategies that can be implemented to make the move as smooth as possible.
- Once you have chosen a quality child care program, begin by taking your baby to visit the facility. (Refer to PAL's "Health and Safety/Choosing Quality Child Care" for information on what to look for in a quality program.)
- Be sure to spend extra time in your baby's classroom with the caregiver. This allows your baby and the caregiver to get acquainted and feel comfortable with one another before being left alone.
- Talk with the caregiver about the general temperament of your child. Having some idea of what to expect from your baby will help her know better how to read your baby's signals.
- Arrive early to give your baby the time to adjust before you leave.
- Avoid sneaking out of the room. Always leave your baby with the comfort and reassurance of your return.
- Leave your baby with an item that is comforting and a reminder of home. i.e. a blanket, small toy or book. A comforting item will help soothe your baby and help her relax in her new surroundings.
- Many babies between 6-12 months experience stranger anxiety, or a fear of unknown people. Your baby may pull away, or appear visually upset upon sight or close interaction with an unknown person. At the same time, babies also develop separation anxiety, or distress shown when a familiar caregiver leaves. Although difficult, these are typical behaviors that will get easier as your baby moves into her second year.
- Have confidence and trust that your baby's caregivers will provide the care you want for your baby! If concerns do arise, talk with the caregiver and/or the program director.
- Visit the child care program with your toddler.
- Introduce your toddler to his caregiver and classmates.
- Encourage him to participate in activities during the visit to make him as comfortable as possible.
- Find out the kinds of activities that are available, as well as the daily schedule.
- Prepare your child each day by reminding her that, although you are leaving her, you will return. Let her know at what point in the day you will return; i.e. after rest time.
- Tell your child if someone other than you will pick him up at the end of the day.
- As your child becomes more verbal, encourage her to tell you about the activities and events that took place during their day.
- Stay informed about your child's progress. Let your child's caregiver know that you are always open and available to talk.