First Day At School
FIRST DAY OF YOUR CHILD
It is hard to tell how the new arrangement will go, but with a bit of preparation things might go smoother than you thought. Here is what I STEAM Ahead recommends in the experience to your child’s first day.
It is important for parents to visit the centre and talk with the staff/director to gain as much information as possible. Ask to have a walk through and take a list of questions with you that you might want to ask. The more you know about something the less fear you have of the unknown.
Orientation visits are very important, as they allow you and your child to become familiar with the setting, the staff, and building relationships.
If you have a pre-schooler who is older enough to understand, talk about childcare with them, and some of the processes such as drop offs and pick-ups, making new friends, new learning opportunities and play.
Take a support person with you for the first few drop offs, having someone with you will help with any overwhelming feelings you might have about leaving your precious angel in someone else’s care.
Tell the teachers everything and anything about your child! The more information a parent can give to the staff, the more they will be able to offer to your child's needs and with making the transition a smooth and positive one.
Be consistent in routines when dropping off your child, this limits disruption and negative transitions.
Implement some of the centres routines at home to help with transitioning your child. For example, morning teatime, nap/quiet time, outside play, etc.
WHAT TO EXPECT
“Every child is different, and each will start their time in care in different ways. Some might be happy and excited to get on new and exciting things, other will feel overwhelmed with separation anxiety from their parents and being put into this strange environment that they know nothing about.”
It might take days to weeks for your child to settle in. Communicating with staff can often help with supporting you with strategies to encourage positive transitions, such as having experiences set out that your child enjoys helping calm them when they arrive.
You may feel you are doing the wrong thing by leaving your child in childcare, and these feeling are normal for any parent. It is a change for everyone and takes time for it to become more familiar. Always feel you can check on your child with a phone call.
The carers will want to talk with you at pickups to let you know information about your child's day, their interests, any concerns and to build relationships. Being open to establishing relationships with your child's carers provides a foundation for support, effective communication, and positive relationships.
Be prepared to deal with the idea that your child may not settle in immediately. It may take some time and strategies to work through transitioning and routines.
HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT DROP OFFS
“Dropping off your child to an unfamiliar environment can be a difficult task at times”
Inform your child of what is going to happen. Detail the steps such as when we arrive, we will say good morning to the teachers, put out belongings in their places and find an activity to join. You are mentally preparing them for what is going to happen and follow through with what you detailed.
As tempting as it is to sneak away, it is important to always say goodbye to your child before you leave and not just disappear! This establishes routine for the future and allows them to know you are leaving instead of frightening them when they cannot find you.
Allow your child to have a transitional object that may assist with helping them feel a connection from home to assist with settling. This can be something simple like a blankie, comforter, or teddy. Just make sure it is clearly labelled!
As much as you will find it hard to leave, staying for a long time when dropping off can create the sense that you are staying with them, making it harder when it comes time to leave. Stay for a few minutes as they settle into an experience and then say goodbye before leaving.
Be consistent. Your child will immediately pick up on any change and through consistency comes structure and routine and these things assist children with settling in.
Stay positive. Your child will pick up on your emotions and react to them. Always feel open to call once you have left to check in with staff about how your child has settled in once you left. Save the tears for later!
It is not a good idea to re-enter the room once you have said your goodbyes, as this can lead to a prolonged separation anxiety and establishing a drop off routine.
We are here for you!
I STEAM Ahead team