If you or your spouse are getting ready to go back to work after caring for your toddler full time, then don't feel guilty, as many parents do. Child development experts believe that it is ideal for toddlers to make the switch from full time care at home to a daycare center at about the age of one due to a one-year-old's craving for new stimulating activities to participate in and desire to meet new people, which are needs that it can be tough for a parent to meet alone.
While ideal for your child's development, the transition into a daycare can still be a tough one for many children. However, after you learn about these three little-known ways to make this transition easier for your toddler, you can help your child enter daycare feeling happy and confident.
1. Begin Daycare Just a Couple of Days a Week
Many parents don't realize that they don't have to begin sending their toddlers to daycare five days a week from the start if they don't wish to. In fact, many parents have had their toddlers attend daycare just two or three days a week at first and then gradually eased them into daycare full time with great luck.
Of course, if you are going back to work five days a week, you will have to start taking your child to daycare a week or two before you begin working full time again if you want to start them on a part time daycare schedule. This time away from your child before you begin working will give you a great chance to have some "me time" that you likely haven't had since your child was born.
2. Send Your Toddler off with Several Reminders of Home
When your toddler brings just a few small reminders of home to daycare in their backpack, this can help ease any feelings of being "homesick" they may have when they begin attending daycare. Ask the daycare center staff ahead of time if you can bring your child a packed lunch and a few of their favorite snacks for snack time, and if so, be sure to pack a few of their favorites along with a motivational note.
In addition, let your child bring a favorite stuffed animal, a favorite blanket, or any other small object of their choice. A family photo can also be packed into their backpack that they can take out and look at when they choose.
3. Resist the Urge to Get Emotional at Drop-off Time
Entering daycare is a big moment in the lives of you and your child, and as a loving parent, you may feel the urge to get emotional when dropping your child off at daycare for the first time. However, try to hold any tears inside until you are out of your child's view. Your toddler may misinterpret your happy tears for sad ones or even start crying themselves when they see you getting emotional. Instead, act calm, cool and collected when dropping your child off, which will increase their confidence on the big day.
If you are sending your toddler off to daycare soon, then it is a big time in your child's life and you want to take steps to make it a great one. When you follow these tips, you can help create many fond memories of your child's first days in daycare instead of looking back at it as a troublesome transition. Check out sites like http://www.starbrightearlylearningcenter.com for more tips.