When your child is about to enter a group program, whether it is full time care, part-day program or kindergarten, you and your child may find it hard to adjust to saying goodbye each day.
Change is difficult.
The way your child will deal with change is dependent on your attitude about your decision to enroll your child in a group program. If you are genuinely enthusiastic about any upcoming change, your child will look forward to it too. So your first step is to make sure you feel comfortable about the program you have chosen. It will also help to talk with other parents who have successfully managed a similar transition. Every parent and child adjusts differently and will need time to feel at home in a new situation.
Very young babies may not seem to notice when a parent leaves. Most infants up to age six or eight months make a smooth transition to another adult. Leaving is harder on the parent at this stage. For children between five months and three years, separation anxiety, crying, clinging or screaming may very likely occur. The good news is that separation anxiety marks a big step in a child's development: your child has learned to care about you and is aware that he or she is separate from you.
From birth, your children grow closer to you and more separate at the same time. How you handle the separation and your actions and words that surround the separation will shape your child's attitude about trust and relationships for years to come.
Practices to help your child's transition into childcare:
- Take time to see that your child gets settled comfortably.
- Establish a routine, saying good morning to the teacher, sign in, placing items in child's cubby.
- Be sure to tell your child when you will be back to pick them up and then do exactly that.
- Never try to slip out of the childcare unnoticed and try to leave without saying goodbye, you will violate your child's trust.
- Always say goodbye with a kiss, hug and a wave.
- Be firm but friendly about leaving.
- A good caregiver will be alert to involve your child in something immediately.
It's About Relationships
The quality of experiences your child receives from a provider can only by determined by open, thoughtful conversation between you and the provider. Developing that relationship will yield tremendous rewards for your family.
Develop a good two-way communication about your goals for your child, your child-rearing practices and family preferences in order to minimize conflicts and confusion for children. Communicate concern promptly. Don't let your worries fester. If you spot a concern, discuss it immediately. Find time and ways to communicate with your childcare provider - pick-up and drop-off times are usually not convenient times. Make sure you have a sense of how the day went for your child by visual charts or daily reports sent home.
Know the Program
Read everything sent home for parents and make sure you know what the daily routine looks like. Most programs have a fairly regular schedule of activities, which will help you talk to your child about the day.
Don't forget to show your appreciation
- Tell a friend; say something positive about your child's provider to another parent in the class. Positive comments have a way of spreading.
- Tell a boss; Say something positive to a director about your child's teacher. Most administrators will pass compliments along.
- Tell the teacher; Stop by and say something nice to your child's teacher directly.
- Make an extra effort; Most parents are polite to teachers and caregivers, but it never hurts to make an extra effort to be courteous.
- Pay on time; You wouldn't think to walk out of the grocery store without paying for groceries. But often, providers are the last to be paid after all else is taken of. Most of the tuition that you pay will go right to the teacher. Sometimes, programs cannot afford to fund payroll if there are many accounts in the red. It's important to keep your account current so that the program can provide the best care for children