Going to childcare for the first time

Sending a child to daycare or preschool for the first time is a paramount event in their young lives. It means being away from their parents, maybe for the first time. It means giving up the one-on-one full-time attention from their parents or other care givers. This can be difficult for both, parents, and children. It can be particularly difficult for parents because they must handle both. A bit of anxiety on the two is normal. Being prepared for this step in your child’s life will help you both go through the process with ease.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Prepare them before hand, as knowing in advance what is going to happen helps the children have a time frame. Explain to your child how a day will look like so they know what to expect.
  • Explain that the teacher is there to care for them, help them and teach them new things. Explain to your child that they can tell anything to their teacher, if they need to go to the toilet, if they are thirsty or hungry, if they feel sad, or need help with anything.
  • Your attitude about the daycare/preschool experience will shape your child’s attitude towards it. Children are very sensitive, and they pick up on this very easily. They might think there is a reason to fear being left. Children, even if very young, can sense when a parent is not at ease. Children should see you happy to leave them there.
  • Keep goodbyes short. Don’t linger. It can make things worse. The teachers know how to handle the situation, they have been trained for that. Trust that they know what to do when a child is having a hard time separating from their parents. They know how to help them calm down and make them feel comfortable.
  • Leaving your child in daycare/preschool should be build up over time. First, go see the school, have your child meet his teacher, the first times he attends should be for a couple of hours and extend the hours progressively.
  • If crying persists over time work together with your child’s teacher to correct the situation.
  • Teachers always support the children during this process. It can be easy or sometimes challenging but all children overcome this eventually. Trust that your child can handle it, trust the process.

Please find below a link to an article that explains the above points extensively and gives tips and ideas on how to prepare yourself and your child for this exiting moment of their lives.


This article is written by Paola, Big Ben Kids Care Coordinator

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