The first day is finally here!
There are some more steps you can take to make it a success:
- Get up early and get prepared in a relaxed way. You do not want to start the day with a stressful morning at home.
- Talk with your child in a confident way, which will help him feel confident too.
- Stay for awhile once you get to the program. Even just 10-15 minutes of exploring together with your child can be helpful to him.
- You might feel tempted to sneak away without what could be a tearful goodbye. Saying goodbye, though, is extremely important. Again, it lets your child know that you are confident about leaving him at the program. And it’s an opportunity to remind him that you will see him at the end of the day. You can potentially develop special goodbye rituals with your child to give you both comfort.
- When you are both home at the end of the day, spend time together. Engage in your usual eating and bedtime rituals. Everything is the same at home -- consistent and comforting -- your child just has a new activity during the day.
You are embarking on an adventure with your child -- a huge step in his development that will ultimately lay the foundation for his school career and beyond. To make it work, you will need to continue to do some work Going Forward.
IF THE FIRST DAY ISN’T A SMASHING SUCCESS
It is perfectly normal for a child to have an “easy” first day. And it is perfectly normal for a child to have a “hard” first day. If that happens, talk with your child, talk with the provider and work together as a team to help your child. It may take some time for your child to adjust to the experience of going to child care. And that is fine. Let your child know you love her (and that you will always return at the end of the day) and keep communicating with the child care provider. In all likelihood, before you know it, your child will begin to enjoy her child care experience.