Reaching a new milestone is often met with both celebration and trepidation. How exciting, your little one is crawling! Oh, dear — time to baby-proof. Beginning childcare is one such milestone.
While starting a new childcare is an exciting step in your child’s journey, it’s also entirely normal for both generations to feel a little anxious.
At Step Ahead, we have never had an issue with a child settling in to our kindergarten. We pride ourselves on creating an environment that supports and nurtures your child and we understand how important this process is! Here are some of our tips for settling your child into a new centre, to make it as easy as possible for everyone involved (especially parents!):
- First, introduce the idea of childcare Using positive language and open communication with your child (regardless of age) will help to take away some of the ‘scary factor’. Focus on the fun – their new friends, the playground, mud kitchen or crafts. Try to work in the idea that you won’t be there, but will always come back.
- Visit, visit, visit. Spending time in our kindergarten is a crucial stage in transitioning; it allows your child to foster a sense of belonging and to take steps towards independence. We encourage a number of settling visits, so your child can get to know our team, our environment and our routines, to make their transition a little easier. Your child may feel confident to explore on their own or may prefer keeping you close while they work out what’s what. Next time you visit, pop out for a coffee, then for a couple of hours so you can slowly introduce the idea that you come and go.
- Make sure that you’re comfortable too. It’s so important that you feel happy and at ease in our kindergarten, so we absolutely encourage families to get to know the space and our teachers. Ask questions and put your mind at ease so that you can leave feeling confident and relaxed.
- Create a little drop-off routine. With lots of change to navigate, having a familiar anchor may help your little one to adjust. Put aside five minutes to come in, find your child’s name stone and read a favourite book together or start an activity before explaining that it’s time for you to leave.
- Take a deep breath. Saying goodbye is hard, and it’s perfectly okay to feel emotional. Try to keep farewells happy, brief and calm. Our teachers can help to ease this transition as each child reacts differently. There may be tears on both sides, but remember that you’re both in a supportive, safe environment.
- Think of our teachers as your child’s training wheels — the children feel empowered and confident, but they always have support. Just like when they learn to ride a bike, all children will do it at their own pace. There may be a skinned knee or two along the way, but once they’re happy, there is no looking back.