1. Visit your centre several times together before your child's start date.
At Paula's we encourage you and your child to visit the centre get to know the new child care setting and carers by making short visits together to the setting. Your child will get used to the new smells, toys, sounds, faces and voices. You can gently encourage your child to play with the toys and do some activities while you’re there.
2. Get to know your child's primary caregiver
Your child is more likely to feel safe and secure in the new child care setting if she sees that you have a good relationship with the carers, especially her main carer. And a good relationship with carers will make things easier for you too, whenever you need to talk about your child’s care.
3. Communicate with the teachers
If your child knows who will be looking after her, it might make things easier. In the weeks before starting, you can find out who your child’s main carer will be. If you can get a photo of this person and talk about the person by name, this person will be more familiar to your child.
4. Use transition objects
Taking an object from home helps children to feel safe and secure. Pebble has always had a cuddly toy nearby during drop off time. It might be a teddy or any other object that reminds them of home. Whenever I notice that Pebble is feeling particularly fragile in the morning I also suggest that we take something special to show the carers. For example, a picture that she has drawn recently, or a photo of a recent event in her life (a trip to the zoo, Grandma’s birthday). This helps her to focus on something positive on the drive to child care and at the time of separation.
5. Give some control to your child
Giving your child some control over their day can help them to feel more accepting of the things that they can’t control. To this day I still give Pebble lots of choice about her morning when it comes to child care. She chooses her clothes (from a selection of child care friendly options) and the toy and fruit that she wants to take.
6. Don't sneak away, say goodbye and then leave!
It might be tempting to bolt from the room, but your little one will feel more afraid if you suddenly disappear. Develop a good-bye ritual. This could be anything you and your child decide on, such as a special hug or handshake followed by a "See you later, alligator!". Don't drag it out or let on that you might be upset, too. Just do it matter-of-factly and confidently and he'll learn to do the same.