At Giggle and Grow, we want your toddler’s first day of day care to be as seamless as possible. Here are a few tips to help you and your toddler prepare for the big day!
Talk to Your Toddler About Day Care
One of the best ways to prepare your toddler for day care is to talk to them about it in the days and weeks leading up to their first day. The more it’s mentioned, the more your little one will be comfortable with it.
Depending on your child’s age, you can talk to them about what they will experience at day care. What it will be like, who their teacher will be, what fun activities they’ll do, and what new toys they’ll get to play with. You can also read books to give your child an idea of what their day care experience will be like. The book My First Day at Day Care is a great place to start.
By the time day care is beginning, your child will be familiar and feel comfortable with the idea.
Adjust Their Sleep Schedule
You may find that your toddler’s day care has a specific drop-off window in the morning, which could mean your little one needs to start waking up earlier. Try to get your toddler on a solid sleep schedule to make this transition as easy as possible. At least a month before the scheduled start day, begin to wake them up when they would normally get up for day care and then adjust their bedtime accordingly.
Sometimes in the classroom, naps will be at specific times during the day. Ask your toddler’s teacher if they have their own nap schedule or if they take your child’s sleeping routine into consideration.
Get Your Morning Routine Set Up
Another great way to prepare is to set up a solid and predictable morning routine. Little ones thrive on routine, and having a reliable morning routine will help your child to know what to expect when they wake up each day. This will make it a little easier to get out the door on time for your first day!
This could look like: wake up, change diaper/go potty, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, grab backpack, head out the door. Of course, you can create your own routine to fit your family’s needs.
Pack the Night Before
To help make your morning routine go even smoother, pack everything your child will need for their day the night before. Make sure their backpack is ready to go, they have food packed, and there’s an extra pair of clothes. Your day care should have a list of everything they will need, along with a list of the things your little one needs to bring with them. If you’re unsure, ask the teacher or facility director. They’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
In a classroom of toddlers, there are going to be a lot of items getting mixed up. Your toddler’s teacher is here to help, but they can only do so much to make sure everyone has the right things (especially if they aren’t labeled). To avoid losing anything, label everything. And we mean everything. Clothes, shoes, snack bags, cups, their comfort stuffed animal…if you want it back, make sure it’s labeled!
Give Yourself Extra Time
The first day might still be a little chaotic, so be prepared for drop-off to take a little longer than usual. If you’re working, see if it’s possible to go in to work a bit later that first day. If it’s not possible, give yourself a little extra buffer time that morning. It may help the transition go more smoothly, and your child won’t feel the stress of being rushed.
Say a Quick Goodbye
It can be hard to say goodbye, especially if your child is struggling. But if you linger, it can make it harder for your son or daughter to accept the situation and make the best of it. When saying goodbye, try and make it quick and comforting. Creating a goodbye routine can help make this goodbye (and future goodbyes) much easier. Give a high-five, hug, or kiss, and then tell them you’ll be back for them at a specific time. If there are tears, that’s okay. Your toddler’s teacher will be able to comfort your child and engage them in a fun activity to soothe their nerves.
Commit to the Process
The first day can be hard on you and your toddler, even if you’re been preparing for it ahead of time. But if you’re patient and commit to the process, you and your child will adjust successfully. Just hang in there, and remember the benefits you and your child can gain from childcare!
Enroll in Quality Child Care
If you’re looking for a high-quality day care in Gilbert, Arizona, look no further than Giggle and Grow! We strive to make a positive difference in the life of every child by partnering with parents to provide an environment that is safe, nurturing, educational, and individualized. Let us help your child learn, play, and grow!