I remember the very first day I brought my first baby to daycare at the age of 18 months.
A confident but quiet boy who was definitely ready for some time with others. It wasn’t because I was going back to work or needed some time for myself but because It was recommended. He was and still is a very bright wee boy reciting the order of the planets and studiously reading through his many books in his possession at a young age. There has been no stopping him over the years as he is now in his fourth year of a 5-year degree in bio medical engineering and economics.
But my second baby was a little different.
Clingier and less confident and a personality typical of a second baby , a little more rebellious and needed a little more attention.
Both were so different and had different needs but both equally as gorgeous and loveable in their own way.
So, when it came to my second boy heading off to daycare it was a little more challenging.
He was a little older too and had been with mum for longer before his very first day at daycare.
Clinging on to me knowing I was about to leave and standing at the door crying with me trying not to turn around for the third or fourth time wanting to run back and give him a cuddle to say mummy would be back to collect him even though his brother was right by his side.
Those days are now distant memories because they are both doing so well in the direction they have chosen.
So how do you make the daycare drops offs a little easier?
It includes a little planning and some ground rules to help you and your child transition easier into their daycare environment, but it doesn’t mean that it will be all plane sailing.
1 – Confidence.
Try not to let on that you are anxious leaving your child. They will see right through and feel your emotions so hide them well even if you have to pretend.
2 – Visits
Spend time together playing and getting to know their environment they will be in. Both inside and outside areas. Play in the sand pit, read books on the matt and stick around when the children are together when the teacher is reading stories.
3 – Sleep
If your baby or toddler will be napping at daycare then having a routine in place and for them to be able to confidently settle themselves will be a great help, not only for you but also for staff. If they are swaddled, for younger babies or in sleeping bags for older ones make sure you use these for their sleeps at daycare. Cuddlies are great too so they have something from home. Even a blanket or sheet you use in their cot can help them feel more confident. Also talk to the staff at daycare because they will be very knowledgeable how to help you child settle in. I would also recommend that you get someone else to settle your baby at home or maybe at their grandparent’s house so that they are not used to only mum putting them to bed.
4 – Saying goodbye
When it’s time to say goodbye, how hard it may be, make sure you do it with confidence and don’t stick around for your little one to attract your attention to stay. The worst thing you can do is run back and give cuddle after cuddle and saying goodbye several times. This isn’t in the best interest of both you and your baby or toddler. Majority of children will stop crying once you are out of site and their attention has been redirected elsewhere.
5 – Pics and stories
Now days daycares are great at letting you know how your child is doing. They can send pictures and create a little journal of what they have been while in their care. It’s a great way to keep in touch.
6 – Be prepared and plan
If the reason your child is heading off to daycare is because you are returning to work, then it’s very important to plan ahead of time. This is especially after pick-up. They will be exhausted and so will you. Meals that are easily prepared or slow-cooker meals can be a life saver.
Delegate who will cook which night or have readymade meals that can be frozen over the weekend you can then use during the week.
Quality time is important while still sticking to your night time routine. The last thing they want is to see mum rushing around preparing meals and getting the house sorted when they have missed you all day.
Yep you might hear this word in business but outsourcing chores within your home such as house cleaner, taking your washing to a laundromat or even getting your ironing done can be a game changer. Home delivery of your groceries and food boxes delivered to your day are all time savers.
Yes, it’s very common for parents especially mums to feel guilty that their children are at daycare.
All I can say is – Don’t
It will not help you move forward and will only keep you from enjoying what is reality and often is unavoidable plus it’s ok to do what you enjoy while being a parent at the same time. It’s about creating balance.
After reading this blog you may have other tips that may help other parents.
Please share and leave a comment below