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How to help kids adjust to starting daycare

C

hildren reach many
milestones throughout their
lives. While a child’s first
step and first tooth may garner the
bulk of the milestone glory, other
moments are just as significant.
One milestone that parents may not
look forward to is their kids’ first
day away from mom and dad. For
many children, that day is spent at
daycare. Parents may get emotional
when dropping their young
children off at daycare for the first
time, and those emotions might
only grow stronger if children cry
when Mom and Dad walk away.
Fortunately, there are ways to help
kids adjust to starting daycare.
Drop by before the first dropoff day.
Many daycare facilities encourage

parents to visit the facility with
their children before youngsters’
first official day at daycare. This
allows kids to meet their teachers as
well as other children who will be
in their class. That familiarity can
make first-day dropoff that much
easier.
Speak with kids about daycare in
advance of their first day. As kids’
first day at daycare approaches,
parents can speak with them about
what to expect. Discuss changes
in routine as well as more exciting
things, like the chance to play with
other kids. If you were able to
visit before the first day, mentions
teachers and other children your
child met during the visit. That can
help calm their nerves about leaving

Mom and Dad.
Practice leaving your child with
someone else. Much of the fear kids
have when being dropped off at
daycare for the first time is seeing
mom or dad leave the facility. Kids
who have seen this before, whether
they’re left with a babysitter or a
relative for a couple of hours, are
more likely to smoothly adjust to
being left at daycare. Parents who
haven’t yet enjoyed a date night
or time away from their children
can book some time away together
so their children can get used to
spending time with someone other
than Mom and Dad.
Invite other children from the
daycare over for play dates. Another
way to help kids embrace their first

days at daycare is to invite some of
their prospective classmates over
for a play date. If parents who live
nearby recommended the facility,
invite their children over for a play
date. Familiar, friendly faces can
help the transition to daycare go
smoothly.
Let kids take a comfort item with
them. A favorite blanket or stuffed
animal can calm kids’ nerves as they
transition to daycare. Before telling
kids they can bring such an item
along, confirm if it’s allowed with
the program director.
The first day at daycare is a
milestone for kids. Parents can take
various steps to make that day go as
smoothly as possible.

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