Some parents are nervous about sending their child into daycare for the first time, but attending a child care center can be a very positive milestone for your child. Here are some tips on how to make daycare a positive experience for everyone.
Teach Your Child About Structure
This may be the first time that your child is dealing with strict routine and structure, which can take some adjustment. You can prepare your child for this level of structure by incorporating more structure into your home life, as well. For instance, you might give your child some more responsibility over their bedtime or teeth-brushing routines.
Stay Alert for Behavioral or Adjustment Issues
Keeping an eye on your child is a great way to make sure no problems fester. As your child goes out into the world for the first time, they may develop some unusual behaviors as they try to figure out their role outside of your home. You may want to arrange weekly or even daily chats to discuss any behavioral issues and any areas where your child is doing a great job; this way you can continue to provide support and learning opportunities at home.
Make Community Connections
Another way to make preschools a strong experience is to make the connections go beyond the preschool center. For instance, if you notice that your child is having a particularly good time with one or two other children in the daycare, then you might want to arrange play dates outside of the center. This will also give you the chance to form a support network with other parents going through the same milestones with their child.
Find Leaning Opportunities
Depending on what kind of daycare center you choose, your staff may be able to help your child learn particular new skills, such as a specific pre-K curriculum. Even if not, you may wish to keep your center’s staff informed of what you’re teaching the child at home so that they can take little opportunities in conversation to remind your child of things they’ve learned, helping to support an ongoing learning process.
In short, daycare can be a great learning opportunity for children, as long as you choose preschools in your area with dedicated and knowledgeable staff. And by taking advantage of opportunities to gain more support for you and your child, you can create a very positive child care experience.