Transitioning your toddler from in-home care to out-of-home childcare, daycare, or early preschool can be a daunting task. Especially when your child is not accustomed to socializing with other children. Numerous studies have established the importance of a well-rounded routine for toddlers, and placing them in childcare, daycare, or early learning programs can help them achieve their age-specific developmental goals.
Toddlers are known for having tantrums on their first day of childcare, daycare, or preschool and sometimes they simply have intense separation anxiety. Just remember this is not unique; it is perfectly normal for children to act out.
During the toddler stage of development, children are not only learning communication skills; they are also learning what their boundaries are. To ease the transition and minimize your toddler’s drop-off tantrums, make sure you communicate to them as clearly as possible that the separation is only temporary, and that you will be back for them at a specific point during the day.
Rustom Khosravian is the owner of Kids ‘R’ Kids Leaning Academy of Sienna Plantation. He says, “This is one of the most important things parents need to do to ensure that their toddlers don’t feel like they are being neglected or abandoned. When the time comes to drop them off, reiterate that you will be back at a specific time to pick them up. For example, you could tell them you will be there to pick them up after naptime, after playtime, or after lunchtime.”
There are several steps that parents can take to ease the process for toddlers and help the little ones adjust as smoothly as possible to their new learning environment. The following are only a few steps that significantly decrease the stress of parents and toddlers during the adjustment period.
- Adjusting their sleep routine a few weeks or months before attendance is vital to a toddlers’ health and development. Younger children, especially toddlers, need an average of 12 hours of sleep a day, and as they grow older they typically need 10 to 11 hours.
- Some childcare, daycare, and preschool facilities have specified naptimes or quiet time; so helping your child adjust their sleep routine for that will make the in-home to out-of-home transition less hectic.
- Simply make small adjustments to bedtime, what time they wake up, and when naptime is. This will minimize issues when waking up in the morning, while keeping them well rested and positively energized for their day.
- Introducing your toddler to their new childcare facility before their attendance begins will help them recognize and become familiar with the new environment.
- By slowly integrating the new surroundings to your toddler, they will be able to feel more comfortable being there. This will help the first day be less of a shock for them and help allay some of their separation anxiety fears when it comes time to drop them off.
- Reading books to your children about daycare or the first day of school can help them gain a broader understanding.
- By reading to your toddler or younger child about other children’s experiences when going to daycare or preschool, they can begin to critically develop an understanding of out-of-home childcare. They recognize that other children their age have been to daycare and this will help them build up enough bravery to do the same.
- Allow them to help “get ready” for the day.
- For example, you can set up a bedtime or morning routine in which you have them pick out their outfit for the day. Let them know specifically that this is for childcare, daycare, or preschool.
Peace of Mind
By following any of the aforementioned steps and adjusting your toddler’s routine, integrating them into a new childcare environment will become less stressful.
Don Williams is an online marketer based in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.