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The first time to daycare; how to help your child get used to it?

2021-09-21 00:00:00

Written by Marloes Dingemans

Your child is about to start kindergarten, what a milestone! Perhaps you are excited and don't know what to expect, or you find it hard to say goodbye to your child when you take him or her away for the first time. It is a whole new world for both you and your child. In this blog we tell you what to expect and what you can do to help your child get used to it.

The first meeting
You have probably already dropped by to see the facility, learn more about the organization and meet the team. It is nice and important to have a conversation with the pedagogical staff beforehand, so they can learn a lot about your child and your family and respond appropriately. You can also discuss what to expect from the first drop-off and the settling-in period. The settling-in period at the childcare centre starts with a number of days in which the time your child spends in the group is slowly built up.

New stimuli
During the settling-in period, a whole new world opens up for your child. Your child comes into contact with other children, the Nannies in the group, new impressions such as smells, colors and sounds and a new environment. You can tell that your child needs to absorb and process many new things by the fact that he/she is suddenly more focused on you (as a parent), enters a shy phase or is more sensitive. But your child may also be more tired or hungry. The brain of young children has not yet learned to filter stimuli properly, so it is logical that your child is overwhelmed and tired after a day at childcare.

Instill confidence
How your child will react to these changes is often impossible to say in advance and can depend on various factors. These include your child's age and temperament, or how accustomed your child is to other people and new places. Your own attitude as a parent also plays a role. You can help your child get used to it by exuding calmness and confidence. If you show your child when they leave that it is okay to spend a day at the nursery, they will feel more confident. 

Playing on the senses
Children at a young age are mainly focused on developing through their senses. They are therefore very much - much more than adults - aware of smells. It can therefore be nice for your child to have something familiar at daycare, especially when they first go. A cuddly toy that he/she has already used at home or a shirt that you have worn. This can provide a lot of security.

Recognizable morning ritual
Although you have a clear agenda, it is a big question for your child what is going to happen that day. When everything is new and you are still developing as a baby, every day can be different. To ensure that your child feels emotionally secure and is not surprised by suddenly being brought to the daycare center, you can make sure that these mornings are the same. Make a ritual of the things that need to happen in the morning when you go to daycare. If it is recognizable, your child will make the association faster and faster and be better prepared for the transition from home to daycare.