Transitioning back to daycare or school can be tough on families. However, by planning and exercising patience, parents can help their kids adjust to daycare to make it a rewarding experience. If you’re wondering how to help your little one adapt, read on to see the best tips for getting back to your daycare schedule.
How to Transition Your Child Back to School
Use simple phrasing to let your young child know they’re heading back to daycare and what to expect as their daily schedule changes. This can include adjusted wake up and sleep times, as well as activities and behavioral expectations during the day at the daycare facility. Phrasing such as “It’s been great to spend so much time with you at home, but you get to see your teacher and friends at school on [X] day!” sets a positive tone as you help them transition to a new schedule.
If your child is feeling concerned, which is normal, break down their daily routine so they can anticipate the pattern and prepare themselves. Discuss getting ready for school, what they will do when they arrive, activities to look forward to, getting picked up at the end of the day, and what you will do together once you’re at home.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
It may be difficult for your child to separate from you but acknowledging their emotions and reassuring them that they can handle change will boost their confidence. Many children may act out to express their emotions by throwing tantrums, hitting, or throwing items. Establishing firm limits while recognizing how your child feels can curb negative behavior. Another way to lessen anxiety is to take your child to the facility before school begins if the daycare center allows it. This allows children to familiarize themselves with the layout. Visual cues such as showing them pictures of the daycare center, their teachers, and their friends can also help them process.
Consult a Teacher
Caregivers and teachers are trained to handle transitioning kids back to daycare and can offer suggestions. Notify your child’s instructor if they’re exhibiting separation anxiety or seem hesitant to participate. The instructor can then prepare in advance and modify their approach.
Teachers might also have a morning routine to make the process more straightforward and less stressful for you and your child. For instance, they may suggest you acknowledge your child’s feelings, lead them to a teacher, say goodbye, and then leave the facility.
Develop a Routine
Ease your child back into a daycare a few days prior to school starting. One of the most important tasks is to establish a set bedtime, nap time, and time to wake up so they will feel rested. A lack of sleep impacts emotional, mental, and physical health, so ensuring your child is receiving adequate sleep is critical to their well-being.
Mimicking their school routine can also help children feel prepared for the transition. Consult their teacher to ask about educational and playtime activities so you can model them at home. You can also set expectations about guidelines concerning hygiene, packed lunches and packed snacks, putting their backpacks away, socializing with peers, and listening to their teacher.
Remain Calm & Confident
Children can sense if you feel worried or uncomfortable. Remain patient, positive, and supportive even when they’re throwing a fit. Their reactions are normal, and their teachers can soothe them once you leave. Trusting your decisions and their caregiver’s ability to take over when you drop them off will help both you and your child adapt more easily.
Find time to relax with your child at the end of the day. Ask them questions about their day, play games, or do other activities together. This allows children to feel secure about their relationship with you and unwind together after a long day. Just as work requires mental and emotional energy, so does school and daycare.