For most children, starting daycare will be the first experience of being separated from their parents. And for Mum or Dad, it is sometimes the first time too! Most children will experience some anxiety and it is important that both parents and educators work together to build the special relationship necessary for successful transition and adjustment for all parties involved.
Our Educators are sensitive and aware of the anxieties and fears children have about starting child care. We understand how distressing it can be to leave your child especially if they are upset. Be assured that if the educators are unable to settle your child, we will ring you.
Even if a child has been in care before they will still need time to adjust to the carers and an exciting new environment. But it always works. The majority of our babies go through this phase. And it takes 6 weeks on average!
This is our very experienced Miss Shelli’s belief. She is Centre Director at Kids Club Clarence Street and details the various steps like this:
First step: the orientation procedure
Parents are encouraged to help their child’s transition by taking the child to visit the Centre a few times prior to leaving them. ” The orientation procedure provides an opportunity to build the foundations for an ongoing partnership between the family and the team. Says Miss Shelli, “effective orientation processes are very important as this time is used for families and childcare professionals to ask questions and share important information about the child, family and the child care service”.
Orientations are free of charge and we recommend 2-3 sessions a week prior to starting at the centre to ease the transition process into the care. Orientations will go for approx. 1 hour.
Week 1 and 2 at daycare
The first two weeks our little ones are still getting to know the team, the room and the other children so there can be tears in the beginning. They are still forming those safe and secure relationships which the team works on in those first 2 weeks. Their sleep and eating patterns will also be up and down. It’s all new and scary for them and the parents.
When a child first starts at a new centre their behaviour may change. Do not worry as this is a natural stage in child development. Changes that may occur are a regression in toilet training, becoming more dependent, or eating habits changes.
These are a few examples, so if you notice any change in your child’s behaviour and you are concerned, please discuss it with a team member.
Week 3 and 4 into the routine
The children are getting more used to the consistent routine and continuity of care of the team members and by this time they have bonded with at least 1 if not 2 of the educators. The tears are a little less and redirection/distraction is much easier.
Week 5 and 6, feeling safe
They have started to understand that it is a nice place to be in, they are used to the smells and noises and to having lots of little friends running around. They understand that parents come back at a certain time and they are not forgotten. They are feeling safe and secure in their environment and it is starting to feel like a second home.
“My theory is that it takes 6 times to form a habit, 6 times consistently. If a child is coming 5 days a week they will settle much quicker than a child coming 2 days. Again, it depends on the child and how quickly we can form that relationship with them.” Says Miss Shelli. “I have been using this theory for over 20 years and it always works.”
How does it work?
Of course, it also takes a great team to follow through with building that relationship with the child and the parents. You have to be actively working towards settling the child in, finding out what they like and how they like it. Redirecting, going for a walk, acknowledging their tears and reassure them that the parents are coming at lunch, afternoon tea or late snack.
“This is just one of the ways that I help parents feel better about the tears at the start. I find if I give them a goal, they hang on to that and it relieves the parent guilt of leaving their little one. I have had many parents who come to me and say I didn’t believe you but here we are in week 5 and they are doing amazing. I smile and agree, and am secretly pleased that it has worked. Sometimes, it takes just a little bit longer…”
How to help your little one adjust to childcare? Here are 7 tips to help your child settle:
- Talk to your child about where parents and children go during the day. Where children go when their parents work.
- Read nice stories about the first days at school or daycare. Books are fantastic tools for parents.
- Take your child with you when you visit the centre way before they start and don’t skip the orientation process.
- Bring a transition object from home.
- Give them some control over their day, either by choosing what they are going to bring or going to wear that day.
- Give a warm, loving but SHORT goodbye and walk away. We know it is very difficult but dragging it out makes the separation more painful.
- Communicate with your educators, get to know them and them to know you. Model a great relationship with them and don’t hesitate to call at any time to know how it is all going!
And don’t forget we are always available to talk to you. Give us as many calls as needed to know how your child is doing and follow their day on the Kids Club App.
Shelli Hanson, Centre Director at Kids Club Clarence Street.
P.S – Would you like to visit our Centres? Book your tour now! Call us on 1 300 543 725 and let us know which centre you are interested in:
Sydney CBD: Kids Club Clarence St or Kids Club Elizabeth Street
Kids Club Rosebery
Kids Club Northern Beaches
Kids Club Phillip
Kids Club Rivett
Kids Club Symonston
Kids Club Childcare is known for having the most beautiful Early Childhood Education centres in Sydney and Canberra. We believe the best start to your child’s future begins at Kids Club. A statement based on our commitment and practices in (4) key areas: Child-Led Learning, Stimulating Environments, Healthy Nutrition and Experienced Educators.