Leaving your child in a childcare setting for the first time is one of the hardest parts of being a parent. COVID certainly hasn’t made the process any easier. While tears (for everyone!) are normal, there are ways to ease the process and help your child transition. Here are 5 smart tips from Bright Horizons®, who will be opening a new child care center in Greenwich, CT, this fall.
Acknowledge their Emotions
Your child is nervous, which is totally understandable. You’ll want to let them know it’s normal to be a bit hesitant on your first day, but you’re their mom and you know they’ll be safe, and do great.
Get to Know their Teacher
Once you have established a rapport with their childcare provider(s), you’ll be able to touch base on how they’re doing—and how you can help them do even better. They can also help you set up a “goodbye routine” (see below).
Don’t Let Mom Guilt Get The Best of You
Being a working mom doesn’t mean you’re not a fantastic mom—and studies have shown many academic and social benefits to group childcare. So don’t let mom guilt get the best of you—like the saying goes about worrying, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere. Be confident in the research that went into making your decision about a childcare provider, and let the transition process work.
Prep them for COVID Safety Procedures
If your younger child will be wearing a mask for the first time, get them used to it by practicing If they’ll be saying goodbye at the parking lot, explain that process to them. On that note…
Talk about the First Day
Give your child information about his wonderful teacher (and the name of his teacher), or the playground she’ll play on. Show pictures if you can—this will help build excitement and lessen nerves.
Managing a Full Range of Emotions
Like we mentioned, it’s normal to cry for both kids and parents, especially on that first day. But try to manage your emotions until you’re out of sight so that they know they’re safe and you feel confident. Children receive a confusing message if you are tearful as you describe how happy they are going to be in this wonderful and fun place. If you feel good about your plan, they will too. Form a sweet but quick “goodbye routine” and stick to it.
Use these tips, and your child will be a childcare pro in no time!
Bright Horizons at Greenwich will open this fall and offer programs for infants – pre-kindergarten. They are currently offering in-person and virtual visits. To schedule a tour or learn about the registration process, visit www.brighthorizons.com/greenwichct or call 203-413-1800.