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So you have spent the last few weeks, months or years at home looking after your child. You have been there almost all of the time, protecting your baby from harm and making all the best decisions that you possibly could to ensure them the best start in life.

You have known that the day would come, but perhaps you have buried your head in the sand or simply been too busy to notice it creeping closer and closer.

Then BAM! Suddenly it is just around the corner. For whatever reason, perhaps you are returning to work or perhaps because you feel it is time for your child to socialise in a childcare environment or maybe baby number two is coming soon, it is almost time for your first born to start childcare.

I am sure that it is pretty instinctive to believe that nobody in the world can look after your child as well as you can, and that your incredible love for them means that nobody could match you.

It is also normal to feel guilty and worried. Are you doing the right thing? Does leaving your child mean that you are a bad mother?

What If something happens when you are not there? What if your child does not like childcare? The list of worries could probably fill a book.



The best way to deal with your nerves and worries is to take the following steps:

  1. Try not to project any of your fears onto your child. If you do then it will become a never ending circle of worry. Instead talk positively about your plans and explain what a fun environment childcare is going to be, even if you haven’t quite convinced yourself of it yet.
  2. Talk to other mothers who have already have children who are attending or who have attended childcare. This will help to allay some of your worries. You will be able to see first-hand that everyone is still happy and perhaps even some of the benefits of putting your child into the childcare environment.
  3. Choose a mode of childcare, which you are happy with. If you know that you could never be happy with your child in a long day care centre, then look for other options. Family day care, a nanny or community childcare may be a better option for you. Do your research and decide which option fits best with you and your family.
  4. Once you have selected your childcare provider then make some effort to establish a bond and relationship with them prior to your child starting. You will feel much more comfortable if you have built some trust with the provider before you leave your child with them.
  5. Make the transition as easy as possible and be flexible if you can. Don’t start your child on the day that you will return to work. Begin early. Plan on hanging around for a while on the first day and perhaps doing a short day with an early pick up. Some children will take to it like a duck to water and some will need more time. Be prepared to adjust your approach to suit your child, and don’t assume that you know how they will react.
  6. If you find it upsetting, then try to protect your child from this. Positive statements, quick handovers and pointing them to favourite toys and activities can help you get away before the tears start flowing.

By establishing a bond with the carer and having had discussions with other mothers, you will realise that the things you are worried about are commonplace and almost every parent feels the same way when they do those first few handovers.

Dig deep and push through it, because on the other side is some freedom for you to do your own thing and also a whole world of opportunity for your child to learn, socialise and develop.

Do you have any tips to share on settling children into childcare? What worked for you? Please SHARE in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Don’t linger around too long with goodbyes and assure them you will be back at the end of the day or whenever.

    Reply

  • Half my kids thrived at childcare, couldn’t wait to go. The other half hated it, but got used to it. Me? I cried every time :,(


    • oh that is right hey, always harder on the mum

    Reply

  • I am a little old fashioned here – I chose to live in a little house, have one car, and keep my kids home.. I know, hard to do, but most of the second wage goes on childcare anyway, so we just made the sacrifice, and lived on lots of mince LOL good luck

    Reply

  • my daughter is 4 in october and it still takes me 15-30 minutes to get out of the room, if we go to a new place she sticks to me like glue, and even old places. we have tried many tactics over the years and im slowly losing the will to live but at the same time accepting that this is my daughter and her way. I personally don’t feel comfortable around strangers and in a room full of yelling, shouting, crying or just noisy kids can be very overwhelming. my Daughter has been going to this childcare 3 days a week for 5 months and its still tough to transition, her 1 year old sister however is a breeze and some days cries but most she doesnt even care aslong as she is occupied.

    Reply

  • Wish I had these tips when my son started daycare. He hated it. Screamed and screamed, tried to climb the fence to follow me. They had to lock him inside til I left. My daughter, total opposite. Pushed me out the door saying bye, insisted on catching the school bus. So different

    Reply

  • childcre nerves

    Reply

  • my child as happy and had no worries in telling me see ya!

    Reply

  • Having a special teddy/toy helps to ease separation, being a mum to two little ones and having worked in child care for over 10 years I have seen first hand having something familiar they can go and have a snuggle with or even just a smell :) helps to settle that little bit easier.

    Reply

  • It helps enormously if your kids like child care, so that’s an important part of the transition.

    Reply

  • Good tips, thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  • One of my children started grade 1 this year. She found it very hard at first but now that she has lots of friends, she is settling in a lot better :)

    Reply

  • I still remember having so much anxiety in primary school worst feeling ever.

    Reply

  • I spent as many days at the centre with my child as I could before she stayed by herself. The staff said she adjusted very well as a result and actually said they wished all the children adjusted as well as she did. I recommend attending and getting them familiar with the environment and staff

    Reply

  • Great article.. just like school though remember to tell them you will be back in the afternoon to pick them up and take them home, you don’t want your poor child thinking they have been abandoned.

    Reply

  • Thank you for sharing the helpful tips.

    Reply

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