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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.