A parents’ guide to the transition to childcare

A parents’ guide to the transition to childcare

The start of childcare can be both an exciting and an anxious time for parents. It may be your first time away from your child as you return to work, manage other responsibilities or take a well-deserved break. Our tips on preparing for and starting childcare will ease the stress and make the process as smooth as possible for both you and your child.

  1. Read the family handbook.

Before your child starts childcare, be sure to closely read your early learning centre’s family/parent handbook. It provides crucial information on the centre’s philosophy, programs, routines, educators, facilities, food, policies and so on, giving you a good idea of what to expect.

  1. Get to know the educators.

If possible, take time to get to know the educators who’ll be caring for your child. Schedule a visit or introduction so that you can meet the caregivers and they can get to know your child. This will put both you and your child at ease as you transition to childcare. Most centres offer an orientation, which is a fantastic introduction to the centre, educators and program.

  1. Ask questions.

If an orientation session is available, use it to ask the educators and centre staff your questions about the program, daily routines, facilities, food and nutrition and so on. Don’t hesitate to contact the centre with further questions that pop up along the way.

  1. Talk to your child about what to expect.

Just like adults, children often feel anxious about big changes in their lives. To ease your child’s anxiety (and your own), talk to them about what they can expect when they start childcare. Tell them about their educators, the schedule and the activities they’ll enjoy during the day. Knowing that your child feels well prepared will also make you more comfortable about the transition.

  1. Find out what to pack.

To avoid last-minute stress and make sure your child experiences a smooth, enjoyable transition to childcare, it’s important to know ahead of time what your child will need to feel happy throughout the day. Our list of childcare essentials and nice-to-haves will get you started.

  1. Make a ‘transition box’ or ‘transition bag’.

Your child may feel more comfortable and settled in their new environment if you put together a ‘transition box’ or ‘transition bag’ that they can take to childcare. This could include a favourite toy or blanket, a comforting book, pictures of family members or anything else that would help your child feel more comfortable and secure in their new surroundings.

  1. Make drop-offs and pickups a positive experience.

Among the challenges of starting childcare are saying goodbye to your child in the morning and picking them up at the end of the day. To ease this process, try to make drop-offs and pickups a positive experience for both you and your child. Take time to say goodbye and give your child a hug or kiss, and then let them know that you’ll see them later. When you come to pick them up, be sure to ask about their day and what they did. This will connect your child to you and ease any separation anxiety that they may be feeling.

Transitioning to childcare can be a big change for both parents and children, but following these tips will make the process easier and ensure that everyone involved has a positive experience.

Learning Ladder’s open-door policy

We have an ‘open-door’ policy at Learning Ladder, meaning you’re welcome to visit us at any time to share special occasions with your child or join in daily routines. To learn more about how we can support your family’s transition to Learning Ladder or to ask other questions, please get in touch.


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