How to settle your child into childcare

Starting childcare can be nerve wracking for a parent, but completely daunting for a child. A new environment with lots of new people and often a new routine can all get overwhelming for your child sometimes. At Child’s Play ELC we want to make sure the whole family feels supported throughout this journey is and drop off is not feared by the parents or carers leaving them, separation anxirty can be challenging for both the parent and the child. It is why we always suggest orientation sessions and booking a tour of the facility with your child to help them get exposure to childcare, to become familiar with the environments and the educators

We understand that starting childcare or going back to work is intimidating for your whole family it is a transition and the next stage in the development process of you and your child and we want to assure you that tears are normal and this transition is made easier if you are prepared. We find it very helpful if you research the type of childcare facilities that suit you and your family and talk to educators first so that you feel begin to feel comfortable with your decision, and can start to build a relationship of trust and collaboration to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved for your child and everyone is on the ‘same page’.

How can you settle your child into childcare?


The first and most obvious way to help with the transition is to introduce your child to the environment prior to you needing to leave them on their own. Orientation sessions are a great way to reduce the potential stress and anxiety that young children may undergo when you leave them in a new area. Orientations allow you and your child to spend time in the rooms (we generally suggest an hour at a time) doing activities and educating us on your child’s routines and rituals. The more you communicate and inform educators and in the room about your child, they can help them to feel comfortable and safe in this new environment, and help them have a sense of belonging! Depending on you and your child, orientation can start a few weeks before starting childcare. At Child’s Play ELC, we recommend at least two orientation sessions before the start of childcare.

We try to arrange orientation on the days that your child is booked in, so that they have the same children and educators in on those days and they can begin to build relationships, although this may not always be possible.  We also try to book a couple of orientations in a week, as too much time between orientations children may forget, and we want develop and enrich the foundations of the relationships that have been formed at previous orientations.

Focus on how your child is feeling

Even if your child isn’t talking yet, how your child feels towards childcare can have a big impact on their development. It’s important that they understand childcare is there for them to help and support them to learn, play and socialise. As a parent, make sure to ask them how they are feeling and address their concerns and feelings towards childcare. If you feel positive and happy about childcare and give them assurances them that childcare is fun and that everything is going to be ok, they are more likely to be open to the idea and confident.

Talk to your child about starting childcare

No child wants to be placed in a new environment that they have no connection with or are unfamiliar without any warning, this can be scary and daunting and difficult for children to make sense of. Talking to your child about starting childcare in advance is important to help remedy them being scared or anxious.

It’s important as a parent that you talk about childcare in a positive manner and with enthusiasm. If they see you’re excited, they too will get excited about going to childcare. These conversations can allow them to tell you about how they are feeling about this new chapter of their lives. If your child expresses concerns, talking to them and being caring and enthusiastic can help reduce their anxiety and allow them to enter this new stage with confidence, this in turn will help with any guilt or anxiety you might be feeling as a parent.

When talking to your child at the start of childcare remember to reassure them that they are doing well and use confident statements to help them feel at ease. For example, name the educator that is going to look after them and tell them when you are coming to pick them up. If you say “Stacy has prepared an awesome day for you and you are going to have so much fun” and “I will see you at lunchtime/in the afternoon” you are helping your child settle in and become familiar with childcare and the new routine.

How can Childs Play help?

At Child’s Play ELC, we value relationships and family bonds so we want to make sure that the transition into childcare is easy. If you need help with how to get started at childcare make sure to check out some of our other blogs and if you have questions about what our educators can do, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.