Transitioning to childcare for parents

Childcare is a big milestone to reach, not just for the children but for the parents as well. For most of us, it will be the first time we are leaving our children in the care of someone other than a family member and this can be nerve-wracking. At Child’s Play ELC, we want to let you know it’s ok to be nervous, to have questions and may not want to leave them straight away.

Many parents have waited until they absolutely have to send their child to childcare, such as when they return to work. For some of us, this mandated leave has been essential in helping our children reach an age and development stage where we feel they will be comfortable being left in the care of professionals.

With our continued lockdowns and stay-at-home restrictions, it is natural for all of us to be a little bit more nervous to be sending our children to childcare as we have been stuck inside just as long as they have. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t send them to childcare as it is such an important part of their life. In this blog, we will help you feel more comfortable sending your child to Child’s Play ELC.

The most important thing is to remember you are not alone

Every parent is going through the same nerves you are and they are heightened due to the pandemic. Some parents are first-time parents and were already anxious to leave their child at childcare. Other parents are nervous because they sent their other children to childcare earlier than now and they are scared their child has missed some important development milestones. Many parents are worried about their child’s health and hygiene. At Child’s Play, we are here for every step of the transition process and can help calm your nerves about anything that concerns you. Our educators are parents too so we know exactly what you are going through and the mental challenges you are overcoming.

When thinking about childcare, the best things to do are

  • Research your local childcare centres and figure out which one matches your needs

For some, it is about convenience and location but for other parents, it is about making sure their child has the best start to the learning opportunities. Be sure to explore your childcare options so that you can secure a place at your preferred childcare centre.

  • Tour the centres

Make sure that you and your child go and look around the childcare centre and determine if it is right for you. By touring the centre you get to meet educators, explore the environment and get a glimpse of the curriculum administered.

  • Pick a centre and go to 3-4 orientation sessions to help your child settle in

Generally, we would recommend at least two orientation sessions but with all the added nerves and concerns parents are going through we recommend at least one more. This additional orientation is parent-focussed and is designed to answer all of your questions and concerns. You get to talk with the lead educator and discuss how your child will settle into our childcare family. Over the past six months, we have found this added orientation to be very beneficial for all parents and we have seen children settle into our centres more easily as a result.

How does Child’s Play ELC help the parents transition to childcare?

As parents ourselves, we know how daunting the idea of sending your child to childcare can be and we understand all of your concerns. In 2021, we have modified our transition to childcare process to focus on both the parent and the child’s needs as each of them are increasingly important.

In our transition process, there is a lot more educator-parent communication prior to starting so we can address all of your questions. We have also found many parents are not in any rush to enrol their child so our transition is a lot slower than pre-COVID. This behaviour is fantastic as many parents feel more confident in their choice of childcare and their baby can adjust to the new environment in their own time.

Things that will help the transition for your child

As the transition process extends on day 1 of childcare, your child will need some things to settle on day 1 such as:

  • A comforter
  • Some spare clothes if they get muddy
  • Potentially a special childcare toy

Most importantly, on day 1, take the time to say goodbye and don’t sneak out if they are playing. It ensures that your child knows they have been left with us and that you trust our educators to take care of them. If you don’t say goodbye, they potentially will become very distressed and develop mixed emotions about coming to childcare.

Our Open Door Policy

At Child’s Play ELC, we have an open-door policy for our parents. If you are nervous on day 1 or day 10 you can pop back into our centres and check on your baby. We are community-focused and family-owned childcare centres, so we want everyone to feel welcome and at home at Child’s Play ELC. If you are concerned about starting, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our educators or check out some of our other articles about what to expect when starting at Child’s Play.