When you are enrolling your child into daycare and their very first day arrives, it’s very normal to feel overwhelmed, and your child will likely be too especially if they’ve never been to daycare before. The good news is that it does get easier however, here are some fantastic creative ways to prepare your toddler for their first day of daycare.
Make an effort to talk about going to daycare everyday through role play
It’s a good idea to talk to your child every day about going to daycare and what the day will entail when they go. Some creative ways you could do this are with art and books. For example, reading stories about starting daycare and asking your child what they think they will do at daycare and painting or colouring these things into art. You can use role-play to act out what would happen in a typical daycare day. Some ideas would be, getting dressed to head out the door and saying goodbye, nap time, playtime, and song time. Make an effort to assure your child how fun daycare is and that you are so excited for them to have a great time when they go.
Teach them how to be more independent
Independence is something that children can gain over time, and you can help your child to become more independent and ready for daycare. This could include setting up a daily routine that they follow every day. You can make it fun by having a sticker chart that they can add stickers to when they complete the said task on the list. This can help make the transition to daycare that much easier when they know what they need to do to get out the door each day.
Some ways you can encourage your child to be more independent would be by teaching them to wash their hands, use the toilet, pull their pants up, use a fork to eat, put their shoes on etc.
Giving your child these small responsibilities can help to boost confidence when they go to daycare. Try to let your child take the lead when doing things for themselves rather than rushing in to help before they even have a chance to ask you.
Have a few play dates at the daycare before the official day
Have a chat with your daycare provider about your child having a few fun playdates at the centre before they officially enrol and start. This will allow your child to get familiar with daycare and put the word to a place. They can play on the equipment, do some drawings, play in the sandpit or do anything that is fun and will have your child wanting to come back. Aim to do this a few times before they start.
Work on their fine motor skills
Children will be given the opportunity to work on their fine motor skills at daycare, and you can give them a head start by doing it at home with them. This will help them to use all the school supplies with ease and little difficulty. Some fun and creative things they could do at home would be cutting little pieces of coloured paper (using blunt kid-appropriate scissors) and glueing them onto a piece of paper. Other activities could include building with lego pieces, using a pencil, or drawing.
Build their social skills
If your child has been at home with you and your family only, going into a room full of kids, a new environment and new teachers can be daunting, to say the least. If you know of anyone with children of similar age, have a play date. If not, heading to places with other children such as playgrounds or indoor play centres allows them to engage with their peers all while having fun at the same time. The great thing about heading someone local is that they’ll have the chance to interact with all different types of children with all different personalities, and this is exactly what they will encounter when they go to daycare. They can learn to take turns, be kind and socialise with confidence.
Create or buy a comfort item
If your child’s daycare allows your child to bring a comforter with them to school this can help them to transition much easier. If your child doesn’t have a comforter already, you can create a special one together that they can take along with them. A good idea is a palm-sized plush toy that you can store in a small gauze bag. You can tell your child that you are buying this special companion toy that they can take with them and that it stays in their bag. If they miss you or feel upset they can grab and give it a big cuddle. If you have been reading a book about daycare, your child can bring it along for the teacher to read to the class. This is familiar to them and can provide a sense of comfort.
Ready to get creative when preparing your child for daycare?
Some children take to daycare like ducks to water, and others don’t. You know your child’s personality best and whether they’ll be apprehensive or not. Either way, preparing your child for daycare in a creative way can make the transition that much easier.
If you’re looking for a gold coast daycare centre for your child on the Gold Coast, check out our forest school here at Little Saints.