Daycare might look fun, but when your little one clings to you, determined not to be left behind, it can suddenly switch to an overwhelming ordeal. As difficult as this may be, young children usually settle down after a week. If your child hasn’t, it might be worth switching schools. However, before you take this step, try the following tips to make the transition into daycare easier for your toddler:
- Make Sure Your Toddler Is Well Nourished
It’s not unusual for young children to reject food at a new daycare as an act of defiance. To counteract hungry-grumpiness, pack extra toddler formula that the school can use should they need to top your little one up with additional nutrients. There’s nothing like a hungry tummy to make an unimportant detail become a world tragedy in the life of a toddler. If you want your little one to tackle this life change bravely and with boldness, a full tummy will go a long way.
- Take A Comfort Item
Does your little one have a favorite blanket or an important soft toy? Allow them to keep it. There are conflicting theories about whether or not this is a wise move, but it certainly is the most compassionate approach. A change like this is truly unsettling for little ones, so small comforts can safeguard their mental health. As adults, we have learned to regulate our emotions with our thoughts, but little children require external tools to do this. A comfort item is an absolute necessity.
- Get Into A Daily Routine
A daily routine helps a child to feel safe and secure. Predictability creates parameters for the child’s world, meaning they know what to expect. If you follow the same morning routine before drop-off each day, and stick to a predictable routine when you fetch them in the afternoons, you’ll create a sense of safety around the concept of attending daycare (and later, school). Weekends can throw the routine off, so you may find Mondays more challenging. It will take a few months before the idea of a weekend is properly integrated in your toddler’s mind.
- Be Trustworthy
Don’t make false promises to pacify your toddler. Leaving you each day requires a tremendous amount of trust. They need to believe that you will come back. When you fail to deliver on your promises, you’ll destroy the trust and make it more difficult for your child to leave you in the mornings. The fear of abandonment is very real and present in every young child. So, it’s imperative that you prove to them that you’ll always stick to your promises.
- Offer Extra Support At Home
During this transition phase, you may notice your toddler becomes a lot more clingy and needy at home. Though this may be exhausting, it’s a cry for reassurance from your little one. They need to know that daycare is something to be happy about. This belief will only arise if you’re happy to see them and accommodating of any little bouts of clinginess. This phase is temporary, so while it lasts, think of it as an opportunity to further develop trust between you and your child.
Daycare is a difficult commitment for some children. Some may run in each day with confidence, while others simply can’t let go of their mothers. This is never a reflection of the child’s home life or ability to thrive. Embrace how important you are to your little one, and exercise extra patience during this trying phase.