The introduction into long day care can be difficult for children and parents. Children’s welfare and happiness are the priority for staff when welcoming new children to the Centre and when assisting the family to settle into the centre environment. It is recognised that families needs will vary greatly in the orientation process and individual needs will be met as best is possible.
The following outlines some helpful hints for parents on settling their child into care:-
Make sure you familiarise your child with the environment and the people in the environment (children and adults) by coming in for visits before commencing care.
Ease your child into care with short stays to begin with.
Provide a favourite toy, blanket or comforter to support your child when they are separating from you or settling to sleep. This can help your child feel more secure.
If your child is unsettled, short visits with you will help your child to gain trust with an unfamiliar environment. These visits can be made on a day when your child is not booked to attend. Please call before hand to arrange an orientation visit.
Interactions between staff and parents or staff and other children can produce positive role models and be reassuring. This experience can help to establish trust in an unfamiliar setting.
Try to talk at home about child care. Mention the names of the staff and other children. Talk about the things the child will be able to do at child care that are fun and enjoyable.
Talk to the staff about your child, for example, what they like to do; successful ways of settling them to sleep; foods they like and dislike and so on. This helps staff to get to know your child.
When leaving your child it is best to make sure you say goodbye and then leave. Hesitating and not going after you have said your goodbyes, if a child is upset, only confuses them. Reassure your child that everything is alright and you will return later, this can help them to settle.
It sometimes helps to establish a routine when leaving. For example, giving your child a cuddle and giving them to a staff member or sitting down with them for a short play or reading a book together then leaving.
At first some children protest strongly while others may take a day or two to realise that you are leaving them and begin to protest after several days. Children soon learn that you do return and in the mean time they are well cared for.