October 7, 2019

To the Mama Sending Her Baby to Daycare for the First Time

Daycare - a seven letter word that carries so many different emotions.

Anxiety. Because it means your maternity leave is nearing an end and you’re starting to think about
going back to work.

Guilt. Because you may second guess every decision you make when it comes to going back to work,
your child’s care, etc. (that is, if you haven’t been already).

Happiness. Because it may mean a few days of “freedom” each week where you can focus on yourself while knowing your child is in a safe space.

Pride. Because you will be able to watch your child learn and grow - mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.

Frustration. Because some of those things that your child learns may be less than desirable behaviours.

Worry. Because daycare can be associated with… illness.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

At least, those were some of the emotions that were swirling in my head when my oldest daughter went to daycare for the first time.

I’m not going to lie, daycare is an emotional experience. Really though, that’s parenthood - a roller
coaster of emotions.

But despite all of those emotions I went through, you know what?

She survived. She thrived. She absolutely loved it. And when I did it all over again at the end of the
summer with my second daughter, I took a lesson from my own playbook, and stayed calm, cool and collected as I kissed her goodbye on that very first day, and all of those that followed.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

For you mamas that are getting ready to send your little one off for the first time, rest assured, day-care does not need to be “day-scare”. To help both you and your child navigate this big change in routine, check out these tips that I used to help prepare for a positive first daycare experience.

Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

Start the change in routine early. If attending daycare requires a new schedule (i.e. waking up earlier, eating breakfast at a different time, etc.), begin this new routine several days before to make the transition easier for your child. When you register, ask for a copy of their daily schedule so that you can plan accordingly.

Ease into it. Take advantage of the transition week. A slow, part-time introduction to the new
environment works best for many kids. Most centres also give parents the choice of dropping off and
leaving or hanging around for a bit during the first week.

Trust and communicate. While the thought of someone else caring for your child, teaching your child new things and creating memories with your child may scare you (and even make you a wee bit jealous), remember this is their job. They are licensed professionals, so you must put your trust in them. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child, make sure they are heard and addressed immediately.

Start a goodbye routine. Establishing a specific goodbye routine will help your child be more
comfortable at drop-off time, so begin one the first day. Even if your child is upset, stay calm. A
confident attitude will help reassure your little one that everything will be okay. It may sound cruel, but sometimes the best method is to just leave. They will quickly be distracted by a new friend or toy, and forget why they were even upset.

Be patient. Be flexible. The first week of daycare involves an adjustment for you, as well as your child. Be patient. It will take some time, but everything will work out for the both of you. If you are heading back to work right away, make sure your employer is aware of your situation. You might need a little extra flexibility in your schedule over the next few days to establish your new routine.

Be prepared. Most daycares will provide parents with a list of items to bring beforehand. This usually includes diapers, wipes, extra clothes, indoor shoes, weather-appropriate outdoor clothing, expressed milk/formula, etc.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

Being prepared also means prepping for the things that happen away from daycare, like one of my big worries - illness.

In daycare, colds spread easily among children because they often touch their noses, eyes and put
objects in their mouths during play. In fact, children under the age of 2 can suffer from as many as eight to 10 colds a year (2.).

Fact is, colds are likely inevitable when it comes to daycare. But, there is something that can help with the unpleasant side effects. Advil Pediatric Drops (for children age 4 months to 3 years) reduce fever for up to 8 hours while also relieving pain due to colds, sore throat—so your baby can rest peacefully while at home. They also come with a SURE-DOSE™ oral syringe, for precise and easy dosing.

So part of that preparation? Stocking up on pain relief (and plenty of sick days) when baby first goes to daycare.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

It may be hard to hand your baby over to someone else, but preparing yourself for what’s to come while focusing on the friends they'll make, the new things they'll learn and the fun they'll have will make the both of you feel better about the experience.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share for preparing for a first daycare experience? I'd love to hear!

*Disclosure: I have partnered with Children’s Advil, and have received compensation for this post. As always, all opinions and experiences are 100% that of To & Fro. Be sure this product is right for your kids, always read and follow the label.

1. https://www.babycenter.ca/x1049702/do-kids-in-daycare-get-sick-more-oftenthan-kids-who-stay-home
2. https://www.cps.ca/en/media/cold-fighting-tips


Tips for a Positive First Daycare Experience

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