Settling Into Early Education and Care
Enrolling your child into care for the first time can be a daunting experience for some. There may be mixed emotions, such as excitement, nervousness or anxiety, which can all be normal feelings when your child begins care. Your child might be feeling excited and ready to meet their educators and new friends, or they may be worried about being in an unfamiliar place with new people. In the weeks leading up to your child’s first day and during the first few weeks there are several things you can do which can help ease any feelings of worry you may have.
In the weeks leading up to their first day:
- Talk to your child regularly about what is happening and where they are going.
- Bring your child with you for your initial tour of the centre.
- Plan orientation visits with the centre and stay with your child for as long as you feel comfortable.
- Find out who the educators in your child’s room will be. Talk about them and use their names often to help your child to become familiar with them.
- Involve your child in helping to buy their new school bag or clothes and get them to assist in packing their school bag.
- Talk to the centre director and your child’s educators about your child’s needs and any specific information you may need to pass on, such as dietary needs or specific daily routines.
In the first few weeks:
- Ring the centre during the day and talk to your child’s educators. Ask how your child’s day is going and offer advice if your child needs extra comfort.
- Give regular reminders to your child on the days they attend and always add an exciting activity which they can do. For example, “Tomorrow you get to go to Tillys to play with your friends and educators, I wonder what painting and craft will be ready for you when you get there.”
- Try to drop your child off at the centre at the same time each day. This helps them to become familiar with the educators who are there on arrival.
- If your child is taking some time to settle in, regularly remind them that you will always come back to pick them up in the afternoon.
- Ask your child how their day was after picking them up. Discuss some activities that they were involved in.
- Try to ensure they attend on their regular days and are consistent to establish bonds with the educators and children they see often.
It is normal for some children to take longer to feel comfortable within their surroundings and build trusted bonds with new adults and children. Your centre director and room educators are always there for support and guidance. Always remember to seek them out with any questions or advice.