If you and your spouse both work and you have a child young enough to require constant care when you are not around, you are likely looking at placing your child in a day care center. Conducting research on every local child care center before selecting the best one might put your mind at ease, but it may not do much to help calm your child if he or she often experiences separation anxiety. For that, you'll need a game plan for how to prepare your child for the road ahead.
Go Over the Schedule in Detail
First things first, you'll want to set expectations. Your child might be scared if there is uncertainty about what is going to happen when Mommy and Daddy aren't around. Write down a detailed schedule of all events and activities at the day care center and go over it with your kid. Some child care centers give the children an option of different activities they can take part in, so this would be a good time to get a feel for what your child might like.
Let Them Buy a Special Backpack or Another Item to Mentally Prepare
It can also help if you let your child take an active role in at least some of the decision making leading up to the first day of the day care experience. If you are buying them new clothes or a backpack or lunch box for the occasion, take your child shopping with you and let them pick out a thing or two. Designate this item as "special" because they get to take it with them when they go to the day care. Some day care centers might also let the child take a special stuffed animal or similar item from home with them to the center.
Start Social Interaction Early If Possible
Ideally, you don't want the first day at the child care center to be the first time your child interacts with someone their own age. If they are only just starting kindergarten, you might need to put in a little more work to get them socially developed. Reach out to family or friends with other small children and try to schedule a play date or two. Watch your child closely and if they have a problem with sharing or other issues, try to correct it or at least let the day care center professionals know what they are getting into when you arrive.
For more tips on how to prepare your child for day care, reach out to a local child care center today.