Settling Children into Childcare: Our Top Tips!
The New Year brings new starts. Whether it be a child’s first day in childcare, starting in a new room, with a new educator, or even a return to childcare after holidays. These new starts make for an emotional and unsettled time for both children and parents. Here, we share our top tips on settling children into childcare.
If a child is starting childcare for the first time:
- Orientation Visits: Before their first day, we encourage parents to bring their child in for one hour long Orientation Visits. This gives the child the opportunity to meet their teachers and become familiar with the new environment, while having you there to comfort and assure them.
- TGA Welcome Pack: During your Orientation Visit, you will receive a Welcome Pack for your child. This will include our Buddy the bird comfort toy and book, “Going to the Grove”. This book is all about a day at The Grove Academy and reading it to your little one in the lead up to their start date will help them to understand what they can expect when “Going to the Grove”!
- Tell us a little about your child: We also ask parents to fill out an “A Little About Me” form which gives our educators an overview of your child’s routine, their likes, dislikes and more. The more we know about their little personalities the more tools we have to help settle them.
- Mama Bear Program: Our Mama Bear Program features experienced mothers and grandmothers who have been employed as “comfort specialists” at the Grove. Their main duties will include loving cuddles, settling children into care, nursing our little ones, sending children off to dreamland and assisting with feeding. Each Mama Bear has been hand-picked by our team because of their warm, loving nature, gentle approach and cuddling credibility – you can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy in their presence. Our aim of the program is for these Mama Bears to become familiar, reassuring faces for our children and their families.
When your drop off your child:
- Don’t rush off: We recommend staying with your child for five to ten minutes for the first few days. When you arrive, direct them to an activity they might be interested in, watch them as they participate in this activity, or even try reading them a book.
- Engage with their educators: Chatting to the educators and modelling a friendly, trusting relationship, helps your child to also build these connections with their educators. You’ll find as soon as your child has formed a strong bond with an educator, drop offs become a lot easier.
- Say goodbye: When it is time to go, we recommend telling your child you will be leaving, when you will be returning and of course saying goodbye with a hug and a kiss. Saying goodbye often makes it easier for the educators to settle your child. On the other hand, it is important not to linger as this may be unsettling for the child, say your goodbye once and then go.
When you pick-up your child:
- Earlier pick-ups: If possible, we encourage parents to collect their child earlier for the first few visits. The shorter days can make the child happier and the day seem more manageable as they adjust to their new environment.
- Talk: Talk to your child on the way home about their day. Use your journey home as a valuable opportunity to reconnect with your child after your day apart. Sing together, ask questions about their day and activities they participated in.
Tips to help parents settle into the childcare routine:
- Be organised: Plan their outfits, pack their bags the night before, or do some dinner meal prep to make childcare evenings easier. A little organisation will go a long way when it comes to settling you all into a routine.
- We’ll call you: For our new starters, we will call you half way through the day to give you an update on how your child is going.
- Call us: You are also welcome to contact the centre throughout the day to check on how your child is going.
- Updates via the Parent Portal: Missing your little ones? Log into our Parent Portal to get an update on your child’s day. Gush over photos, read about all the activities they have done and view their daily eat/sleep charts. Login in to the Parent Portal here: Parent Portal
Sometimes a cuddle is the most important thing! We understand how emotional settling children into childcare can be for both children and parents. We want to assure you that our educators will comfort your child by giving cuddles and positive reassurance and keeping them occupied by playing with them.
We’d also like to assure you that settling children into childcare can take some time, however the majority of children do eventually settle. Perseverance pays off in the end as you will have a happy and confident child. Good luck!