9 things every parent must know before sending their child to daycare
While sending their child to daycare might be a practical decision for most parents, they also worry about whether their child will be happy and healthy in that space. There are a number of things that you can do to make sure that his health and happiness levels stay high. Read on to find out more.
Separating from your child can be difficult, very difficult in fact. However, for a majority of working parents, putting their child in a daycare is often the only option.
You may feel anxious about this decision, especially because it is perhaps the first time that your child will be spending extended periods of time outside of the home, under a stranger’s care.
When it comes to sending your child to daycare, you are likely to worry about whether he will be healthy, will his immunity hold up, will he continue to develop intellectually and will he be happy and well settled in the new environment.
Here are some ways in which you can help make this moment of transition easier for yourself and your child.
A. When selecting a daycare
#1 Put safety first
The safety and well-being of your child is usually the most fundamental concern. You need to make sure that the daycare centre you are evaluating has the right emergency protocols in place and is equipped to handle the safety needs of young children.
You can also ask additional questions such as: Do the children have to use stairs every day? Do the children have access to the kitchen? If someone other than you is collecting your child, what is the verification process?
Also, one of the key factors to evaluate is the student-caregiver/teacher ratio, as one of the most important safety measures is constant adult supervision. A smaller ratio means that each child, including yours will receive more focused and individualized care.
#2 Do the white glove test
With constant cases of hand-foot-mouth disease and flu, extremely high standards of cleanliness and hygiene are absolutely essential at a daycare centre. Before the age of two, your child’s immunity is extremely vulnerable and therefore it is extremely important that they be in as hygienic an environment as possible.
Always check if the staff is diligent about washing their own and the children’s hands and if they keep the eating, sleeping, playing areas as well as the diaper changing areas spotlessly clean.
Also watch out for musty smells, which could be indicative of poor ventilation.
#3 Ensure there is quality food and nutrition
The right kind of food and nutrition is absolutely essential in ensuring proper physical and intellectual development. Always request to see the menu plans for the week to assess their nutritional value. See if you can schedule a visit during mealtime so that you can observe the portion sizes served as well as the eating habits inculcated at the centre.
B. Before starting daycare
#4 Create a new routine at home
Your child’s routine will change when he starts pre-school. Perhaps bedtime will have to be made earlier, (for yourself and your child) so that you have enough time to get ready in the mornings. A rushed start to the day can unsettle many toddlers (and adults).
So if you are starting a new sleep schedule, give your family at least a couple of days to get used to it.
#5 Take your child to visit the centre
If your child is old enough to understand, talk to them about the fact that they will be starting daycare. Prepare him for what he will experience there, sharing as many details as you can. You may need to explain more than once.
One of the most important things that you can do, is to actually take your child to visit the daycare centre at least once before he starts. This way he will be able to explore the space with you next to him, be able to explore and ask questions. This will give him a strong sense of security.
#6 Send something from home
If they want to, let your child take in a plush toy or a blanket into the daycare centre. In fact you can encourage them to take one in, as taking something from home into a new space can help your child feel more secure and comfortable in his new environment.
#7 Build up their immunity
With a large number of children in one space, daycare centres can be a hotbed for viral infections. Children under two years of age don’t have fully mature immune systems. Therefore parents must take extra steps to ensure that they do everything they can to build their child’s immunity before they start daycare.
As a first step, make sure that your child’s immunisations are up-to-date and that they have a healthy and nutritious diet containing Prebiotic Blend (scGOS : lcFOS (9:1)), Zinc, and Iron to help support your child’s natural defences.
C. After the first day
#8 Plan Extra Bonding Time
After your child spends a big part of the day away from you, he needs that extra snuggling or those extra cuddles. You need to work at creating that extra time to bond with your child after you pick them up from daycare. If your child is a bit older, you could do a fun activity with them, such as a walk in the park, or reading at bedtime.
#9 Stick with the routine
Predictable routines make children feel secure, so stick to the same wake up time, drop off time and pick up time with your child. Running late in the mornings or at pick up time can be unsettling for many children.
Talking your child through the routine at the daycare also helps them prepare for the day.
Parting from your child can be hard, but knowing that you have taken all the precautions and care in choosing the right daycare and making his transition easier can be very reassuring.
Remember most children have a happy and healthy daycare experience, and after all it is a first step in their much longer journey of education and independence.
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