Transitioning from being home with you to starting day care can be tough for young kids. Their routine will change, they'll miss you, and they may not understand why they now attend day care. You can make their transition smoother by helping them understand what to expect and getting them excited about the fun things they'll do at day care. Here are two props you can use at home to help your child see day care as a positive experience:
Personalised Board Book
There are a number of online businesses making fully customised board books for preschool children. You simply have to let them know what you want on each page and the book will be made up according to your specifications. You can provide your own images or choose from the company's bank of popular images. You could use a board book to show your child all the fun activities they'll do at day care, such as playing in a sandbox, finger painting, having lunch with other kids and story time. You can also include other parts of their routine at day care, such as naptime. This will remove some of the mystery of what to expect, and if you use positive language when looking through the book, your child will feel excited about all the fun they're going to have.
Day care providers will be happy to let you take some pictures of their facilities before your child joins them. Staff generally understand the benefit of a child recognising their faces on their first day, so they are happy to provide a picture of themselves or let you take their picture. Creating a photo gallery on an easily accessible wall in your home gives your child the opportunity to become familiar with the day care setting before they start attending, and it encourages them to ask questions and have conversations about day care with you. They'll enjoy seeing the toys they can play with and where they'll have lunch, and when they walk into day care on their first day you can point out all the things they're used to looking at on their special photo wall at home.
These props will help prepare your child for their new adventure and let them understand you see day care as a positive place, which can be helpful as kids are intuitive and pick up on their parents' feelings. If your child seems fussy for a couple of weeks when they start day care, rest assured this is quite normal. They are adapting to a new routine and can get tired from running around all day with other children.