Preparing for the First Day

New experiences can be stressful. Some children adjust to a new child care situation almost immediately, others might take several months.

Follow your child’s lead and give them the time they need to adjust. These tips will help you prepare your child for their first day at a new child care or preschool  and help you establish a good working relationship with their care providers and teachers.

  • Act positively about this new experience. Your child will pick up on your feelings.
  • Ease your child into a new experience by planning a few short visits to the child care facility or preschool before they begin full-time.
  • Talk about and practice your new routine. Allow plenty of time for drop-off and be as consistent as possible on your pick-up time.
  • Say good-bye the same way each day. Avoid “sneaking out”. Instead, explain that you are leaving and when you will return. It is common for a child to cry or fuss when you leave. To feel more at ease, call for a status report when you get to work.
  • Take time each day to talk with your provider or teacher about your child’s daily schedule, sleeping routines, eating habits, etc.
  • Ask your child to describe the events of their day. Note things they enjoyed and things that were stressful for them.
  • Make sure your child gets proper rest and nutrition. New experiences can be exhausting.
  • Ask if your child can bring a favorite toy, blanket, or family photo with them. Knowing that item is in their cubby or close by can help a child feel more secure.
  • Read stories to your child that deal with feelings and new surroundings.

    - The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

    - Caillou: Day Care by Christine L’Heureux

    - Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

    - Jesse’s Daycare by Amy Valens

    - Mommy Don’t Go by Elizabeth Crary

Two-way communication and mutual respect are important components of a positive child care experience no matter if you’re just starting with a new provider or have been taking your child to the same person for years.

Check out the Child Care Aware parent resources section more tips about finding, choosing and using child care.