We understand the stress and worry of putting your child into childcare, as a parent it may be a nerve wracking time for you. For most families a tour, then enrolment and orientation are their first experience with childcare. It may also be the first time your child has been cared for by someone other than a relative or close friend of your family. Therefore, we aim to be as flexible and sensitive to your concerns as possible within regulatory, and care, guidelines within the centre, to ensure that your child and family have a positive childcare experience.
Preparing children for their first day in childcare will help them settle more easily. It’s a good idea to start in the weeks before care.
At 3Bees ELC we require your child and a carer to come to two sessions of orientation before care begins. The enrolment and orientation processes are the key times for you and the educators to exchange important information about your child, family and our service. The information provided by you at this time will aid us in developing an individualised plan for your child.
The orientation process is designed to help your child settle and to provide positive experiences for your child in a new setting. It is therefore important that you are open in providing clear information about your child, which should include specific details about their eating and sleeping routines at home, their likes and dislikes, their interests and health needs. This is also a good time for you to get to know the service environment and childcare professionals so that you can begin to understand what to expect from the service. It is also important to use this time to let the service know what your expectations are for your child’s care. Orientation will help your child get used to the childcare daily routine.
Ask us for a copy of the daily schedule for the room your child will be in, and make this part of your child’s routine at home. If you try to follow the Centre’s lunch, play and nap times, your child might take less time to adjust when care starts. However, young babies who will be in The Hive Room will usually follow their personal routines in childcare settings, so let the educators guide you during orientation on strategies to help in the days before your child’s first days at 3Bees ELC.
By the time you have chosen to place your child at 3Bees ELC you and your child will know who will be looking after her, this might make things easier for settling. In the days or weeks before starting, you can get a photo of the educators in your child’s room and talk about them by name, show the picture to your child so that the educators will be more familiar to your child.
You and your child can also get to know the new childcare setting and carers during the tours and orientation. Your child will get used to the new smells, toys, sounds, faces and voices. You can gently encourage your child to play with the toys and do some activities while you’re there.
Reading or telling stories can be a safe way to explore strong emotions and help your child understand new events. You could try picture books about starting childcare or making new friends. Your local library might have some suggestions. Or you could make up stories to share with your child about the experience. It’s good to include all the feelings and experiences your child might go through – for example, happiness, fun, friendship, sadness, anxiety, apprehension and tiredness.
It’s important to tell your child why they are going to childcare. Detailed explanations are not necessary, but reassuring the child with a sentence along the lines of: “Mummy and Daddy love you very much and we need to go to work and will be back to collect you later.”
Also, talking about childcare with your child is helpful. Describe what will happen there and let your child know that you are happy and confident that they will have a good time and will be cared for while at childcare. Talking positively with your child about the new environment, friends, carers and activities will help both you and your child feel positive too.
Preparing for childcare: the night before
Organising the night before can save you from a last-minute rush in the morning. This can help take the stress out of the first few days and weeks at childcare.
Some tips for the night before starting childcare include: