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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Advice about starting your child into daycare

We are about to start day two of day care.  I start a new job in one week, BIG adjustment.  I have been my own boss working with animals for over 10 years, stay at home mom for over a year and NOW…..  I will be starting work in customer service.  I haven’t held a 9 – 5 job in over 15 years.  Come to think of it, I haven’t sat in one place in over 15 years.  There will be a lot of things to consider.  My first priority is my family.  I don’t want my job to get in the way of my time spent with family. Also, I am worried about Lily’s adjustment to the change. 

In my efforts to make this transition the best for Lily, I have done a lot of research.  I found some interesting advice.  A lot of the advice is very helpful in handling any transition for anyone.

1.  Take it slow, don't just drop off and leave.  Maybe start the transition with only one hour, gradually increasing the time.
2.  Be sure to say goodbye, don't sneak away.  Your child will feel tricked and abandoned.  They always remember to look for you.
3.  Don't stress about leaving.  Show your child that you are excited about the experience.  Most importantly demonstrate to your child that you trust the daycare employees.  Children are very perceptive and sensitive to our feelings.  They know more about what we are feeling than we do.
4.  Don't force your child to interact.  Those of you who have a child you can force, you are lucky!!!!  Lily won't be forced to do anything.
5.  Let your child observe the situation.  Sometimes that might involve a few visits together for a short amount of time, moving towards gradually increasing the amount of time with and without you. 
6.  I have been told over and over to just rip off the band aid and go.  Don't listen to this advice.  In the beginning, plan to spend some time helping your child adjust to the rules.  Don't stay at a daycare that doesn't allow parent involvement.  Of course after the transition time is complete you can take the band aid approach to saying good bye.
7.  Don't set a time limit on the process.  It will only frustrate you and make your child feel pressured.  No one can be forced into change, they have to be willing to accept it.

I have been training horses, who have been abused for many years now.  It was very surprising to find the similarities.  Desensitization is one the most important parts of horse training.  Famous trainers have been asked "How long does this take?  Why won't my horse just get over it?"   Their advice is "It takes as long as it takes!!!!  PATIENCE!!"  I have chosen to live by this advice in all aspects of my life.  I never guessed it would apply to child rearing as well.

During Lily's first day, I tried a few of the techniques.  As we walked in the door, she was very curious.  She walked around the lobby then headed in the direction of her classroom.  (We had already visited for a little while the day before.)  I sat on the floor and waited.  She sat in my lap for only a few seconds.  The children came up to her immediately and her curiosity took over.  She left me only to return once for a reassuring hug.  I left after about 20 minutes, as she was playing with the others.

Good start, but after my departure she cried off and on for an hour.  I returned at lunch time, she was refusing to eat and crying.  I sat down next to her.  She stopped crying and had a little lunch.  During nap time, I laid beside her cot.  She was happy (and of course not sleepy).  She seemed much more relaxed, she even wanted to play.  We stayed for 30 min. of nap time, just so I could show her the routine.

This process and day care are the best thing for her.  I found the benefits, just by watching how the other children were acting.  They were more independent and happy.  I want this for Lily.

We will see how today goes.....   Stay tuned.  I know we can do it.

Shannon Henrici – NWAtlantaMommies Member since August 2008. Shannon Henrici is a writer for My Baby Clothes Boutique where you can shop for trendy baby clothing, adorable baby hair bows and much more.


  1. Thank you for the advice. I am starting Daycare with my daughter next monthe when she is 1 year old!

  2. Good luck! It really worked for Lily. She was fine, no crying when I left, after 2 weeks. Everyone at the day care was shocked she adjusted so quickly. I will be glad to help with anything you might need. I am on facebook Shannon Henrici and a member of NWAtlanta Mommies. My honest belief is that starting her in daycare was the best thing I have done for her. She seems so happy and loves being around the other children. I think she believes she is the one who is leaving me, not the other way around.


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