Trusting someone else to watch your child is one of the hardest things to do as a parent. Especially if you or a grandparent has been home with them until now. After you’ve done the work to find the right daycare, you are on to an even more stressful part of the process. Trying to prepare your toddler for the first day of daycare.
How will he react? Will she hit another kid? What if he doesn’t make any friends or cries the entire time until you get back? I don’t have all the answers to these questions. But there are some things you can do to help transition your toddler to daycare.
Make sure you get your FREE printable Daycare Checklist from the Resource Library so you don’t forget anything your baby might need.
how to prepare your toddler for the first day of daycare
It will be a big change for your child and there are many things that you don’t really know, until you know. Take these tips and tricks to try to make the transition to daycare a little easier for your toddler (and you!).
SIMPLE IDEAS TO EASE THE TRANSITION TO DAYCARE
Build up the immune system
I expected some germs and things. Really I did. But girl…. when I started to work at the daycare and both my kids started attending we were sick for over 2 months. I’m not even kidding. And my daughter is still fighting ear infections (going on 7 weeks).
First, we all got the classic stuffy nose and cough. Not a big deal. Then we all had Influenza A which lasts for 5 days and comes with a 103+ fever, body aches, and the inability to move if you are an adult. That high of a fever is no joke as an adult y’all. We moved straight into the stomach flu after that.
Then my daughter got Roseola, double ear infections, and broke out in hives due to a penicillin allergy we discovered after her second prescription for augmentin in 8 weeks. YUP. It was rough. And I was unprepared.
Make sure that you are better prepared than I was. There are things you can do to strengthen your child’s immune system when they transition to daycare. And a few things I highly recommend you stock up on just in case. Because kids are gross and they will bring home germs and sickness no matter what you do.
Children’s Elderberry Chews – Elderberry is great for extra immune support and starting this even before the first day of daycare for your toddler will help a lot.
Culturelle Kids Packets Daily Probiotic Supplement – Probiotics can help to keep the system functioning properly and there is absolutely no harm in giving them to your child daily. I pop a packet in both kids first water of the day. It is tasteless so they don’t even notice!
Pedialyte – I try to always have at least 2 bottles in my house so if the kids get diarrhea I don’t have to go out to the store to get some. And this is the thing they have had the most since the transition to daycare. It’s usually not persistent or longer than a day but I give them a little Pedialyte as necessary to keep up those electrolytes and avoid dehydration.
Other things to keep handy include kleenex, children’s Tylenol, and children’s ibuprofen.
Get them outside
If the weather is good they will likely play outside a couple of times a day. It will be great for them to be active and get fresh air. But for some kids, it can be very different than what they are used to.
So take some extra trips to the park and let them climb around on the equipment, get dirty in the sand, and fall down a few times. It will help them be familiar with a playground and feel more comfortable when they start daycare.
work on sharing
Being at daycare means playing with other kids all day long. So if you don’t have any other kids at home, then make sure that you do your est to introduce the concept of sharing.
I don’t want you to feel guilty if your child snatches things from others, all toddlers do. But helping them realize that other people can play with their toys will set them up for quicker success once they do transition to daycare.
Adjust your routine
If you have time, this can be a huge help in making the transition to daycare easier for your toddler.
Toddlers thrive on routine. Heck, I thrive on routine LOL. So when you find the perfect daycare for your situation, ask them what a day will generally look like for your child’s room. Then adjust your daily schedule to mimic it if you can.
For example, my son is in the 2-year-old room where they do free play and breakfast for those that bring it until a certain time. Then it is circle time with a book, a song or two, followed by a quick craft (coloring, painting, etc), then a snack. Each of those things has a way of happening too. Snack time always comes with napkins passed out, then food, then cups. The kids throw away their napkin/leftover food when they are done and then wash their hands at the sink. After that, it’s diaper changes/potty break and outside play until lunchtime.
As you can tell, the entire day just flows from one thing to another. It’s very easy to just spill it all out because it is x then y then z. So beginning to set your day up at home similarly can be very beneficial. Toddlers love to know what to expect next and being able to go do it. So this step in preparing your toddler for the first day of daycare can be the most helpful if you have a few days to implement it!
Don’t have a routine? Making a Real-life Daily Schedule for Toddlers could be a good start!
Don’t forget to prepare yourself
Especially if you have been staying at home for a while, you may have a hard time with your toddler starting daycare too.
So make sure that you have asked any questions that you have at the daycare provider so you know what to expect. Will you be getting a daily report? Can you call to check in if you want to? What if your toddler doesn’t like what is served for lunch?
The 2 biggest things you should be prepared for are:
- Your child will probably cry when you leave. Toddlers are old enough to understand that you are handing them over and leaving. But they may not totally get that you will come back. Not yet at least. And they don’t know their teachers or the kids at all. So on their first day of daycare, there will probably be some tears. And if I’m being totally honest, you should expect it for the first couple weeks. But I promise, one day your child will run into that classroom to give his teacher a hug and just go straight into playing. It may just take some time.
- You might cry too. If you are used to being there for everything, every bump, milestone, smile, and meal then you may feel very emotional about missing things while your child is at daycare. You will probably feel like you are making the wrong choice going back to work and “letting someone else raise your child”. But none of that is true. The internet is mean y’all! Don’t listen to what other people say. Taking my kids to daycare has been one of the best things I have done for them. And working there has been one of the best things I have done for me in a long time! It’s totally fine if you miss them during the day. But don’t let it make you think you are a bad mom. Not ever.
Don’t forget to get your FREE printable Daycare Checklist from the Resource Library so you don’t forget anything for your toddler’s first day at daycare!