Set­tling in

Little Treasures - - CHILD­CARE CHOICES -

If your child is ac­cus­tomed to be­ing at home with you full-time, then any change to that rou­tine could be dif­fi­cult for them (es­pe­cially if they are older and more aware of who is around them). Chil­dren crave se­cu­rity and rou­tine, but a day full of new, fun ac­tiv­i­ties can be a won­der­ful dis­trac­tion. Many ser­vices will have a tran­si­tion pe­riod for new chil­dren, where they may visit for an hour or two at a time with their par­ent or care­giver, in the week ahead of start­ing, to get used to the new en­vi­ron­ment and new peo­ple. Pro­vide a back­grounder on your child. Write a few para­graphs to in­tro­duce the child to their new carer/s. It’s use­ful to pro­vide spe­cific de­tails of their sleep/feeding rou­tine, as well as any likes and dis­likes. Ex­pect the first few weeks of good­byes at drop-off to be hard on both of you. But hav­ing con­fi­dence in the ser­vice you have cho­sen should help you feel more calm and com­fort­able, so your child won’t see you get­ting up­set too. The first drop-offs could take slightly longer, but try to re­duce the time it takes grad­u­ally so your child gets used to the new rou­tine. (There is noth­ing wrong with cry­ing in the car af­ter you leave for the first few days. Nearly ev­ery mum has done it.) It’s im­por­tant to say good­bye rather than sneak­ing out while they’re dis­tracted. Give them a cud­dle and kiss and tell them when you’ll be back to col­lect them. Then go, and let the carer help them start their day of ac­tiv­i­ties. Lin­ger­ing, fuss­ing or try­ing to re­as­sure will only make it worse. Re­mem­ber that the per­son/peo­ple you are leav­ing them with are trained to look af­ter and re­as­sure them. If they do cry when you leave, know that they won’t cry all day – in fact it prob­a­bly won’t last longer than it takes you to get back in your car. If you’re re­ally up­set by it you can al­ways call later to see how they’ve set­tled in. Some­times a child who has set­tled in well can go through a patch of be­ing up­set at drop-off. Sick­ness, a change in rou­tine, feel­ing un­set­tled for what­ever rea­son can spark a melt­down in a lit­tle per­son, so know that they will come out the other side. If it doesn’t set­tle down af­ter a month, talk to the carer to get their opin­ion on whether the sit­u­a­tion is fix­able. Oth­er­wise you may want to re­assess the best op­tion for your child.

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