5-6 YEARS OLD
If your kid is feeling distressed about switching to a new childcare centre, take these steps.
You moved to a new home recently, and your ﬁve-yearold is delighted with her bigger bedroom. If only she could have continued going to the same childcare centre, with the same friends and the same teachers.
In fact, she says attending this new childcare centre makes her miserable, because she has lost all her old friends. She doesn’t like the new centre. And she acts up whenever you take her there.
Hopefully you had arranged a pre-attendance visit to the new centre so she could have a good look around before she started. That would have helped reduce her uncertainty and allowed her to forge a connection with the children and adults there. Any concerns or complaints arising from that visit could have been resolved at the outset.
Don’t worry, though, if you didn’t make those pre-move arrangements. There is still plenty you can do to help her settle.
Let me help you
The ﬁrst step in supporting your child is to take her complaints seriously. Tell her you understand she may have mixed feelings about the change of childcare centre, and ask her to share her worries with you. Listen to what she says and consider all her anxieties.
Reassure her you will help her settle into the new centre, no matter what she is concerned about. Offer practical solutions to every problem she raises.
For instance, if she worries about losing touch with her old friends, arrange for her to visit them regularly or for her to keep in contact with them by phone or social media.
If she is concerned because the food at the new centre isn’t what she is used to, give her a packed lunch from home until she feels ready to try the meals available there.
If she is anxious because she still hasn’t made good friends with anyone there, arrange play dates for her by speaking to parents of the other children. There is always something you can do.
Always talk positively about the new centre to your child. List all its good points, such as the range of activities, the excellent building, and the quality of the teachers. If you have an upbeat approach, this will rub off on your youngster. She takes her lead from you.
Keep taking her there every day, no matter how much she protests, complains or acts up. Never let her stay at home when she says she doesn’t want to attend. She must realise attendance is non-negotiable.
When you go there with her, stay calm and chat happily to her. Take her inside, hand her over to a member of staff, give her a quick hug and say goodbye to her. Don’t linger.
Keep a close watch on your child’s progress at her new centre, particularly in the ﬁrst few months. Every day, ask her about her activities there. Encourage her to talk to you about her peers, teachers and toys.
If you observe any distress, give her advice or speak to her teacher. Your interest resolves minor issues so they don’t become crises, so your child feels safe and secure during the transition.
Keep taking her there every day. Never let her stay at home when she says she doesn’t want to attend.