For parents and children starting child care for the first time separation anxiety is common.
For many children, child care is their first experience of extended separation from their parents and for many parents the guilt they have about leaving their child can make the first few days of child care an emotional time.
A little preparation can go a long way towards decreasing the anxiety felt by both children and parents as your family becomes accustomed to the new arrangement.
The best way to prepare you and your child is to start an ‘acclimatisation' program as early as you can, so when you have secured a place in the centre of your choice take your child in for a visit as soon as you can.
If possible ask the director of the centre to give you a tour and encourage your child to play with the other children.
Most centres will let you bring your child in for supervised visits in the weeks leading up to the start date so take them up on the offer!
Your child will be a lot happier once he/she is familiar with the new environment and you will feel more comfortable once you know the carers and some of the other kids.
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During the preliminary visits, as your child becomes familiar with the child care environment try and stay out of sight and encourage your child to interact with the other children.
Engage in lots of positive conversation about starting child care and try and maintain an upbeat attitude. Your child will gain confidence from your confidence, and will eagerly get out of the car.
Ask if you can take your child in for a visit as soon as you can.