6 Tips for Settling a Preschooler in Childcare
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The best way to prepare your preschooler for the transition to childcare is to start as early as possible.

Starting early helps you and your child become comfortable with the new routine, allowing him or her to make a smooth transition when the time comes. A daily routine also helps your child to feel more comfortable and ready for school.

The following tips will help you prepare your child for childcare:

1. Visit the daycare center or preschool

If you have already decided on a childcare provider, make frequent visits there before you enroll your child. The more familiar your child is with the facility, the easier it will be for him or her to adjust.

Make sure that you take some time out of each visit for one-on-one playtime with your child so that he or she can get used to spending time with other children and staff members at the center.

If possible, bring your child’s favorite toys from home so that he or she can interact with them in their new environment.

You may also want to encourage other parents of children who attend the center to bring their children along during one of your visits so that they can get a feel for what it is like inside.

2. Talk about what happens at daycare and school

While you are visiting the daycare center, spend some time talking about what happens there throughout the day: “We go outside every morning after breakfast,” “We do art projects on Tuesdays,” etc.

It’s also a good idea to talk about things that happen at home such as “We go swimming on Saturday,” “Mommy takes me shopping on Fridays,” etc.

Make your child become familiar with routines at both locations and feel comfortable in both places. Goodbye routines at home and goodbye routines at daycare should become like a comfortable pair of shoes.

6 Tips for Settling a Preschooler in Childcare

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash.

3. Read books about childcare and school together several times a week

Children love books! Reading together gives you an opportunity to spend quality time together while also giving you an opportunity to introduce new topics of conversation related to preschool.

It can be about making friends, being kind, learning letters and numbers, etc. All things that can help ease any concerns he or she may have regarding attending school or daycare.

You can also use stuffed animals to help create a sense of connection and give the child a sense of security.

4. Invite other kids to play together

Encourage other parents in your social circle who have children in preschool or daycare programs to invite their kids over often.

If your child gets used to spending time around other kids his age, he will also become comfortable in different settings (e.g., houses, parks).

Give time for children to play and interact with other children, and you will find that it becomes a fun activity for them.

RELATED: How to Manage Your Children’s First Day at Daycare

5. Make a school necessities list

Let your child help you make a list of things to bring from home and what to pack in his or her backpack when he or she will attend daycare or preschool.

While this may seem like a simple decision, it’s surprising how many parents don’t take the time to actually sit down with their children and talk about what they need to bring with them.

Letting your child participate in the packing process is a great way for him or her to feel more involved and invested in the new routine.

6. Introduce your child to other children

Introduce your child to other children who attend the daycare center, preschool, or school by making playdates.

If you know another parent whose child attends the same daycare center, preschool, or school as your child, arrange for an informal playdate. Give them lots of reassurance and talk about what a good time your child had.

Also, practice a goodbye ritual so that they don’t develop separation anxiety. A wind-down period can be a way to give them a good night’s sleep.

Make Childcare Setting a Safe Place

Preparing your child for childcare is important, but can be difficult as well. Your child’s readiness for childcare will differ from child to child, but the earlier you start, the better.

And while it may seem like a difficult transition at first, most children adjust to their new routines easily once they get started.

Our blog, The Mindful Parent, will help you with your child’s transition to childcare. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.