Is it time to head back to work? Get your little one (and yes, yourself) ready for the day she needs to go to child care.
WORDS TEO KUAN YEE
Perhaps you are returning to the workforce or you think that it is time for junior to pick up some social skills or gain some independence. Yes, when your little bub turns 18 months, he is eligible for child care. For some parents who have already set their heart on a particular child care centre, it may be wise to check with its management early on the vacancy availability in case there is a waiting list and you may have to search for an alternative child care service provider. As entering child care marks an important milestone in your child’s development, it is best to prepare him well for the transition. Here are 10 useful tips to help you both adjust to the arrangement.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
Get junior to be comfortable to be by himself for a while – this will make it easier for your child to cope with your absence when he goes to child care. Let him go to his playroom or bedroom on his own (one where you are certain he will be safe without your supervision briefly), and wait for a while before joining him there.
2. Get Him Out of His Shell
Other than you being the primary caregiver, it is time to rope in the help of others such as a grandparent or babysitter so that you can train junior to be separated from you for short bouts of time. This will help set the stage for him to attend full day child care. Initially, you might feel uneasy about leaving your baby with someone else and worry about him while you two are apart but think about the benefits – if your baby is always seeking your attention, you have little time to recharge and prep yourself up to reunite with the working world.
3. Start the Induction Process
Bring him to the playground often for half an hour every day at least – not only does junior get to develop his motor skills, he will also get the opportunity to pick up essential social skills and have fun mixing around with young children of similar age and temperament. Better still, is there a two-hour playgroup that he can attend? This will introduce him to structured play activities within the confines of a stimulating environment under the supervision of caring teachers.
To get junior to socialise more, you can also arrange for playdates with
other children in the neighbourhood.
4. Paint a Positive Picture
Borrow books about kids going to daycare, making friends and engaging in fun learning activities with interesting themes and play. This will help paint a positive picture and create a good impression to junior about attending a child care centre.
5. Arrange a Visit to the Centre in Advance
In the months leading up to the start of child care, bring junior to visit the child care centre to familiarise himself with the setting. Explain to junior that he will enjoy being in a nurturing environment of a child care centre and will be well taken care of by teachers who will help ease him into the new environment. You can also request for the daily schedule to prepare your child for the routines adopted by the child care centre, such as circle time, snack time, rest, outdoor play and enrichment class.