Your child’s adaptation to daycare service

You have been looking for a daycare space for your child for several months. You finally found a CPE ready to accommodate you. The big day finally arrives…and fear overcomes you. Will my child be well treated? Will he receive all the care that he needs?

Entry into daycare can be a stressful experience for some families. Whereas a very strong attachment bond was woven in the first months of life, separation constitutes a stage impossible to circumvent but sometimes painful for the mother and the child. How can one prepare and best prepare the child for this separation?

Initial reactions

Initially, it is important to know that your child’s initial reactions may be negative. In the first days, it is possible that he may cry or be in crisis when you leave him. This initial reaction is normal, and even healthy, insofar as it testifies to the attachment bond which exists between you and your child. Moreover, this reaction will be only temporary. Very often, shortly after the parent’s departure, the child stops crying and starts to take an interest in his new environment. If ever negative reactions persist over several weeks, do not hesitate to speak to your child’s educator to find solutions.

An integration schedule

At CPE Jardin de Fruits, we have put an integration schedule in place in order to facilitate the children’s progressive adaptation to their new environment. This schedule varies according to the child’s age. Consequently, we ask the parent to remain with their infant during the first two weeks. During the third week, the baby remains alone without his parent, but only for a few hours per day. The older the child is upon arrival, the shorter his integration period will be. The parent is nevertheless invited to be present at the CPE during the first few days of attendance, in order to help his child to become gradually accustomed to his new environment. The parent can acquaint himself with his child’s educator. It is a good time to ask questions, to observe his child in his group and with his teacher.

As a parent, you can also facilitate your child’s integration. Here are 11 suggestions taken from the article Ses premiers pas en garderie, by Sylvie Bourcier, published on the Internet site

1.Visit the centre with your child and take the time to explore his classroom (nap area, eating area, toys, and cubby area for personal effects), the outdoor yard and the toilet. The child is particularly worried about his basic needs… Who will make him his meal? Where will he go to the bathroom ? etc…
2. Introduce the teacher and the cook to your child. Explain their role and speak about the confidence you have in them.
3. Prepare your child for life in a group. Speak about the pleasure of playing with other children. If you know certain children who attend the centre, reassure your child by reminding him that he will see Julien or Claire…
4. Play with your child at the park used by the centre. He will thus take stock of his future playmates and educator.
5. Speak to the educator about your child. Tell her about his preferences, his fears, and his habits, your tricks for consoling him or comforting him at nap time. This will allow the educator to know him better and to best respect his rhythms and personality.
6. Plan for a period of adjustment to the new schedule. Plan for wake up time, lunch time, afternoon nap. Inform yourself about daycare routines and gradually adapt your own daily schedule to this rhythm. This will result in less stress for the child.
7. Develop autonomy in your child. In a group context where the educator must help 7 or 8 small children to learn to dress themselves, to eat on their own, or to toilet learn, the child must expect to wait. Achieving small deeds by himself, such as lowering his pants, using a fork, removing his shoes, putting on his hat, all become an asset and a great source of pride for the child.
8. Gradually integrate your child into his group before your first day on the job. Gradually prolong the time spent in the daycare centre. For example, have the child remain for the snack and free play periods on the first day at the centre, and return home for lunch. Next he can remain until nap or lunch time.
9. Bring a familiar object to the daycare (soft toy, blanket). The familiar odors will reassure your child.
10. Establish routines. Departure routine, arrival routine… Stability makes it possible to build a sense of security. A stable schedule facilitates integration. For example, the child knows that dad comes to collect him every day after the afternoon snack, and that every morning, mom drives him after his big brother leaves for school.
11. Have fun creating departure rituals. For example: 2 hugs, 4 kisses and 3 bye-byes, then mom goes to work. Be faithful to these rituals.