A child can feel a little unsure about walking into a daycare for the first time, even if the environment looks appealing and it's clear that other kids are having fun playing. As a parent, you may be in a rush to drop the child off and get to work — but it's important for you to devote some time to talking with your child and ensuring that he or she feels comfortable. You've likely talked a lot about going to daycare in the weeks leading up to the first day, but reinforcing some concepts before you leave the daycare center will be helpful to your child. Here are some messages to clearly convey.
"I Will Be Back Later"
Children will be able to settle into their new environment and have more fun — even if they miss their parents a little — as long as they know that a parent will visit later in the day to pick them up. This concept may seem obvious to you, but it's an important one to go over with a child. This is especially true if he or she seems a little nervous. Say something such as, "I'll be back here later today to pick you up, and I can't wait to hear all about your big day."
"You'll Have Lots Of Fun"
Fun is the name of the game in daycare, and while some daycare's focus on providing some education to the children, too, they often do it in a fun way. Knowing that the daycare experience will be enjoyable can help to wash away any concerns that your son or daughter might be feeling. As you convey this message to your child before you leave, try to point out certain activities in the room. For example, a statement such as, "You're going to have lots of fun today — and look at the sand table. I bet you'll spend some time playing in the sand" can be helpful to your child.
"You're Ready For This"
Some children can experience self-doubt in certain situations, especially when they're new. Your child may feel as though this big change is challenging, but it's your job to remind the child that he or she is ready for this opportunity. Try to convey this sentiment in a way that your child will understand. For example, "Remember how you've been sad about not having other kids to play with during the day? This is a good opportunity to make some new friends that you'll see every day."