Thank you to Ashley Hollier and Courtney Formo, certified ECE’s and owners of Forever Learning Childcare, for providing tips and advice on the importance of early learning and childcare.

Starting Childcare

Editors note: Though the opinions and information in this post are those of a qualified professional, the post is not intended to substitute/replace direct consultation with a qualified advisor or industry professional about your unique scenario.

Your child’s first day of daycare is approaching. Are you ready? Your life is going to change, your family’s life is going to change and your child’s life is going to change, so hang on because a new chapter is starting. Here are some ways to make the transition into daycare smoother, easier and happier for you and your family, what you should expect, plus some tips you should just know!

5 Things to Expect when Starting Childcare

1. There’s going to be some prep work.

If you haven’t already you’ll most likely have to head out a pick up a few things like a lunch kit, extra diapers and wipes, rain gear, etc. Your childcare provider will usually provide you with a list of things to bring on the first day. Bring everything on this list! Expect to leave these things at daycare. Your child will hopefully get messy or wet throughout their day, so send them in comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting stained.

You may also want to map your route to and from daycare during the times you will be heading there. Traffic can be a nightmare and it’s added stress if you are not familiar with your route.

2. How this affects your family unit

Starting child care has an effect on the entire family. It is common to feel guilty when leaving your child for the first time. Don’t feel guilty, if you’ve found a quality childcare setting, your child is in good hands. Often, the transition into daycare is harder on the parents than it is on the child. Rest assured knowing that your child is in a safe environment and is being offered opportunities to learn and engage with others.

Your family may see childcare as a financial drain but the benefits out way the cost; It is expensive to be a stay at home parent and most times financially impractical or you may have a career you love that you are not willing to give up. Whatever the reason for your childcare needs the learning and socialization that happens in a quality centre is priceless. If you do find the cost to be daunting look into childcare that offers more perks. A lot of places offers meals which help out with the cost of food as well as your time needed to prepare food. Some places even offer wipes and diapers and remember, if you qualify childcare subsidy is a great program.

3. Children’s routine may change

Starting child care for the first time is a big deal and will take some adjusting. You may find that your child’s sleep routines change and their eating habits become different. Keep in mind that your child is learning to trust a bunch of new people, learning to sleep in a new environment, and discovering their independence; your child’s whole world is changing. Every child adapts at a different speed, and your child may need some extra support through this life-altering experience. Work with your educator and keep open communication to ensure that your child has a smooth transition. Early education is in the best interest of every child and your child is benefiting from your choice (or your need) to enroll in care. Be open and inviting to your child’s new needs for they are simply growing up.

4. Your child will get sick.

If your child is starting group care at a young age, their immune system is brand new and it needs to gain some experience. Unfortunately, the only ways to build your immune system is to get sick and be exposed to the world around us. Communication with your child’s educators is important and can help them anticipate your child’s needs to give them the support they require. If your child becomes ill, even at home, it’s a great idea to let your childcare provider know anyway so that they can take necessary steps to prevent the spread of illness. Educators understand that it is difficult to take time off and we do what we can to help take care of your sick little ones, however if they aren’t feeling well enough to actively participate through the day, restful time at home is in their best interest. A daycare environment is loud, busy, and fast-paced, and although there is time for rest your children would much rather be cuddled up in bed.

5. How its going to affect you as a parent

The prospect of returning to work is both exciting(we hope) and nerve- wracking. You may hear many differing opinion s about going back to work. Keep in mind that childcare is a positive experience with many benefits but unfortunately it far to often comes with the stigma that you are not putting your child first. As educators we are here to assure you that this is not the case. Choosing quality childcare means that your child will be socialized everyday, they will learn new and exciting things on a daily basis and they will be cared for. Early education is the start to your child’s life long learning. We are here to tell you that its okay to choose childcare. Its exciting! Welcome to different and exciting possibilities and adventures! It’s now time to gain some of your independence back, to find yourself again. Take this time to enjoy adult conversations and down time that comes with returning to the work force.