Helping Your Child Adjust to Child Care
You’ve just started your taking your child to child-care. It’s the first day however things go wrong and your child protests
loudly when it's time for you to leave.
Many children experience anxiety when starting a new child care arrangement but there is plenty you can
do to make the transition as stress free as possible for both you and your child.
- Prepare your child by talking to them in advance; tell them where they will be going, what they
will be doing.
- Take your child to visit the centre or carer’s home on a few occasions before you need to leave
them for the first time. Show your child where they will be going. Answer any questions they may
have openly and honestly reassuring them that everything is OK
- Arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of time so that you can help your child to settle into an activity
before you have to head off to work. They are less likely to protest your departure if they are
having fun and involved with an activity.
- Familiar objects such as a favorite stuffed animal or security blanket should be on hand. Your
child may find it easier to adjust to a particular care situation having a favoured toy to hold when
feeling anxious or upset.
- Try and allocate enough time so you aren’t rushing to sign in and settle your child into an activity.
- Pay attention to your own body language when saying good bye to your child. If you’re feeling
uncertain about the new arrangement you could be conveying some of your own anxiety to your
- Resist the temptation to sneak out the door whey your child isn’t looking. You’ll simply create
more problems for both of you. Fearing that you’re going to disappear again, your child may
become unwilling to let you out of sight for a minute – even when you are at home.
- If your child reacts strongly see if your partner or a trusted friend can drop the child off instead.
They might actually be protesting your departure more than the particular child care environment.
- Ask your child’s carer if they can provide insights about the problem. For instance maybe the
child doesn’t like one of the other children in the group or is having difficulty settling down for an
- Consistency is important so stick to a routine. Avoid making other changes to your child’s routine
while getting used to a new child care arrangement. For example this would not be a good time
to move them from a cot to a bed.
- Accept the fact that it takes time for young children to adjust to a new child care setting and
some children take longer than others.
- Be alert to the possibility of an underlying problem. If your child hasn’t settled into his
arrangement after a couple of weeks, it may just be a poor choice for your child. This doesn’t
necessarily mean that abuse is occurring. The problem could be something as simple as a
personality conflict between your child and a caregiver.