Here are a few tips to note down if you're about to use a daycare centre's services for the first time.
Print out name stickers for your child's belongings
After you've gathered together all of the things your child will take with them to the daycare facility (such as their lunchbox, thermos, blanket for naps, their stationery and their backpack), you should print out name stickers and place one of each of these objects.
Children often lose or leave behind the possessions they take to daycare. If the staff find some items and don't know they belong to your child, they'll place them in their "lost and found' box and it will be up to you or your child to collect them. In this situation, you may then have to spend quite a while searching through the things in this large box before you find your child's missing belongings. If however, there is a name sticker on the object, the staff can simply pop it in your child's backpack or return it to you when you come to collect them.
Additionally, if your child has, for example, a lunchbox with the same cartoon character on it as another child's lunchbox (a common occurrence in childcare facilities, where children often enjoy the same cartoons), putting a name sticker on this item will ensure that, if the other child cannot find their own one, they won't think that this box belongs to them and try to take it from your kid.
Help them to nurture any new friendships if they're only going to daycare part-time
Whilst lots of parents put their children in daycare five or six days a week, others only use this service on a part-time basis. If you've chosen the latter, you should try to ensure your child is able to nurture the friendships that they make during the brief periods they're at the centre.
Friendships can enrich a young child's life. Whilst if your child were at daycare five days a week, their friendships would blossom very naturally, purely because of the long periods they would spend in the other children's company, it could be harder for them to solidify their friendships if they're only there one day a week.
To help your child, you should talk to them about the children they get along with best and then see if you can contact those children's parents and set up a regular weekly group outing at, for example, a playground so that your child could see these other kids more often.
Contact a local daycare centre to get more tips.
I work as a nurse, and I'm separated from my husband, so it's quite complicated for us to work out child care sometimes. We have an family child care centre down the road that is amazing and does so much to keep our family ticking when we need child care out of hours. I know I'm not the only one who needs flexibility in child care, and I know that a lot of other parents are also struggling with the juggle of managing child care out of the normal opening hours of a centre. This blog is a place to share ideas and solutions we have worked out, with each other.