Positive Reinforcements: Helping Your Only Child Adjust To Daycare

If your only child is too young to start preschool but needs to interact and socialize with other kids in his or her age group, you may think about sending your little one to daycare programs. But if your child doesn't feel comfortable about leaving you, you may think that it's a bad idea to put him or her in a child care program all day. You shouldn't worry. A daycare program gives your child an early start in his or her education, teaches him or her to develop new skills, and allows him or her to meet new people. These things can help your little one transition from little kid to big kid once he or she starts preschool later on.

Here are some tips on how to make going to daycare easier on your child.

Help Your Child Cope The First Few Weeks

Most children learn to accept their new environment with very little problems. They don't need their father or mother's help for them to do so. However, some children may have problems interacting with their peers in the first few weeks of entering a daycare program, especially kids without siblings at home. 

If your child's daycare coordinator notices your little one sits and plays alone, the coordinator may suggest you stay a few minutes each day to make your child feel more comfortable at the center. However, you don't have to sit with your child when you do so. You may help out with preparing snacks, putting away coats or some other duties to keep you in the background.

In addition, the daycare center uses a number of positive reinforcements, such as interactive games, lessons and functions, to help children make friends. Many of the activities encourage kids to work together in groups. For example, the center may put your child with other kids and assign them duties like:

  • Cleaning up the outdoor play area
  • Taking snack trays to the kitchen
  • Putting away toys after playtime
  • Caring for classroom pets and plants

After awhile, your child may feel comfortable enough to talk or play with the other kids. Your child may gradually move away from the comfort zone you bring to the class and explore his or her surroundings with more confidence. When you and the coordinator feel your child's ready, you can reduce the time you spend in the daycare program until your child no longer needs you.

Invite Your Child's New Friends Over

Another good way to make your only child feel confident at daycare is to invite his or her peers over for parties or weekend playdates. Sometimes, children need to socialize in a familiar place like home to feel confident or sociable in childcare. 

You may want to interact with the other parents when you drop your child off to daycare in the morning. It'll give you a chance to find out who to invite to your little one's parties and playdates.

Keep in mind that some parents work long hours and may not have time or the energy to bring their kids over to your home. By talking to the other parents you eliminate any disappointments your child may feel if he or she invites kids over and they don't show up.

Daycare can be a great way to introduce your child to the world when he or she doesn't have siblings. It's also a way for you to grow as a parent because you learn to help your child without hindering his or her abilities to make friends. If you have questions about volunteering at your little one's daycare, contact the center for more details.