It’s the beginning of the year, which can mean a lot of changes in a centre. We have some babies moving up to the toddler room, toddlers moving up to the pre-school room and children leaving us to go to ‘big school’. It is also the time where we welcome new children and their families to our service, which can be a very scary and sometimes daunting experience for children and their families.
This process can be quite confronting for parents, as they are about to leave their child with people they barley know, so chances are they are feeling a little nervous. It can also be overwhelming and stressful for the child, it could be their first time being separated from their parents for such a long period of time and it is a huge change to their regular routine. So what can we do to help the families and children feel more at ease, here are a few ideas:
- Recognise that a child going into childcare is a huge milestone for them, and its normal to feel nervous or anxious. Offer support.
- Make sure that you are respectful and accepting of families from different cultural backgrounds. Sometimes you may need to change your menu and routine to accommodate for different cultures and lifestyles.
- Make sure you know all you need to know information about their child, such as allergies, likes/dislikes. It is also important to not just get to know the child, but the family as well. Take the time to start a conversation and get to know the parents, maybe ask about what they are up to that day, their work, if they have any other children etc.
- It can also be a good idea to buddy up the new child with someone who has been at the centre for a while, to show them around and help them feel comfortable. Try to buddy them with a child with similar interests and a similar age. This system is more effective with children over the age of 3.
- Its important to remember that from a child’s point of view, we can seem pretty tall and scary, try to kneel down and talk to them at their height.
I hope that this blog has given you some ideas on how to handle first day jitters!
Erin Dorahy – Store Manager at Starfish