Advice to Help Your Child Adapt to Daycare

Advice to Help Your Child Adapt to Daycare

Last update: 22 June, 2018

One of the things that most concerns us when our child is growing up is how they’ll adapt to daycare.

When they’ve made the difficult decision to send them to a daycare center, many mothers worry about whether they’ll be OK, what they’ll learn there, and, because of our protective instinct, how they’ll be treated.

There is no magic formula to get children to enjoy going to daycare. We must remember that they didn’t ask to go, and it probably won’t be easy for them to get used to it quickly.

Although there isn’t any secret formula, you can find out information for yourself as well as some tips that will help your child adapt to daycare much better and faster.

Tips to help your child adapt to daycare

Anticipate what will happen

If we explain to our child what is going to happen, then he’ll begin to understand the process much earlier. You can represent daycare life and what usually happens there using their dolls, or you can also act it out yourselves.

You can pretend that you’re the supervisor or teacher and you simply talk your child through everything. The more we do these activities with him, the faster he’ll feel comfortable in the nursery and it will become something quite normal for him.

You must give it time

Two things can happen in the process of adapting to daycare. First, the teachers are too strict and don’t allow a flexible period for the child to adapt or, secondly, that the parents, because of their jobs and lack of time, cannot provide that time either.

In general, children won’t adapt in a few hours or days to a totally new environment. Therefore, we should try to give them the time they need to get to know their new caregiver, their new friends and to feel safe in their new environment.

Advice to Help Your Child Adapt to Daycare

Always say goodbye

Many children feel totally abandoned in the daycare center. If we leave the child there and suddenly disappear, then abandonment will be the first thing he’ll feel.

Therefore, it’s very important to say goodbye to them, telling them clearly that you’ll return later for them. He’ll probably cry at first, but he should soon calm down, knowing that he’ll see you again soon. Always say goodbye.

Many parents simply withdraw so that the child doesn’t see them leave. This, however, just causes them sadness. Never leave the place without saying goodbye to your child.

Be understanding

We must be as understanding and empathetic as we can in this situation. It’s vital that we put ourselves in their shoes and try to understand what they’re feeling, and the radical change they’re undergoing.

If he asks us for more love and affection when we’re back at home, we should give it to him. He’ll most likely need to feel that we still love him.

Remember that it’s very important to support him in this process. He’ll need you in order to be able to adapt properly.

Build trust with the supervisors

It’s important for the child to see that we have a good relationship with the supervisors and teachers. They need to see that we trust them and get along well with them.

It’s good for them to see us talking to her in a friendly way, just so they realize that she isn’t a stranger.

All of this will ensure the child feels more at ease. It will also put our mind at ease as we get to know the people who are looking after our child a little better.

Maintain our joy and positivity

Although it’s also a difficult process for you, you should be happy and positive before your child joins the daycare center. 

If they can sense that you’re more worried than usual or perhaps distrustful of the situation, then they may feel uncomfortable or insecure as well.

Advice to Help Your Child Adapt to Daycare

Objects of attachment

A good way to help your child adapt to daycare is to let them take their favorite toy with them. This way they’ll feel they have something in their hands that connects them to their home.

This type of object will give him confidence and security in the transition process, and he’ll soon feel very happy and comfortable there.

Signs of poor adaptation to daycare

It’s possible that your child won’t adapt well to daycare, so you should be very attentive to telltale signs, and try to support him to make him feel more comfortable.

To do this, you should study their behavior in order to know whether this is happening to them or not. Some of the symptoms of poor adaptation to daycare are:

  • He’s too dependent on you. If he’s adjusting badly, then he may cling to you much more when you leave the nursery. If this happens for a prolonged period, you should try to correct and lessen that reaction.
  • He’s sad all day. The supervisor informs you that he cries all day long, doesn’t play and, when you arrive, he only wants to be in your arms.
  • He doesn’t sleep well during the first few weeks. During all this time he may find it difficult to get to sleep. This may mean he isn’t assimilating the day’s experiences well.
  • He may experience mood changes. You may notice changes of mood and him becoming disobedient.
  • He may not develop as he should. He may start to ask for his bottle again, start to eat badly or return to habits he had when he was a baby. The most important thing about the child’s adaptation to this new environment is that, as parents, we must understand, guide and support him in the process.

A great learning experience

It won’t be easy for him or for you, but perhaps it’s a decision that you’ve had to take for work or personal reasons. In addition, it may be the first contact your child has with outsiders.

However, if we face it positively and follow all the best advice for this process, then it will be a great learning experience for both you and your children.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Clarke-Stewart, A. (1984). Guarderías y cuidado infantil (Vol. 15). Ediciones Morata.
  • De la Torre Naranjo, D. K. (2011). Guardería para niños de 6 meses hasta 4 años de edad, enfocada al desarrollo creativo e innato de cada niño (Bachelor’s thesis, Quito: Universidad de las Américas, 2011).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.