Child care is a great way for your child to become socialized and prepare for school. However, if your child dreads being dropped off at child care, you are not alone. Many kids (and parents) have a hard time with the daily transition from home to the child care facility, but luckily there are things that can help. Here are four items that may help to ease your child's separation anxiety or reluctance to child care:
1. Miniature blanket
If your child sleeps with a blanket at home, that object likely has a lot of significance to your child -- after all, it comforts him or her in the dark while you are in the other room.
Consider making a miniature blanket that your child can take to child care with him or her. The miniature blanket can simply be a corner cut from your child's blanket that he or she can slip in his or her pocket and stroke as needed throughout the day.
2. Parental trinket
If you cannot find a pocket-sized substitute for your child's favourite blanket or soft toy, consider giving your child a trinket from you. Is there a small object your child associates with you or the other parent? If so, giving that item to your child may help to reassure him or her throughout the day when he or she starts to miss you.
This trinket could be anything. It could be a charm from a charm bracelet that you put on a chain around your child's neck. Alternatively, it could even be a bit of yarn from your knitting basket or something small like that.
3. Mini photo album
If your child gets lonely throughout the day, it may help if he or she can look at a picture of you. For many kids, access to a photo album reminds them that their family still exists and they will be there at the end of the child care day.
You can send a picture of the family, or you can make a mini album with pictures of your family, pets and your child's favourite toys.
4. Goodbye book
Some kids have trouble missing their homes or parents throughout the day at child care, but other kids have difficulty with the drop-off itself. If your child falls into the latter category, it can help to make a goodbye book.
This short flip book should show your child what is going to happen during the drop-off process. For example, it could include pictures of your child getting ready in the morning, driving in the car to child care, playing with you at their side for a couple minutes and then saying goodbye to you.
By making a book like this, you can spend some time reviewing the drop-off process with your child in the evenings or weekends. Over time, he or she will get more comfortable, as he or she knows exactly what to expect.