experiences are part of growing up. All children experience some change
in their lives as they mature. However, if the change is not handled well,
it can cause anxiety in children. A new childcare arrangement is a common
experience for many children. The new setting can be difficult even if
it is not the child’s first time in childcare. As a provider, you
also can experience a lot of stress when new children enter your program.
But there are things you can do to help parents, children, and yourself
at this stressful time.
Offer activities to the child. Encourage other children to invite the child to do things. But do not force the child to go with you or the children. Let the child come to you at her own pace.
When parents leave, always make sure the child knows they are leaving. Have them say goodbye and tell him they’ll be back to pick him up later in the day. Help them to leave quickly and to avoid long goodbyes. Tell them to avoid sneaking out to prevent a scene. As you know, in most cases the crying will stop quickly after they have left. Explain this to parents, but realize that it may be difficult for them. Also tell them that you will contact them if the crying does not stop after they leave.
Ask parents to be on time when they pick up the child. Picking up the child every day at the same time will help build the child's trust and help her understand that she is not being abandoned. Ask parents to call if they will be late, so that you can prepare the child. If a parent is late, allow the child to continue fun activities. Listen to the child if she talks about being angry or sad that her parents are not there yet.
Let children bring a piece of home with them; a special blanket, toy, or teddy bear can be very comforting. You may want to have a special place for them to keep those things so that they do not cause problems with other children. (Make sure parents understand your rules for bringing things from home.) Offer to keep photos of family members, neighbors, and pets to help remind children of familiar people if they feel lonely during the day.
Children may slip back to an earlier level of development during their adjustment to childcare. Thumb sucking, wetting pants, and other behaviors may occur. Set clear expectations for the children in your care, but be patient. Give the children time to adjust. Help the parents to relax when the child does these things. It is important not to react too strongly.
parents to allow for some time, if possible, when they drop off or pick
up their child. Children need a few minutes to say goodbye to Mom and
Dad and to get involved in the activities at childcare. But parents need
to finish saying goodbye then and leave. It is hard for the child if they
take too long. At the end of the day, children need time to say goodbye
to playmates and to you, the provider. The child may sometimes be unwilling
to leave. It is not unusual for children to want to stay where they are
when they are involved in an activity. You also need a little time to
talk with the parent. Encourage the parent to notice the child first and
then talk to you about how the day has gone. This is a good way to show
the child the parent is glad to see him, and behavior problems may be
avoided. Make sure that someone is watching the children when you are
talking to parents.
in your program will be affected when a new child enters. Introduce the
children when the new child visits. Tell the children ahead of time that
a new child is coming. If the children are old enough, ask another child
to be a special friend to the new child. The children may want to make
a card or a banner or plan a special welcome for the new child. Tell the
children if there will be any changes in the routine when the new child
comes. A good book to have in your home or center is Going to Day Care
by Fred Rogers. That can help all the children in your care.
The child may cry when the parents leave, but in most cases she will recover quickly. This can be very difficult for the parents. If separation is a problem, talk to the parents about how long it takes the child to settle in for the day. Explain what happens after they leave.
If you and the parent feel good about having the child in your care, and the child often has trouble adapting to new situations, it is best to keep her in that setting. This is true even if she shows some separation anxiety. Changing childcare would mean that the child would have to start the process of adjusting all over again. If the child seems to be very unhappy with the childcare situation and you have made every effort to help, it may be that the childcare setting does not fit this child's needs. In a case like this, a change in childcare may be the best option. Work with the parents to make that decision. If the family decides a change would be best, help the family find a better solution.
For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at email@example.com
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