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First Day of Daycare: A Guide for New Parents

written by: Sushma • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 3/2/2012

All modern working parents have to go through the first day of daycare and the pangs of separation from their baby. Having some guidelines in place will make this experience go smoother for parents, care-givers and the infants.

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    Sending Your Child to Daycare

    Sending a child to daycare can be a traumatic experience for parents. Pangs of separation are often harder to bear, more for the parents than the child. But, with the pressures of the modern world where both parents often have to work, sending a child to daycare is unavoidable. It is extremely important that the child is comfortable and happy on the first day of daycare. Instructions for the infant’s needs should be provided to the caretakers by the parents to make sure everything goes as well as possible.

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    Tips for Parents

    On the first day of daycare, instructions for infants should be written down clearly and precisely by parents and handed over to the daycare professional. Some things to include are:

    • It is important to put down on paper the kind of formula the child requires, the sleeping habits of the child, any medications if required, diapers, diaper wipes, sheets, etc.
    • Other things that parents need to bring are a change of clothes, rash ointment, formula food for the day, and pacifiers. Of course, all articles should be properly labeled with the child’s name so that it is easy for the daycare personnel to cater to the needs of the child.
    • Include an outline of the infant's schedule. General eating times, naps, and typical duration of naps should be spelled out by parents so that the provider knows what is expected.
    • All these instructions, besides being written down, should also be verbally communicated to the provider. It is also important for parents to build up a relationship with the provider. This will build trust and lead to ease of mind.
    • Parents should remember that most centers have a collection of toys. So, it is not necessary to bring any toys from home. But, if the infant is used to sleeping with a particular cuddly toy, it can be brought.
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    Tips for Preparing the Baby for Daycare

    It is very important that the parents prepare their babies for the daycare prior to actually sending them over.

    • Before they actually start the daycare services for the babies, parents should leave them with other members of the family or some trusted neighbors for an hour or two daily so that babies get acquainted of staying away form them.
    • Try to start their toilet training so that they are well managed at the daycare centers.
    • Stick to a schedule. Drop the baby off at the same time everyday. This will make the transition smoother as the baby will react positively to predictability.
    • Also make sure to leave something familiar with the baby. It could be a toy or a piece of cloth to which the child can relate and feel secured that his/her parents are around.
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    Tips for Providers

    Almost all providers give parents a list of what and how much of everything they should bring in.

    • Providers should follow all instructions given by the parents.
    • Talking things out with parents will also help providers to know the child better and build a personal relationship with the baby.
    • On the first day of daycare, the providers have to take special care to keep the baby happy and comfortable. This may require a completely dedicated attention towards the child.
    • Playing with child and sharing lot of activities also helps most of the times.
    • The caretakers should be properly trained for handling cranky babies.
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    Final Words

    The bottom line here is to be prepared. Most infants can become fussy on the first day of daycare, but having some clear guidelines in place can ease the transition. Following these tips will help parents to be assured that their child is being cared for in the right manner. It also enables the daycare personnel to provide better care.