Tips for helping you and your child settle into an Early Childhood Education and Care Setting.

At Sunshine Kids we know that making the decision to start your child an early childhood education and care setting can be stressful for you and your child. Our aim is to assist you as much as we can in settling in with as much ease as possible.

To help you with this journey we have put together these tips, which we hope you will find useful in settling your child into Sunshine Kids.

Before you Start
Talk to your child, tell them;

  • Where they will be going
  • What they will be doing while they’re there
  • Why they’re going
  • Who they will meet

Explain to your child that they will be going for a certain period of time before they are collected by you. If your child has questions, answer them openly and honestly to reassure them that they will be ok. Make sure you set up your orientation visit, where you and your child can spend time experiencing the new environment together.

Your Child’s first day

You will be informed of an arrival time for your child’s first day. This will ensure your child misses the busiest and most stressful part of the day, easing them into the early childhood environment.

Try and make your child’s first day shorter than normal and gradually increase their time spent at Sunshine Kids to include a sleep/rest. We suggest you do this over the first one or two weeks of enrolment.

Allow time to settle your child in, try not to rush. Spend time signing in, putting away your child’s belongings and settling your child into an activity.

Once your child is settled into an activity, give them a cuddle and say goodbye, remind them you will be back to collect them later in the day. Try and give them a time frame, for example “I’ll be back to get you after afternoon tea time.” Make sure you stick to the time frame. Always say goodbye and reassure them you will be back.

If your child is upset when you leave, don’t prolong your departure as this will most likely make your child more unsettled. Reassure your child that you will be back at a certain time.

Once you are at work, you can call the service to find out if your child has settled down. Don’t be afraid to call the service at any time if you are concerned about your child at all throughout the day.

Your child’s educator will also call you if your child continues to feel upset throughout the day.

When collecting your child, talk to the educators about your child’s day and how they went, on the way home or over dinner, talk to your child about their day and what they did.

Over the next few days
As you continue your childcare drop offs try and establish a routine of goodbye’s and settling your child at an activity or with a familiar educator.

Talk to your child’s educators about what your child has been doing, what they have been enjoying, you can then involve your child in this activity before you leave or talk to them about it before you go, for example “Your teachers told me you have been enjoying painting, what do you think you will paint today, I can’t wait to see it this afternoon.”

You will find some days easier than others, this will depend on what else is happening in your child’s life. Children will be affected by restless nights, recovering from illness, having visitors or other children crying. Children like adults also become more fatigued toward the end of the week, especially if they have spent a few days at childcare.

Talk to your child’s educators about important events in your child’s life, such as teething, bad nights sleep, what they did on the weekend. This information will assist staff in keeping your child throughout the day.

Following Weeks
Take one day at a time. Once your child has settled in, you might like to spend some more time with your child at the service. You might like to join the parent committee or find out other ways you can get involved in the service. Talk to the educators and ask for advice or support if you have any concerns. Meet some of the other parents to share ideas and support.

Getting Involved in your Early Childhood Service
Sunshine Kids welcomes and encourages family involvement in the service. Every family has something different they can offer whether it is playing with the children, sharing a skill or volunteering to help out with an event. Talk to educators about ways your family can get involved with the service.

Apadpted from “Settling into early childhood education and care services” Department of Communities, Queensland Government

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