Going back to work after parental leave is not an easy part of being a new parent. Feelings of guilt and separation anxiety are common when it comes to dropping your baby off at daycare. It’s a transition that comes with growing pains for both parent and child. But it’s only temporary, and there are ways to make this process easier on yourself and your child. Here are 5 tips to cope with leaving your child at daycare.
Create a routine
Routines give your child a sense of security because they know what’s coming next. Creating a fun morning routine that maybe involves dancing or singing sets a positive tone for the day and helps the transition from home to childcare.
Give your child reassurance
When you drop your child off, reassure them that you will return. Experts suggest to also let your child know how long you’ll be apart using concepts they understand, like mealtimes. This sets expectations and builds trust between you and your child.
Keep it short and sweet
If you or your child feel stressed about separating, keeping goodbyes short and sweet are tough. But it’s important not to linger. Be strong and calm when you leave your child. It’s OK to stand outside for a minute after, as long as you’re out of sight and you don’t return for any reason. Even if you forgot something at the daycare, ask one of the childcare providers or another parent who’s on their way inside to retrieve it for you.
Don’t hesitate to check in
If it makes you feel better, call the childcare center for an update. This gives parents an idea of how their child is faring and hopefully offers some comfort. This is also a great way to develop a relationship with the childcare providers and ultimately make new parents feel less anxious about how their child is spending their days.
If you know you’re about to start leaving your child at a daycare center on a full-time basis, practice being apart from them ahead of time. If you can, leave your child with a relative or someone you trust once in a while for short periods of time to get used to the feeling of being apart.
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