As your little one adjusts to going to daycare, they will have many new and fun experiences. From making new friends to exploring new activities, there is so much for them to explore for the first time. But no matter how much they love daycare, there will most likely come a day where they really aren’t ‘feeling it.’ This could come out of the blue after a long vacation away from school, or happen somewhat regularly. Either way, these feelings are normal. As your early learner develops, separation anxiety will very likely surface at some point. When the day comes when your child doesn’t want to go to daycare, try the following tips to make their day a little brighter.
1. Establish a routine for your early learner
Especially if your little one is new to daycare, ensure their comfort on a daily basis by establishing a routine they can rely on. Try your best to stick to a regular schedule on the days they go to daycare, so they know what to expect.
If your young one has begun struggling with a routine that’s been in place for a while, make sure you are including some fun steps that give an opportunity to have heartfelt moments with them before dropping them off. The site, She Knows suggests things like giving your toddler a “pocket full of kisses,” singing a special song together in the car, reading a favourite book together, or giving them a photo to take with them to daycare. These simple ideas can help make your drop-off routine special. That may, in turn, ease the transition to being at daycare, and away from you.
2. Remember to be a good role model for a happy goodbye
As hard as it can be to leave your little one when they are having a tough time about going to daycare, do your best to not show that you are upset too. Today.com points out that if you are displaying your anxiety and your child picks up on it, they may think something’s wrong. This will only strengthen their feeling of not wanting to go to daycare that day. So do your best to put on a smile, give your little one a big hug, and reassure them that they will have a great day. This will go a long way in helping their emotions when it’s time to say goodbye.
3. Trust your daycare’s early childhood educators
If your routine and attempt at a happy goodbye are not working, sometimes you may have to rip off the bandaid and leave your child in a not-so-happy state. If this happens, remember that your young one has lovely early childhood educators taking care of them. The Morning Call suggests having daycare staff (rather than you) comfort your little one if they are upset as you leave. You can also try showing pictures of the daycare staff to your toddler at home to help familiarize your child with them. These two things will help your little one feel more comfortable with, and reliant, on their early childhood educators.
4. Equip your toddler with strategies they can use
Another way you can help ease your young child’s anxiety about going to daycare is by preparing them while they’re still at home. What To Expect presents two great books for getting your little one thinking about how to deal with being anxious about school: ‘Llama Llama Where’s My Mama’ and ‘The Kissing Hand.’ Reading and talking about these books will give your early learner ideas about how they can deal with the feelings they experience when they really don’t want to go to daycare.
Continue to observe how your little one feels
Whenever your little one tells you they don’t want to go to daycare, remember this is a normal thing that many children experience. However, it is important to also remember to keep an eye out for any unhealthy situations in your early learner’s daycare experience. Be sure to keep communicating with your toddler about how they’re feeling, and never hesitate to try something different if you feel uneasy about your child’s daycare situation. And remember, normal separation anxiety about going to daycare will eventually pass.
See related articles on our blog:
- Attachment parenting and daycare: how does it work?
- Should you be concerned about daycare if your baby has stranger anxiety?
- How to know if your child is emotionally ready for school