Navigating the Impact of Starting Childcare on Your Child’s Behaviour: Insights, Expectations, and Responses

Navigating the Impact of Starting Childcare on Your Child’s Behaviour: Insights, Expectations, and Responses

The decision to enrol your child in childcare is a significant step in their early years, marked by both excitement and apprehension. While childcare offers numerous developmental benefits, it’s important to recognise that this transition can also influence your child’s behaviour. Understanding what to expect and how to respond will help you navigate this period smoothly. In this article, we’ll delve into the impact of starting childcare on your child’s behaviour, shed light on common changes, and provide insights on how to respond effectively.

Anticipating Behavioral Changes

  1. Separation Anxiety: One of the most common behaviours when starting childcare is separation anxiety. Your child may experience distress when you leave them at the childcare centre. This is a normal reaction and can gradually diminish as they become more accustomed to the new routine.
  2. Adjustment Period: Just like any significant change, starting childcare can lead to an adjustment period where your child may display behavioural changes like clinginess, mood swings, or changes in eating and sleeping patterns.
  3. Social Interaction: Childcare introduces your child to a new social environment. Initially, they might be shy or hesitant to interact with peers and caregivers. Over time, they’ll likely become more comfortable and start building friendships.
  4. Emotional Expression: Some children may exhibit heightened emotions during the transition. This could manifest as increased tantrums, frustration, or even regression in certain developmental milestones like potty training.

Responding Effectively

  1. Patience and Empathy: Understand that behavioural changes are normal during this transition. Approach your child with patience and empathy, acknowledging their feelings and offering reassurance.
  2. Consistency: Maintain a consistent routine at home. Consistency provides a sense of stability amidst change and helps your child feel secure.
  3. Gradual Introduction: If possible, consider a gradual introduction to childcare. Start with shorter hours and gradually increase them as your child becomes more comfortable.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Acknowledge your child’s efforts in adjusting to childcare. Praise their bravery, and celebrate even small achievements in socialising and adapting to the new environment.
  5. Open Communication: Keep communication lines open with your child’s caregivers. Share insights about your child’s behaviour at home and be receptive to their observations and suggestions.
  6. Transition Object: Allow your child to bring a comforter from home, like a stuffed animal or blanket, to provide them with a sense of familiarity.
  7. Model Behavior: Model positive behaviour when saying goodbye or interacting with caregivers. Your child will observe your reactions and cues and learn from them.
  8. Quality Time: Spend quality time with your child when you’re together. Engage in activities they enjoy, and create a strong bond that assures them of your love and presence.

Conclusion

Starting childcare is a significant developmental milestone for your child, and it’s natural for them to exhibit behavioural changes during this transition. By understanding the common behaviours that can arise, maintaining empathy and patience, and responding with effective strategies, you can support your child in adapting to their new environment.

Remember that every child’s journey is unique, and while challenges may arise, they often pave the way for personal growth, enhanced social skills, and increased independence as your child embraces their childcare experience.

How To Balance Home and Childcare Sleep Schedules

How To Balance Home and Childcare Sleep Schedules

For parents, achieving a harmonious sleep routine that aligns both at home and at childcare can be a challenging yet crucial endeavour. Sleep plays a pivotal role in a child’s growth, development, and overall well-being. Consistency in sleep patterns is especially important for young children, as it promotes better cognitive function, emotional regulation, and physical health. This article aims to provide valuable insights and practical tips on how to align sleeping at home with sleeping at childcare, ensuring a smoother transition and optimal sleep quality for your little one.

Understanding the Importance of Sleep Consistency

Children thrive on routine, and a consistent sleep schedule helps them regulate their internal body clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm governs the sleep-wake cycle, and when it’s in sync, it results in more restful sleep and easier transitions between different environments.

Tips for Aligning Sleep Patterns

  1. Prioritise Communication: Effective communication with your childcare provider is paramount. Share your child’s established sleep routine, preferred nap times, and any sleep associations. This information helps the childcare staff understand your child’s sleep needs and attempt to replicate their home routine.
  2. Consistent Bedtime Routine: Create a bedtime routine that can be followed both at home and at childcare. Consistency in pre-sleep activities, such as a warm bath, reading a book, or gentle lullabies, sends cues to your child’s brain that it’s time to wind down.
  3. Gradual Adjustments: If there’s a significant time difference between your child’s home sleep schedule and childcare sleep schedule, consider making gradual adjustments. Shift your child’s bedtime and wake-up time by 15-30 minutes every few days until you achieve the desired alignment.
  4. Naptime Consistency: Aim to align your child’s nap schedule with the childcare’s naptime routine. Request information about their nap routines and follow a similar schedule during weekends to reinforce consistency.
  5. Comfort and Familiarity: Provide your child with comfort items like a favourite blanket or stuffed animal that they can take to childcare. Having something familiar can ease the transition and make the new sleep environment feel more secure.
  6. Light Exposure: Exposing your child to natural light during waking hours can help regulate their circadian rhythm. Encourage outdoor playtime and open curtains to let in natural sunlight.
  7. Nutrition and Timing: Ensure your child’s last meal before sleep isn’t too close to bedtime. A light, balanced meal a couple of hours before sleep prevents discomfort and promotes better sleep quality.
  8. Adaptability: While striving for alignment is important, be adaptable. Understand that some variation may occur due to different settings, and occasional deviations from the routine are okay as long as they don’t become the norm.
  9. Monitor and Adjust: Regularly observe your child’s sleep quality and behavior. If you notice any signs of sleep disturbances or exhaustion, consider making necessary adjustments to the routine.

Conclusion

Aligning sleep patterns at home with those at childcare requires dedication, patience, and effective communication. The benefits of a harmonious sleep routine extend beyond a peaceful bedtime; it influences your child’s overall development and well-being. By prioritising consistent routines, maintaining open communication with childcare providers, and making gradual adjustments, you can create a seamless transition between home and childcare sleep schedules. Remember, while achieving perfect alignment might be challenging, the ultimate goal is to provide your child with a restful and nurturing sleep environment in both settings.

School-Ready, Life-Ready Skills: How Kindy Can Enhance Your Child’s Speech

School-Ready, Life-Ready Skills: How Kindy Can Enhance Your Child’s Speech

As the parent or guardian of a rambunctious preschooler, prepping your child for school and life can often seem like an exercise in futility. More often than not, it’s a full-time job in chaos management before you even get to the challenge of building up your child’s practical language skills.

The Importance of Speech and Communication Skills

The ability to express their feelings thoughts and curiosity are of paramount importance to little learners who’ll soon be entering the noisy arena of school and life. Strong communication skills are a prerequisite for success in many areas of life and in so many career fields!

Speech skills will help your child make friends, succeed in school, and navigate the socio-emotional trials of puberty and teenage years. It will get their foot in the door when they apply for university one day, and when they arrive at their first job interview.

At Little Learners Early Education a Victoria-based kindergarten and daycare centre, we specialise in early learning programs that are tailor-made to give your little one the best start in life – and this includes seriously boosting their speech, language, and communication skills!

How Kindy Can Improve Speech and Communication Skills

Through a combination of play-based learning, structured lessons, interactive art sessions, and socialising, we offer children the opportunity to explore and express themselves on a daily basis, in a safe and supervised setting.

Here’s how our tailored kinder programs nurture children to full speech confidence:

  1. Every day, we encourage children to take part in discussions and social interactions with their teachers, their careers, and their peers.
  2. By being immersed in diversity, and interacting with kids and teachers from different cultures and language backgrounds, they boost their communication skills and gain interest in the world around them.
  3. We teach children to enjoy play-based learning activities that train them to say and use their words correctly.
  4. By incorporating songs, rhymes, and tongue twisters into our daily schedules, we develop children’s pronunciation and articulation skills.
  5. By encouraging pride in self-expression, and positively enforcing the constructive use of language, we boost their communication confidence.
  6. Through structured learning and activities, we teach children how to follow instructions and respond appropriately when questions are asked.
  7. Group discussions and verbally interactive games help develop your child’s listening and comprehension skills, which seriously boosts their speech competence.
  8. We engage children in games and activities that focus on new words, phrases, and topics every day.
  9. We build confident and correct speech and body-language expression through activities like drama, role-play, and story-telling.
  10. We offer individual and small group speech therapy sessions to children who need a little extra support.

The Benefits of Early Intervention

A vast and growing body of research has shown that early intervention has a profound impact on speech and communication development in children. It’s undeniable that, by enrolling your child in an early learning kinder like Little Learners, you’re giving them the best possible start in school and life.

At Bright Days Early Education in Herston Queensland, we’re dedicated to instilling steadfast language foundations in every child through structure, interaction, adventure, and tons of fun. Reach out to us today to learn more about our program, and discover how we can help your child reach their true speech potential!

The Difference Between Full Day and Sessional Kinder

The Difference Between Full Day and Sessional Kinder

As the parent or guardian of a 3-4 year old little learner, selecting the perfect kinder is an immensely consequential task that can have real and lasting impacts on your child’s development. Particularly daunting is the challenge of choosing between a sessional and full-day (or long-day) kindergarten.

Full-Day Kinder

It’s easy to feel pangs of guilt at the thought of ‘abandoning’ your child to the staff at a long-day kindergarten. But the truth is, there are a wealth of benefits to choosing this option over sessional or part-time kindergarten.

Full-day kindergarten requires children to attend for – you guessed it – the full day, just like older children attending school with extramural classes would be required to do, except that it’s tailored for an earlier development phase.

There is ample research suggesting that time spent at full-day kindergarten offers children tremendous and positive academic and socio-emotional development advantages – particularly in the case of children from less advantaged backgrounds.

Long-day care and kinder programs provide children with more time for learning, playing, and interacting with their peers, not to mention taking part in various art, craft, music, and physical education sessions throughout the day.

By offering ample time for diverse activities and interactions, together with scheduled mealtimes and naps, long-day kinder programs help children establish productive full-day routines, instilling stamina and boosting their development in preparation for school.

Sessional Kinder

As you already guessed, sessional kindergartens are designed for children who need care for just a few hours each day (usually 2-4 hours, give or take), and only on certain days or as needed.

While this option may be better suited for parents with flexible schedules or who only work half-days, it’s not necessarily ideal in cases where parents feel that their little ones aren’t ready for a full-day routine’, and here’s why.

Children who don’t necessarily have special needs, but tend to become reactive when separated from their parents, are the ones who can benefit the most from establishing structured, full-day, parent-free routines in preparation for school.

Likewise, children in this age group, with either sluggish development or socialisation issues, are the perfect candidates for the type of diversified and interactive, play-based learning experiences that full-day kinder offers. However, the decision rests with you.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

At Bright Days Early Education Centre in Herston, we offer long-day kindergarten programs for up to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Our full-day weekly schedules include all the bells and whistles mentioned above, and welcome children with learning difficulties such as Autism, ADD, and ADHD, as well as children with physical concerns such as diabetes and asthma. Our sessions are fully inclusive, and as activity-diverse, as we can make them in the time allowed.

It’s important to understand that both options have their pros and cons. For example, part-time or sessional kinder may be more appropriate for parents with flexible schedules or part-time jobs; while full-day kinder is ideal for children who lack structure, social skills, or practical confidence.

Luckily, at Bright Days, our full-day options are still available however limited!

In Conclusion

A key piece of advice we offer to parents like you, who are still weighing these options, is to visit Bright Days along with any other kindergarten facilities you may have in mind.

Speak to the caregivers, teachers, and administrators there, get a feel for the daily schedule, and try to sit in on some lesson and play time if you can.

Ultimately, your decision on whether to enroll your child in a sessional kinder or long-day kinder should be based on your child’s unique needs, as well as your family’s schedule and preferences.

Your munchkin may be small but this decision isn’t. Rather, it’s an investment in your child’s future, and it needs to be considered from every angle.

How to create an early home-learning space for your 4-6 year old!

How to create an early home-learning space for your 4-6 year old!

As a dedicated parent to an early learner, you know that first impressions last. The quality of the home school-prep and early-learning space you create for your child will shape their outlook on education while facilitating aptitude and brain development.

A light, bright and mindful, well-considered home learning space for your 4-6 year old has the potential to instill in them a passion for learning that will see them well into their adult years. So, even before they reach first grade, you can steer them toward success! But, how to create a home-learning space for your 4-6 year old that will actually help them develop?

Before we dive in, consider the fact that you have a central role in this home learning space. Learning isn’t the opposite of fun – learning is an adventure. As a parent, you are already a teacher, so there’s no need to change your persona. Be supportive, sensitive, loving, and steadfast, and accompany your child on this adventure, every step of the way.

Let there be light

Well-lit rooms are more welcoming, and they lift the spirits, driving engagement, creativity, and retention. Natural light is always preferred, the vitamin A from sunlight literally improves cognitive function, enhancing the attention span and memory.

Just remember, well-lit shouldn’t mean hot, so ensure the room is properly ventilated, with a flow of fresh air for plenty of oxygen, which has instant performance-boosting concentration, and even behaviour-enhancing effects!

Include four or five plants to improve the air quality and add a splash of nature, and give your little one full responsibility for keeping them watered, dust free and in good shape – it’s never too early to acquire green fingers. If you have space near a window, include a pot garden where you can teach your child to plant, grow and care for veggies, beans, and flowers.

Art smart

Believe it, art is a miraculous learning tool that builds dexterity, creativity, innovation, and motivation, and allows your child to apply their new-found knowledge to something that they can call their own.

Think of different mediums as training for different senses and skills. Painting deals with light and colour perception, hand-eye co-ordination, and self-expression. While sculpture deals with spatial awareness, proportions, problem-solving, and gaining a sense of weight and balance.

Provide an art corner, wall, or shelf where you keep art supplies, brushes, paints, crayons, clay, and tools in easy-to-grab buckets. Make use of stacking trays that can be used to carry supplies to and from the work table, doubling up as a portable working surface. Trays will save you from having to clean up every time, and they will help your child keep track of their tools.

Include paper, poster board and even canvas, non-toxic glue, child-friendly scissors, sticky tape, and a range of beads, feathers, google eyes, and bits and bobs for making collages. Always stick to projects based on your other learning themes for the day, allowing your child to choose just one medium to work in at a time, at least to start, so that they won’t be overwhelmed by too many options and ideas.

Sing to the senses

Other than numeric and literacy skills, a great way to ensure that you create a well-rounded educational space for your child is to consider each of the senses: proprioception or body awareness, hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Creating learning nooks or dedicated shelves with educational aids that address each sense is a great way to ensure you stimulate your child’s body and mind on a daily basis. Plant care and art are useful tools for adventures in touch, sight, and aspects of proprioception.

Additionally, you could include listening games and musical instruments, a construction corner with blocks and Lego, physical education options such as blindfolded balancing games, rope climbing or dance, and smelling cards, scented oils, and sample jars to your weekly learning routine.

Speech and Literacy

From the ages of 4-6, your little one should be starting to build their language and literacy skills, including speech, listening, comprehension, reading, and writing. Be sure to include an alphabet poster, chalkboard, chalk, writing implements, paper, and empty books for them to write in and fill.

Include a selection of children’s literacy books and aids and, to really spark their interest, include colourful illustrated nursery rhyme books as well. As far as rhyming books go, you may want to scour second-hand book stores for these, you’ll often find the illustrations to be more detailed and artful in vintage books, and the rhymes are almost impossible to forget!

You should also label everything in the room, and over time, you can teach your child to read, pronounce, write and remember every label on every item in the room – you can even ask your child to help you create them. Once they’ve learned their alphabet, try to focus on 3 labels a day, choosing items that are being used that day, for easy memorisation.

A great place to start sharing speaking, vocabulary, and expression skills is by engaging in responsive, well-spoken conversations with them throughout their time playing, learning, and creating in the home their educational space. Ask them open-ended questions about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, the tools they’ve chosen, and what they plan to do next – and don’t be afraid to use and teach them complex words in the process. 

Open up the world

Knowing our place in the universe is a wonderful thing. Seeing the world in perspective against a backdrop of galaxies, stars, and planets, and then seeing yourself as one and billions of thinking, growing humans in that wide, wide world of cultures, creatures, continents, and seas…Well, it makes us aware of how much more there is to learn! It gives us humility and awe, confidence and curiosity, and that’s what we need in a learning space!

Right now, your child’s world only stretches as far as the rooms, parks, tv programs, pets, and people to which they’ve been exposed. Now, you have the opportunity to open up the world, expose its wonders, and even reveal the stars. You have the power to expand your child’s inner, imaginative playground exponentially, by showing them what’s outside their sphere, and you can do so in a way that’s safe – by adding general knowledge books.

So, use science, nature, and travel posters, national geographic magazines, old encyclopedias, and books (even if your little one can’t read yet) to open a window on outer space, the solar system, the world, and all its peoples, nature, technology and inventions, sea-creatures, land creatures, sky-creatures, the list goes on. It’s important to use illustrated materials so that, when a child shows interest in something, you can read to them about it.

There’s no need to go out and find kiddies volumes for this one, just ensure that every page and poster gets screened and that the less child-proof articles have been discretely removed – and be sure to avoid trivial topics like beauty, gossip, and fad magazines.

In conclusion

With all these learning aids, toys, books, and art supplies, you may be worried about who’s going to be doing all the cleaning. See this as an opportunity to teach your child the benefits of staying organised. Give your young genius the responsibility of wiping down and packing their learning aids away after sessions, ensuring that each and every item gets returned to its proper, designated, and labeled place.

This is an invaluable way to build independence, organisation, and neatness skills, and, over time, your child may even come to realise that it pays to keep a clean workspace from the get-go, especially when you’re the one who has to tidy up!

Why Winter Play is Important!

Why Winter Play is Important!

There’s NO such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes: why winter play is so important for young children

It’s no secret that, at least in early childhood, our little ones inherit our attitudes about life, people, and the environment – and the same is true of seasons, like winter.

Whether it’s the proverbial ‘catching of a winter cold’, inevitable slips and falls on a frosty playground, or a ton of muddy laundry to do when all is said and done, too many parents and guardians see the chilly wet of winter weather as something for children to hide from.

Less to lose and more to gain

In time, growing children with winter-shy parents learn to dread the barren, monotone months of winter, cooped up inside with no respite. It seems like nature’s punishment.

Worse yet, cooped-up children might never realise what they’re missing, engrossed in iPads, films, and bought games, unaware of the possibilities of nature, and unwilling to conserve it.

On the other hand, when parents and guardians start to explore the myriad benefits of letting little ones engage in outdoor play in the wintertime, children grow up seeing winter as a wonderland, full of new possibilities, white magic, and fun! Doesn’t this feel like a better outlook?!

Provided parents check the weather in advance, and dress their winter munchkins accordingly (with raincoats, Wellingtons, scarves and mittens, and woolly socks to spare) there are so many benefits to reap from letting children play outdoors in the wintertime.

Let’s take a closer look.

“Don’t go outside or you’ll catch a cold!”

Face it, times change, and people learn. We now know, scientifically speaking, that colds and flu are the results of viruses, not damp clothes, frozen feet, or a chill in the air.

The viruses behind common colds and flu are readily transmitted in the stuffy, overheated, poorly ventilated indoor spaces during winter, not outside in the fresh air and cold weather!

So, by dressing your little one snuggly and sending them outdoors to get their muck on in the wind, rain, or snow, you’re not endangering them, you’re keeping them clear of the viruses that thrive indoors during cooler months.

Hands-on adventure

By letting your kids enjoy outdoor play in winter, you enable hands-on exploration of the lifecycles of plants and animals, and seasonal changes in the environment.

Not only does this teach valuable lessons about the recurring cycles of death and rebirth, hibernation, and re-emergence, but it also teaches children that even formidable winter has unique gifts to offer.

Any child who’s built an ice fortress, a snow angel, or a snow painting, made mud cakes, played puddle-scotch, or zipped along on a wet-grass toboggan knows that there’s fun to be had in winter that simply isn’t an option in summer, and vice versa.

The moral of this story: for those with a little courage and creativity, nature gives and gives and gives, and it takes away only to give back in abundance.

Tomorrow’s superheroes

Freedom of movement in outdoor play develops and strengthens the body’s large muscle groups, improving coordination, balance, and overall motor control. If children are forced to stay dormant during winter, their process of development is essentially interrupted.

Think about it. In winter, physical activity is extra demanding due to the challenges of slippery winter wet, resistant wind, and deep snow, not to mention the body’s constant effort to maintain its internal temperature against the biting cold.

Winter games outdoors give nature’s children the competitive edge, building hardy bodies and immune systems, fine-tuning balance and coordination, and boosting the body’s capacity to endure.

Practical Magic

Winter hones the physical and mental skills learned in the temperate months by piling on both a physical challenge and an element of calculated risk. Through trial and error, children learn that to run on slippery grass, you have to temper your speed and ready your arms in case of a fall.

Children who haven’t been allowed the first-hand experience of ‘learning the hard way’ have no means to hone this essential risk measurement and mitigation skill because it’s not a theoretical lesson, it’s a practical one.

The sense that they can engage their environment regardless of the weather, instead of feeling that they are at the mercy of it, is essential to their sense of self-confidence … not just in terms of weather, but in all aspects of life.

Best & Easy Playdough Recipe

Best & Easy Playdough Recipe

About Play-Dough:

Play-Doh™ is a childhood favourite that every kid loves! Play-Doh™ was originally created to serve as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s but took over as an educational toy two decades later. Play-Doh™ is a combination of flour, salt, and water so it is the perfect kids’ toy because it is non-toxic and reusable (although we don’t recommend eating it!).

Five benefits of Play-Dough

Although Play-Doh™ can be dumbed down to moulding clay into different shapes, it is far more extensive!

1. It develops fine motor skills

The acts of squishing, rolling, cutting, flattening, and more help build up strength in your child’s tiny hands. Your children develop muscles used in their hands for fine motor movements in the future, such as holding a pencil. As a bonus, your child’s hand-eye coordination enhances as Play-Doh forces them to manipulate the materials to fit their ideas.

2. It’s calming for children

Play-Doh™ acts very much like a squishy stress ball. Playing with the clay can help ease tension, release energy, improve focus, and more. For these reasons, Play-Doh™ is especially helpful for children on the spectrum or diagnosed with ADHD or ADD.

3. It encourages creativity

Play-Doh™ comes in so many colours and even textures that there are an unlimited number of creations your kids can make. Play-Doh™ encourages children to use their imagination and think in new and innovative ways.

4. It improves social skills

In a childcare setting, Play-Doh™ is a great practice for developing your child’s social skills. From sharing different colours and tools to collaborating on creations, children are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone, share, and be social with other kids. As a bonus, it promotes playtime – away from devices and electronics.

5. It supports literacy and numeracy

It can be difficult to get children interested in learning, particularly when they are learning to read or do maths. Play-Doh™ is an excellent tool to assist in teaching kids about counting, shapes, colours, and even descriptions!

As you can see, while Play-Doh™ often ends up dried out on the kitchen counter, its benefits are unbelievable.

How to make Play-Dough

Ingredients:
  • 2x cup of flour
  • 2x tbsp of oil (any kitchen oil will do e.g. coconut oil)
  • ½ cup of salt
  • 3x tbsp baking powder (optional)
  • 1 ½ cup of boiling water
  • Gel food colouring (optional – this is what gives Play-Doh™ its vibrant colour!)
Method:
  1. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder (if using) in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in oil and boiling water. Mix until they form the dough consistency.
  3. Sit on a bench and allow it to cool.
  4. Once cooled, add in food colouring (if using) and mix until combined.

HOT TIP: if you want to make several colours, separate the dough into even sections before you add any food colouring. Add one colour to each section.

  1. Knead the dough until it has been thoroughly mixed.

HOT TIP: this can be messy – if you don’t want to stain your hands, use gloves and cover your counter with glad wrap or a cover so you don’t stain your bench.

What Age Is the Best to Start Daycare?

What Age Is the Best to Start Daycare?

When to put your baby in childcare is a loaded question for any mum or dad, however, sometimes it’s a question that most new parents don’t even have the luxury of asking. The fact is, that maternity leave limitations, financial stress, postpartum anxiety, and exhaustion can all mean an early start to childcare is inevitable for your child.

Unfortunately, this loaded question has an equally loaded answer and, to be honest, the jury’s still out on the perfect age for starting daycare. Your child is a unique and precious gem, with unique developmental needs, quirks, and emotional attachments, which is part of what makes this question so difficult to answer.

So let’s begin, rather, with the worst age to put your child in daycare.

What is the worst age to start daycare?

While the exact worst age for daycare is still very much child-dependent, we can safely say that a too-late entry into daycare (kindy 3 to 4 years of age) could mean a much harder transition period for your child. The Queensland government offers a fully funded kindergarten program combined with low-cost long daycare so your child can start a quality kindergarten program much sooner.

An older toddler who’s accustomed to home time with mum and/or dad will feel the full weight of separation anxiety, coupled with the shock of a broken routine, plus a new set of faces, personalities, and social situations to navigate. If you’re trying to decide when to start your child in daycare, we’d say that sooner is better than later!

The good news is that the right daycare with the right educators (as well as a little know-how about how to settle your child into daycare) can go a long way, even if you need to enter your child into a three-year-old kindergarten program at the feisty age of 3-4 years.

Is 6-12 months too early to start your child in daycare?

Let’s face it, in 2022 and beyond, most families don’t have the financial means or option to choose a stay-at-home parenting approach and, even if they do, an early start to daycare still offers a host of impressive benefits that a baby just won’t have at home.

While the first 12 months of a baby’s life are essential to immune development, emotional bonding, and achieving milestones like crawling, walking, and talking, this doesn’t mean starting your child in daycare at 12, 6, or even 3 months is too early!

In fact, the diversity of new environments, new people, and even new bacteria will mean a healthier immune system for your child as they develop. Likewise, the stimulating environment of childcare, social interactions, bright scenery, and enriching activities will help your child to progress and reach those emotional, physical, social, and language milestones at an earlier age.

Last but not least, your daycare and the skilled carers who work there will be able to offer you valuable insight on whether your child is developing at a standard rate for their age group, or whether they are progressing too slowly or too fast!

All you need is the right daycare and a little preparation

As a parent, you want to feel that you’re doing the right thing for your child, we get it, you want to minimise separation anxiety and ensure a safe environment that offers warmth, stimulation, and room for real mental and motor development.

Choose the right daycare, with experienced and well-screened carers and teachers, a space that meets your safety expectations, and programs that offer opportunities for plenty of social and sensory engagement, plus loads of play-based educational fun!

After selecting the right daycare for your child, set them up for an easy transition into daycare by reading our article entitled ‘How to Settle Your New Child into Daycare.’

How To Settle a New Child into Child Care

How To Settle a New Child into Child Care

For parents, contemplating childcare for babies and children can be stressful. Separation anxiety is a force of nature but, more often than not, it’s the parents that feel this anxiety first … and anxiety is contagious!

Remember though, childcare is about more than just getting you back to work, it’s about welcoming your child into a healthy, safe environment where they can engage in early social development with carers and their peers.

How soon can I put my baby into daycare?

Whether you’re putting a baby into a childcare centre at 6 weeks or putting a child into childcare at 18 months, as long as your child has become interactive and responsive, a little preparation is all they need to be psychologically and emotionally ready for the transition into childcare.

The earlier you expose a child to the childcare development tool, the stronger and more independent they will become! Think of this as early training for big transitions and changes to routine later in life, and try to ease them into the process with, well…baby steps!

How to prepare your child for daycare?

For very young or anxious children, it’s important that you get them used to the idea of new faces and new settings, so consider a few visits to the daycare in advance. Allow your child to look over the unfamiliar scenery, and allow the caregivers to hold and interact with your baby, while you stay out of sight.

Three or four accompanied visits should be enough exposure to prepare your child for the childcare centre. Remember, your baby will pick up on your emotions, so stay calm and enjoy the experience. There may be a few tears but push through, allow the carers to work their magic, and don’t worry, you’re allowed to feel a little jealous when that carer first draws out a giggle!

If anything bothers you about the facility or the personnel, if you have safety concerns or simply don’t like what you see, either voice your concerns or move on! If the childcare centre is to your liking, ensure you get their list of rules and items to pack, daily schedule, emergency numbers, and more for when that big day comes.

The night before daycare

It’s important that you align your baby’s sleeping schedule with the schedule at the child care centre, ensuring your child is well-rested and rearing to go when that big day comes. For new babies, check and double-check that all their goodies are packed, with extra clothes just to be sure.

Pack your baby’s trusty blankey or plushy toy in so that they can hang onto a piece of home when they get anxious. You could even keep the item in your own bed the night before, to cover it in the familiar scent of a loving home.

The first day of childcare

Even with prior exposure, this parting may be a difficult one and it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months to settle your new child into daycare…but they will settle! The most important thing here is to help get your child engaged with some object, activity, or staff member as soon as you arrive on that first day of daycare.

Once your child is occupied, you need to wave, smile, reassure yourself and then hightail it out of there ASAP! The longer you linger, the longer it will take for the carer to settle your baby into daycare on that first day.

Remember, children learn through repetition, so establish a consistent routine for drop-offs and pickups, with distinctive wording and tone to help your little one recognise that this ‘goodbye’ means that you are leaving, but will be back later!

What about the guilt?

Many new parents feel overwhelmed with guilt on that first day but remember: this is not a betrayal of trust, and childcare is much more than just a convenience for you.

Childcare has a wealth of benefits for your child’s learning and development, as it is an important social and educational play-based environment that will equip your child for a bright future full of healthy social interactions.