In order to help your child settle in to the childcare environment and enjoy, learn and make friends, there are some things that we can do with you and your child that can help things go smoothly

How important is it for my child to visit the centre before they start?

When your child starts at an early childhood centre it is really important for them to visit a number of times before they start to enable them to get familiar and comfortable with the setting and activities.  Think about how you felt when you first started a training course or a new job.  You are often unsure what it will be like and how you will get on.  It can be the same for your child when they start in early childhood.  There can be lots of uncertainty in an unfamiliar environment.  By taking your child to visit the centre it reduces their anxiety because they will meet the teachers, get to know the environment and other children at the centre and start to get an understanding of the activities of the day and routines.

 

How do I go about settling my child into an early childhood environment?

The best way to settle your child into the centre is to take them to visit a number of times.  The key thing is to provide them with the opportunity to experience the environment that you will be leaving them in so they can become familiar and comfortable.  If your child has been in other centres it may take them less time to adapt to a new environment.

When should we start the settling process?

The general rule of thumb is to start the settling process two weeks before your child starts.  The mornings between 9:30 and 11:00 are usually the best times to take your child as they are fresh and open to new experiences.

How often should we visit before starting?

There is no magic number of times that will work, as each child is different.  However, if you start two weeks before hand and see how well your child adapts to the new environment.  Discuss how they are going with the teaching staff.  This is the opportunity for you and your child to build relationships with the centre and the teaching team and for them to get to know about your child and the aspirations you have for him/her.

How long should we be spending at the centre during the settling time?

It is great to visit the centre for 1 hour at a time.  This makes the visits with your child long enough to gain some familiarity, but doesn’t build up the idea that you will always be in this environment with your child.  If parents stay for long periods of time it can become hard for the child to then be without them when it comes time to start.

What can I do to help my child settle in?

The important thing for your child to see is that they are coming to a warm, loving and caring environment.  If they see you comfortable in the environment and interacting and playing with others, then they will generally start to do the same thing.  This is a time to discuss with the teachers what your child likes doing, what his/her interests are, as this will help them get the child interacting and feeling comfortable in the environment.

Should I bring their favourite toy from home?

If after a few days of bringing your child to the centre they are unsettled you are welcome to bring along a favourite toy or blanket to provide them with a sense of security or familiarity.  This will be a temporary measure as we encourage children to leave their toys at home and enjoy playing with the wide variety of resources at the centre.  The main reason for this is that children often find it hard to share their own toys, but when it belongs to the centre they are more likely to grasp the concept of taking turns and sharing with others.  This is a disposition (behaviour) that is really important in life.

Our role as educators is to develop a good knowledge of your child’s likes, dislikes, interests and key dispositions so that we can provide exciting opportunities for them to learn.  However, no child will learn until they feel that they are in a safe and secure environment.  Once they have built up this sense of belonging they will no longer require their own toys.

Will I ever leave them at the centre on their own before they officially start?

Depending on how the settling process is going, there will be some occasions when we feel there is a good opportunity for the parent/caregiver to leave the room to allow their child some independence to explore the room without you.  On most occasions this will be for a short time where you are welcome to have a coffee or tea in the staff room.

What if I don’t have time to settle my child before they start?

It is not recommended to enrol a child and leave them at the centre without having a settling period.  If you find yourself in this position, we recommend that you look at all options of finding someone who can bring your child in, even if it is only for 20 minutes to provide them with some familiarity with the environment and teaching team.  If this is not possible, then please arrive early enough on their first day so that you can spend 30 minutes with them to help them familiarise themselves with us and us with them.  You will need to allow this extra time for them to feel comfortable with us than you would have, had you done settling with them prior to them starting.

What do I do when it is time for my child to start?

Talk to your child about starting at the centre.  Discuss all the exciting opportunities they will have to make new friends, play with lots of different toys and have new and exciting adventures.  At Remuera Discovery Express children learn through play – so it’s all about fun!  Find out what your child may be thinking and answer their questions.  Prepare them for the start date.

When you drop them off on the first day, make sure you have told the child that they are going to be left with us for the day.  Time is often a difficult concept for children to understand but you might say something like: “You are starting at Discovery Express next week/tomorrow.  I will take you to the centre and then I need to go to work, so you will be spending the day there.  I will pick you up after afternoon tea.”  Once again ask them how they feel about this and answer any of their questions.  Pass any concerns the child has onto the teacher so we can help them through the day.

When you leave the centre, make sure you tell your child that you are going to work now.  Don’t sneak off when they are not looking, as they will come looking for you later and get upset when they realise you have left them.  By being honest and telling them you are going, you build that trust with your child.  The teaching team will be there to help you say goodbye and will direct your child to something they enjoy.

What do I do if I am worried about my child once I have left them?

It is totally normal to feel anxious about how your child’s first day, week, and month is going.  Please feel free to call the centre and we will give you an update on your child.  We are her to help you.

What do I do if I have concerns about my child settling in?

Each child is different when they settle into a new environment.  If you have concerns about your child, talk to the teachers and they will discuss various strategies and ideas that will help your child feel comfortable.  We are experienced and can help throughout this process.  It is quite normal for you to feel anxious, but often this anxiety will pass to your child.  If you talk openly about your child being upset at the centre in front of them, they will generally act upset because they have heard you say they are.  Make sure you are not passing your worries onto your child.

Our role is to make each and every child feel welcome and important. We want both the children and teachers to enjoy each day and be in harmony, in a safe and happy home away from home.

If you feel that you need a quality childcare centre for your child’s great start in life, feel free to email us at hello@lightbulblearning.co.nz or you may call 573 1293. Visit Lightbulb Learning Childcare now!