When you added a new baby to your family, you went through an enormous life change where you had to spend several weeks bonding. But perhaps the time has come to go back to work, and you have decided that daycare is the best option for you and your baby. Yet the hassle is not over yet, as you must be comfortable with this next step in your life. When you are more relaxed, your baby will remain calm and relaxed during this process leading to a more positive experience for you both.
This is why it is critical to devise a plan for you and your baby before dropping off your child at daycare. Making a plan can help make you feel more confident, but where to start? How do you prepare yourself and the baby for this new experience? There are some basic things that you can do to help get ready for your baby’s first day. Preparing baby for daycare will help ease any stress or anxiety that you both might encounter.
1. Set Schedules and Routines
Establishing schedules and routines will help ensure that your baby knows what to expect. Start with waking up close to the same time every morning. Continue with the same routine that you will follow every day – change their diaper and clothes, giving the morning feeding. Maybe even put some time aside to bond with your baby by reading a book or singing a song, whatever works for you.
Your baby will begin to learn this routine and may even anticipate what is going to happen throughout the day. Once you have a regular process in place, you should start to involve others in this process.
2. Leave Your Baby for Short Periods of Time
Invite a family member or family friend over during your lunch routine. Ask this person to feed the baby, read the baby’s favorite book, and comfort the baby when needed. When naptime comes, ask the person to go through your normal process to put the baby down for a nap. After your baby has spent time with someone else helping with these routines, you can begin leaving your baby for an hour or so with your friend or family member.
3. Visit the Daycare and Meet the Teachers
Before leaving the baby on the first day try to bring the baby to the daycare and meet the teachers. Prepare some questions you would like answered during your visit before your visit. Now that you have established a schedule, you can share the schedule with the teachers during your visit. Let the teachers hold and spend a little time with the baby. You will probably receive a checklist of items that your child will need to have on his/her first day. Ask the teachers if there is anything else that might be useful to bring.
4. Pack Your Bags
Now that you have a list of things your baby will need at daycare, you can start preparing those items. Some things you might need include nappies, wipes, diaper cream, bottles, formula, food, a special blanket and toy, and sheets. Make a list of other things your baby might want or need at daycare. Have the diaper bag packed the night before.
5. Schedule a Trial Run
Before your first day, practice a trial run. It might be helpful to do this multiple times. Pretend you are going to the daycare. Include extra time in the morning for those unexpected events that will probably come up. You might also need to include additional time to say your goodbyes when you leave your baby.
When you get up in the morning, go through your new routine. Gather your things and your baby’s things for daycare. Make the trip while keeping an eye on the time to ensure you have enough time to drop the baby off, say goodbye, and make it to work on time. On your trial run, you can probably leave some of your baby’s supplies at the center. You will have one less thing to remember on your baby’s first day.
This does not have to be a tense or arduous situation. Creating a strategy and having a system in place can assist in making this a gratifying time in your life.