In the United States, kids have already started going back to school! Our kids go back in a matter of days, and our 2-year-old will be going to daycare for the first time. I’m so excited for her because I know she’ll have the best time and she will enjoy being around other kids that are her age.
There are many things you can do to prepare your toddler for daycare. And the best part? You probably already do these things already!
1. Get Rid Of The Pacifier
Oh boy. If your toddler doesn’t use a pacifier then this is obviously one less thing that you’re going to need to do! However, if your toddler still uses a pacifier you may want to consider ditching it. There are lots of reasons behind why, but there are two few main points:
- It’s yet another sign they are getting bigger, and they’re not “babies”
- It could make their time at daycare hard
There’s obviously cold turkey, which is what works for our family. Yes, we have a few rough nights but after that, it is smooth sailing. Our toddler actually still uses a pacifier only at night, so our next step is to take that away.
There’s doing it slow and steady. Depending on how often your toddler uses their pacifier. Maybe it’s time to only cut it down to bedtime, or a little bit during the day.
There are also more creative ways to do it, that I’ve personally never tried. I read somewhere once that a mom cut a little bit of the pacifier each day and when it was gone it was gone. I read somewhere else that a mom said she told her toddler that they should “give it to other children in need of them” so get creative if you have to!
2. Reminders About Sharing
Reminders, we all need them! Reminding frequently to share is helpful. Our 2-year old who is starting daycare in a matter of days has trouble at times sharing toys. But, then there are times she has no problems at all.
Giving a reminder is just helping them to remember. Kids need repeitiveness!
3. Talking About School
When you’re excited about something, you talk about it right?! So get them pumped to go to daycare. Talk about it often. I can’t even count the times I’ve said to my daughter “Are you ready for school soon?!”, “Are you going to have fun and make friends?!” in the last month!
Also, there are many, many YouTube videos on going to school for the first time. This one (It’s CocoMelon, you’ve been warned that you and your child may get addicted if you’ve never heard of it before) is one that I’ll be playing right up until that first drop-off.
It will help them be more excited, too!
4. Keeping A Routine
It’s can be difficult to stick to a routine sometimes. Especially when you have multiple kids! But there are some things that we just don’t budge on. For instance, bedtime is around the same time every night. And we’re consistent on house rules.
5. Visiting The School
Another great thing to do is visit the school! Unfortunately, with COVID we did not get to do this before she started. So, I’m hoping that it will still be smooth once I drop her off in the morning for the first time.
If you have the option, visiting the school is a great way to get your toddler acclimated to the new environment they’ll be in! Maybe even showing pictures will help? We got an email with a video of our daughters classroom, so that could be helpful too!
6. Bring A Familiar Toy
It may not be a bad idea to pack a familiar toy in their bookbag for the first day! Of course, they do have toys there so they won’t be lacking in the toy department.
Be careful though, it could end up lost or you could end up forgetting about it and have a problem at home later…so make sure it’s a toy that you’re okay with taking if you decide to go that route!
7. Make Drop-Off Quick
Drop-offs are so hard, especially during the first week or so. Of course, you don’t want to hurt your toddlers feelings by leaving!
One of the things they tell us at our daughter’s daycare is to keep drop-offs quick but also let them know you’ll be back soon. Or that daddy (or whoever) will be picking them up. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the door, but it will get easier!
8. Try Not To Show If You’re Emotional
I know that I’m not the only emotional mama. Dropping off your toddler to have a fun-filled day at school without you is so hard. It’s best not to show that you’re sad (or going to cry, like me) and keep a strong face. (I know I’m not. the only mama who’s cried in the car either!)
It just helps all around and then you won’t have a mommy and toddler crying in the morning. Again, one of the reasons why you should make the drop-offs as quick as you can!
Final thoughts on preparing your toddler for daycare
Dropping your toddler off at daycare for the first time is hard. It’s a big change for both you and your toddler. But you can make the transition into daycare as easy as you can! Just keep in mind that all children are different and will start to enjoy daycare sooner than others.
Keeping your routines the same, the morning drop-offs quick, and talking about school often are just a few of the ways that you can prepare your toddler for daycare. Just remember that you’re not alone and you are doing the best you can for your baby. That is all we mama’s can do, is the best we can.
How did or will you prepare your toddler for daycare to make it easy for them (and you)? I’d love to know!
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