Sending your child to daycare for the first time can be emotional and trying for them–and for you! When your child is old enough and emotionally prepared for daycare, it can take some time to adjust. But what do you do if they don’t adjust? Here are some tips on what to do when your child is having problems at daycare.
1. Make sure you’ve established a drop-off & pickup daycare routine
Do you have a drop-off routine with your child? This sort of routine can reduce stress by giving everyone in the family plenty of time to get ready in the morning. Leave your child with a small memento to remind them that you’ll be back to get them. You can also get more specific in your routine by parking in the same area, walking them to their classroom, putting their things away, and saying goodbye. Routine can feel comforting when handling new experiences.
When picking up your child, be on time and arrive at the same time each day if possible. Again, routine can be a source of comfort to your child. By having a special activity planned after daycare at home or elsewhere, your child will have something to look forward to, even if their day doesn’t go well. The activity can be something like reading a new book together, visiting the park, or having a playdate with a friend.
2. Pay attention to what your child tells you
In the classroom or on the way home from daycare, have your child tell you about their day. What did they like or not like? If your child seems upset, ask them questions to figure out why. This way, you can figure out if there’s a real problem.
Your child might say that the teacher is mean, yells, or doesn’t like them. They might talk about another child who hurts them. They might say they feel frustrated or they cry a lot. Whatever the issue might be, have them talk about it more. Every kid is different, so you’ll know if yours is just emotional or over-exaggerating. If they’re genuinely upset, however, focus on making your child feel better. Then you can begin gathering more information and understand if you need to take action.
If you know another parent whose child is enrolled in the same daycare, ask them if their child is also having problems or if they’ve observed anything concerning at the center. You may have to speak with the daycare provider to learn more.
3. Talk to the daycare teacher and ask for advice
If your child is having severe behavioral issues or seems extremely upset all the time, chances are high that your daycare provider will contact you about it first. But remember that teachers are busy, so you may need to schedule an appointment to talk about your concerns. Once you’ve scheduled that meeting, relax and remain calm–even if you suspect something serious. As a parent, it’s easy to let your protective instincts take over. Putting a teacher on the defensive can make things worse, so be open to discussion and resolution.
One thing you can do, depending on your daycare’s regulations and your schedule, is volunteer for a day. By volunteering, you can observe your child and the daycare’s environment. You can pinpoint which activities might be upsetting your child and why. Maybe your child prefers making art alone but they have to participate in group art projects at daycare. Maybe they typically get sleepy after playing outside but naptime at daycare is scheduled earlier or later. If it’s something your child can get used to, giving it time will help. If it’s not, you may need to speak to the daycare provider further or even consider finding another daycare.
At the end of the day, you know your child best. Some issues will work themselves out over time or with a few minor adjustments. Others might need your involvement by speaking to your daycare teacher. Finding a new daycare can seem like a disruptive solution, but that may be the best course of action to take for your child especially if they’re having any problems while at daycare.
Author Bio :
Sara Mauskopf is the CEO and co-founder of Winnie, a platform that helps parents discover the best daycares, preschools, and more. Winnie is growing fast with over one million parents in 10,000 cities across the United States. Sara is the mom of two young daughters and created Winnie after she had trouble finding great child care for her first daughter.