Childcare for babies can be an immensely beneficial situation for both care-giver and child, as time is freed for parents to work and take care of other areas of their life while their child explores the world around them and continues their development with a trusted carer who is attentive to their needs.
Often considered a tumultuous time for parent and child, childcare creates opportunities for adults and provides nurture and encourages development for infants as well as young children.
It is often a time of mixed emotions and transition for families, moving from full-time contact with their child to childcare.
One important thing to remember is that although there will be feelings of separation anxiety and concern, it is important to remain positive about childcare with your child. Your baby may not be speaking yet and may not quite understand the English language, however, this does not make them immune to communication whatsoever.
We often forget how sensitive children are to our feelings and how they can perceive them so it important we do not transfer our fear and anxieties to our children even inadvertently.
If they see that you are responding positively to this change of circumstance, they’ll very likely follow suit, providing a better outcome for child, parent and educators alike.
That said, make sure you seek support and share any concerns or fears you have in engaging childcare with your partner, friends or family members. This is a big change for you as well as your child, so it’s normal to feel some trepidation or anxiety as you go through this time.
Preparing baby for childcare: in the lead up.
Speak with your partner and friend about the upcoming inclusion of childcare in your life, particularly those who have been through the process or have similar aged children currently. If you do not have this network or wish to speak anonymously, online forums and social media groups can be a great place to find and share information.
Just remember that although many people like to share their opinion or claim to be experts, you and your family are the only ones who can decide ultimately what is best for your child and how you want to approach childcare in your lives.
It is best to begin preparing for childcare in the weeks leading up to your baby’s planned childcare start date. Whether its by reading up on others experiences, ensuring you have all the items your child will need when in care or exploring ideas for what you will be doing while your child is not at home, any mental and practical preparation prior to commencing childcare will be beneficial for you and your child.
It’s also a great idea to get your child familiar with the early learning centre they will be spending time at, as infants, like other children, are aware of their surroundings and this will help to familiarise them with the sights and sounds of the facility.
If you haven’t yet enrolled or had a chance to book a tour at Sandringham Children’s Centre, use this link to book a time so you can start this process and become familiar with the facilities yourself. Even walking, driving or taking transport to and from the centre will help familiarise yourself and your baby with the process.
Educators will need to know all the important information about your baby, including:
- Immunisation history
- Allergies and/or intolerances
- Sleep schedule
- Family circumstances
- Developmental concerns
- Individual preferences
- Medical and emergency information
Some people find it helpful to write this all down as a one-page profile for their baby and others are happy to share this information in informal discussions with their educator.
If you are unsure about what information you should share for your child’s transition to childcare, call our friendly team on 9598 7700 and we can discuss your child’s needs.
Another good idea is to consider what you would like to know form your child’s educator. What will your baby’s day look like? How do you respond to x issue? What if x happens?
While its of little use to you or your child for your educator to run through each and every possible scenario they may encounter throughout the day, asking a few questions about what your baby will experience while you’re not there may help to relieve anxiety and provide some peace of mind for you once the time comes to leave them at childcare.
Preparing for childcare: on the day
Like any outing with baby, especially those a little less rehearsed, you probably already know it’s wise to prepare the night before and have everything ready to go so that the morning is less chaotic.
If possible, try to ensure you and your child get a good sleep the night before and they have eaten and been bathed as per their routine. If there are any anomalies let the educators know upon arriving at the centre so that they can keep this in mind when caring for your baby throughout the day.
Pack everything your child needs for the day, a change of clothes, bottles, formula, medicines and any particular ‘comfort items’ your child may have, such as their teddy or a certain blanket.
Clearly label all of the above items with your child’s name and make sure you don’t pack any items or clothing that are overly precious. Although it’s uncommon to have items go missing or break, it does happen, so it’s best you try to pack items that you won’t miss.
As for food at Sandringham Children’s Centre, we provide an age-appropriate delicious menu of seasonal fruit and vegetable purees. To improve dexterity and fine motor skills we provide finger foods for babies to much on and we also have a special area to prepare a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula for your baby.
Baby is in childcare being looked after by trusted and experienced educators, you’ve got a little more time on your hands and your family has made the transition from at home care with baby, to infant happily enjoying childcare. Congratulations!
While the transition to childcare can be difficult and fill some caregivers with anxiety, there is clear evidence of the long-term benefits for both children and families, including social and cognitive development for children, easier transitions to formal education and improved mental health for parents.