As we move into a new season, from summer to autumn, it is an apt time to think about new beginnings. Throughout life, from birth to adulthood, there are many firsts we encounter; experiences which are often accompanied by both excitement and apprehension.
Your child’s first day at Choklits Child Care is one such momentous occasion, and we hope that we can provide some tips and insight into how to make it a positive and successful experience for you and your child.
Before visiting our centre, you may have found out a bit about us through social media (like Instagram or YouTube), our website or blogs like this one. It’s a great idea to share this information with your children (as appropriate to their age) as it helps to build familiarity and use it to gather questions you may have for us during your firsts few visits.
Visit Choklits before the first day
Perhaps the most integral part of your child’s preparation are your visits to our centre prior to their first day. These will help to increase your child’s comfort with the transition not only through gaining familiarity with new people and a new place, but also by watching you interacting positively with their educators. This is especially important for the littlest learners to feel safe as they are most likely to take their cues from you. Becoming familiar with our centre and educators begins during tours and throughout the orientation process.
We have also written a children’s book called “Meet the Chokliteers” which follows the characters Junie, Ned, Merinda and Chan Ming as they get ready for their days at Choklits. Reading the book to your child further helps build familiarity, it’s available by clicking on the image below.
Meet the Chokliteers
Orientation involves beginning to build the foundation of our relationship. We’ll ask you to complete the enrolment process and invite you to begin interacting with the educators who’ll be caring for your child. This collaboration during your orientation will spark getting to know your family. During this process, we’ll discuss the basics; “name, address and allergies”, but also learn about your child’s interests, needs and any important information you think we should know. We’ll use this valuable knowledge from you, the expert in your child, in combination with our skills as early childhood experts, to build meaningful relationships and positive learning outcomes for your child.
Meet our educators
Here at Choklits, relationships with both yourself and your child are critical to what we do. Two-way communication is the foundation of this; build a relationship with your child’s educator through conversations, ask questions, and share important information about your child. This open dialogue will not only help your child’s educators to become familiar with their interests and needs, but also hopefully give you reassurance as you receive information about their day.
Mentally prepare your child
On your end, gradually mentally preparing your child for this new experience is incredibly helpful. You can do this by explaining what’s going to happen when you arrive and talking them through each step. Something like “we’re going to put your water and bag away, then I’m going to give you a big hug and say goodbye” is perfect.
Older children particularly benefit from support through conversations about what their day is going to look like. It is natural for children to be nervous about unfamiliar situations, so providing lots of information about a new experience can help it to seem less daunting. Talk to them about drop offs, pick ups, new friends and their educators, and answer the many questions they’re sure to ask. They might also like to be involved in choosing a water bottle, bag or special toy to bring with them for extra comfort.
Watch our video!
Our video by Nursery Room Leader and Educational Leader Jodie about what to bring for your child’s first day has some great information, so please check it out! As we mentioned above, a favourite toy can help comfort your child, and the essentials are a water bottle and spare set of clothes. For instance, play in our many outside areas might mean your child splashes in the mud, digs in the dirt or finds themselves armpit deep in a sandpit creation. A change of clothes can come in handy for those grubby (but fulfilling!) learning moments.
Important tips for new beginnings
Our last important tips for you are to be consistent and positive.
- Establishing a routine for drop offs will help your child be able to anticipate and become familiar with what to expect, lessening any nervousness.
- It can be an overwhelming experience for parents as their children transition into child care, but with your child taking cues from you, keep it as positive as you can. You could try saying “I know this can seem scary, but you’ll be safe and I’ll be back after afternoon tea”. Extra reassurance can be gained from checking in with your child’s educators through phone calls, emails or via our parents communication app.
Support and communication
Each child will respond differently to the unfamiliar and new experience; some won’t give you a backwards glance, while others will take time to build their trust. Our team at Choklits will be there to guide and support you through each moment. As children build their sense of belonging and security in their new environment, they will thrive with the wonderful opportunities for learning and making friends. Going to child care is a big step, but the memories and independence they will gain from the experience are invaluable and will stick with them for life.