As we wind down in preparation for end of year…. some of us may anticipate what the beginning of 2018 holds for children and families new to our services or even changing rooms and educators.
Entering into a new child care arrangement can be an emotional experience for both parent and child. However, careful planning, and the knowledge that some separation anxiety and tears are normal, can make the transition from parent to child care centre as pleasant as possible. How quickly the child adapts depends on a number of factors including: the child’s age and stage of development; the child’s past experiences in the care of others; the skills of the educator and appropriateness of the new setting; and the adults’ ability to prepare themselves and the child for the separation. Here are some strategies to help make the process go smoothly;
Ask families about their child’s likes and dislikes, their expectations and goals, eating and sleeping patterns, fears, attachment handles (blankey / teddy).. So that you as the educator can best understand the needs of the child.
Send Christmas wishes via post / email to new families with photos of “next years” educators and a short blurb about their interests / hobbies/ pets/ families. Families can pop this on the fridge and start conversations about attending next year.
Encourage, where possible, families to have orientation visits or attend shorter hours in the first 2 weeks. This will assist the child in “easing into’ their new routine and can make the transition less overwhelming for them. Talk with families at these visits to build a relationship and sense of trust.
Assist families in developing a good morning and good bye routine. Keep it positive and consistent so the child learns what to expect and usually the child will settle much quicker if mum / dad appear happy and relaxed rather than stressed, upset or inconsistent.
Accept and acknowledge the way the child feels… it is NOT OK to tell a child “to stop being a baby” or “stop crying mum will be back soon”… because she won’t be … she’ll be back at the end of the day and for an upset child this is a long time!!! We need to empathise with the child… “I understand you’re upset. It’s Ok. I am going to look after you today, how about we find something you like… I think we have trains over here and I know you like those…”
Be physically & emotionally available to children. You need to develop an attachment so they feel safe and secure
Be sympathetic to parents. Some parents have a very hard time leaving their child… in reality you are a stranger!! So, listen to how parent’s feel, tell them its OK, they can call as many times as they like during the day.
Inform families upon pick up about their child’s day. It is important that families feel that you care for, like and respect their child! You can even email them during the day along with a picture of their child settled and playing.
Look at families as partners in the education process! They are great resources!!!