Babies First Daycare
The following tips on how to transition your baby to daycare are to act as a guideline and come straight from the source on both sides of the fence! I am not only a mom, I am also a home daycare provider for nearly a decade and can share advise based on personal experience from a number of different scenarios, family situations, genders, ages of the baby and family dynamics.
Lets first begin by being completely honest about something – this transition seems hard on baby but is actually traumatic for mom! The first piece of advise I would give is to bring your baby with you when you are meeting your home daycare provider. Some of you might be blessed to have a personality thermometer of a child that can show you clear signs of a great choice, however, that is very unlikely as the baby has complete comfort with you being present.
My reason for advising you to bring your baby is to get a good feel for the care provider. Don’t worry about how sleepy or cranky or hyper or clingy (or anything else “negative”) that your baby will probably be during the interview process; because lets face it, our kids are perfect until we need them to be right?!
I’m not giving this advise to set up disaster or to throw my fellow home daycare mommies to the wolves or anything – I am simply giving this advise for the honest well being of your precious baby! In my opinion, the baby should not be with someone who lacks patience or even that simple compassion you hope your childcare provider will have for your baby when they need it most! Watch, not for the expected babbling over your baby but rather the facial expressions and body language of the care provider when your child is cranky, fussing or adorable and quiet… watch to see if she leans in to interact with your baby in a completely natural way or does it look forced and fake? Does she look like she wants to (or even better does she offer to) snuggle and calm your baby and get to know her or him?
The reality is, just because someone might not be ideal for looking after babies does not make them a bad care provider; it just means they need to be working with a different age group! Nothing at all wrong with that, but I am sure you will be much happier to find out during the interview process rather than after you have started with them.
Ok, so now lets move on to the part where you have picked a daycare. Now for the dreaded transition time.
I cannot tell you how often I have had parents ask me to do a “gradual entry” of some kind to ease the child into the new daycare routine and make the transition easier on them. I must tell you – this is the WORST thing you could possibly do!!! This idea makes complete sense to me and from the bottom of my heart as a mama I completely understand why you would think this is a good idea and bless your heart for doing everything in your power to make this tough change easier on your baby.