Tips for Preparing Your Child for Their First Day of Daycare

tips for preparing your children for daycare

One of the biggest things we’ve noticed as a childcare provider is that many parents often end up frazzled and understandably emotional when it’s time for their little ones to start daycare.  It’s a big step for parents and children alike, which is why making the right preparations for the first day of daycare is key for ensuring a smooth transition. 

So, if you’re planning to enrol your child into daycare for the very first time, here’s a guide to everything you need to know about how you can set them up for success and preparing for their big first day.

Sort out the daycare essentials

Let’s get started with the practical essentials your child will need at daycare. Here’s what you should prepare for them on their first day, and every day after that: 

  • Backpack – A small backpack is a great way to organise all of your child’s essentials in one place. 
  • Clothes (+ a spare set) — Spills and mess are bound to happen, and when they do, it’s ideal to have a fresh set of clothes ready for your child to change into. 
  • Change of socks + underwear — Same reason as spare clothes. Especially important if your child is still in the process of toilet training. 
  • Water bottle — Giving your child their own water bottle helps to prevent them from accidentally drinking from other’s cups, exposing them to germs and illnesses. 
  • Sun safety (hat, sunscreen) — Provide simple outdoor protection so that your child can stay safe from the sun during outdoor play or excursions.  

Day care essential bullet points for Eikoh Blog entitled "Tips for Preparing Your Child for Their First Day of Daycare

Preparing your child

With practical items out of the way, let’s talk about the best way to prepare your child for their first day at daycare, and possibly, their first whole day away from you. 

Attachment issues aside, it’s natural for your child to feel nervous or even fearful to leave your side and into the hands of carers that they are unfamiliar with. It’s important that you help your child acknowledge these fears instead of chiding them for displaying difficult behaviour. Here are some helpful tips to help them adjust to the idea of attending daycare: 

Do a ‘dry run’ with a visit ahead of the big day

Doing a “dress rehearsal” of sorts where you and your child take a trip down to the child care can help them become more comfortable with doing so on their actual first day. Going down to the childcare centre also offers them a view of the venue itself, eliminating some fear of the unknown. Consider doing this dry run at the time that you would usually drop your child off in the future. 

Child Preparation Tips for Firday Day at Day Care for Eikoh Blog entitled "Tips for Preparing Your Child for Their First Day of Daycare

Practise your morning routine ahead of time

Getting ready for daycare means dressing up, having breakfast, and everything else in between. Help your child get familiar with the new routine by starting to practise it in the days (or even weeks) leading up to the big day. This can help establish a habit with your child, making it easier to get them ready on their first day. 

Pack everything the night before

Planning ahead for a smooth first day at daycare also involves packing the essentials ahead of time. This will give you the opportunity to spend more time with your child in the morning, not just to get them ready, but also to provide reassurance to them that you’re still by their side. 

Share the excitement with your child

It’s a well-researched fact that children mirror their parents in both behaviour and emotions, especially at a young age. Sharing your excitement with your child about their progress is a great way to help them look forward to it. From their perspective, if Mum and Dad are excited for it, it must be something worth being excited for as well!

Preparation for parents

Preparing your child is only one half of the approach — the other half lies with preparing yourself to “let go” of your child. 

Schedule your morning

Anticipate that it will take some time for you to help your child get ready and schedule your time accordingly so that you’ll have ample time to treasure the moment with your child, and not have to rush through the morning. This includes travel time as well — we all know how busy morning traffic can get. 

Keep your emotions in check when saying goodbye

We’ve seen both smiles and tears on the first day of daycare — in fact, many parents often approach our staff to ask for more time to say goodbye to their children during drop off. Our advice is to try and keep your emotions positive when sending them off. Children are sensitive to emotions, and can easily be overwhelmed when their parents show signs of sadness or fear.

Parent's Preparation for the first day in Daycare for Eikoh Blog entitled "Tips for Preparing Your Child for Their First Day of Daycare

When in doubt, remind yourself of the positives

Even after you’ve dropped your child off for the first time, it’s normal for them to remain on your mind throughout the day. When you feel yourself having negative or anxious thoughts, it can help to remind yourself of how daycare will contribute to your child’s growth. It’s a necessary step that encourages independence and helps them learn in a whole new way. 

Be on time for drop off and pickup

Last but not least, try your best to be punctual for drop off and pickup. Being on time will not only establish a proper routine for you and your child, but it will also help your child learn what to expect as they adjust to early learning in a daycare environment. It’s especially important not to be late when picking up your child — be on time to show them that they can rely on you to be there for them. 

At Eikoh Seminar, we offer support for all parents and children who attend our daycare and childcare services. As the best provider of childcare in Sydney’s lower north shore, our centres in Normanhurst, St Ives, Roseville, and West Ryde are designed to provide the ideal environment for your young ones to learn and play.