The first time you’re sending your baby away, either to daycare or kindergarten, can be very tough and emotional for you and the child. Sometimes it comes with incredible guilt.

You feel like you’re letting the child go too soon and why couldn’t you just stay at home and teach the child whatever he or she needs to know? Other times it is just gut-wrenching. Your heart literally aches. There’s just no easy way on how to cope with sending your baby to daycare on the first day.

However, it can help in some way to know that you’re sending the child to a carefully selected daycare where he or she can be properly looked after.

How to cope with sending your baby to daycare for the first time

The following tips can help you cope with sending your baby to daycare or kindergarten, for the first time.

Trial days

If your daycare centre allows trial days, you should take advantage of that. Head over there with your child and try to leave him or her there for thirty to sixty minutes. This acts as a build-up to the first day you’re going to be completely away for a better part of the day.

Allow yourself to feel sad

The first time you fully drop your child off can be very emotional. You may even find yourself shedding a tear or two. It is okay to let yourself feel sad, but try not to do it in front of the child because this may be confusing. The child may draw different conclusions. May wonder why you’re sending him or her away if it brings this much sadness. The child may get the idea that daycare or kindergarten must be a dangerous place if it’s making you cry. Or that he or she is responsible for your hurt.

Concentrate on the bigger picture

Think about the bigger picture if you’re feeling sad or guilty for sending your child to daycare. Daycare is good for both of you. It will afford you the time to get back to work. But more importantly, it will help your child to socialize and begin to acquire the skills that will help them for the rest of their lives. As a parent, it’s not always easy to see the bigger picture but you must try. Maybe you can use the reaffirmation technique. Say it to yourself audibly again and again.

A sweet and short goodbye

Let the child know how much you love them when it’s time to say goodbye. A ritual you both have can put the child at ease at that moment. But don’t overdo it, as this may signify that there’s something wrong and you’re trying desperately to reassure them. Even if the child isn’t old enough to understand your words, still establish a goodbye routine. The child will come to associate it with “Mummy’s time to leave.”

A distraction helps

Unless it’s your first day at work, in which case you have to work, a distraction may be just what you need. Work can act as a distraction too. But if you’re not working, you can go to the movies, or take up that project you’ve been putting off. Go for a pedicure. This will stop you from worrying and wondering how your child is faring.

Extra bonding time at home

When your child returns home, take some time out to talk about their day or just spend some bonding time with them. This way your child knows that you’re still interested in being part of their day even when you’re not there.

Whichever daycare or kindergarten you are sending your child to, make sure to get recommendations from other mums. Head there and check out the facilities yourself, the routines, and the general quality of the services they provide.

This article was first published on AfricaParent.com



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