Preparing for Daycare

In today’s world, most families can’t afford for mom to stay at home with a tot. But while daycare can be a daunting transition, your little one will probably love the new environment sooner than you think (or hope). Consider these factors when preparing you and your little one for the change.

Crèche, nanny or day mother?
Between cost, convenience and safety, choosing the right daycare solution can get complicated. And it starts with deciding whether to send your baby to a crèche, get a nanny, or send them to a day mother – each of which has its own pros and cons.

The benefits of a crèche and daycare are that they’re geared for childcare with trained staff, age-appropriate facilities, and a supervised social environment that often leads to stronger verbal skills. But having lots of children in one space helps germs to travel fast. For this reason, many parents opt for a nanny to care for little ones at their home, or a day mother who looks after fewer children at her private residence.

While individual care in a home-like environment has obvious perks, it also has potential drawbacks, the riskiest being putting your tot in the care of someone you may not know, who may not be reliable, and who may be inadequately trained. Investigate the options in your area, paying attention to teacher-to-child ratio, atmosphere, expertise, and safety.

Preparing for daycare
Address the following before your little one starts at a daycare centre:

  • Up-to-date vaccines: Children in group daycares are twice as likely to get infections like bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, and recurrent ear infections than those who aren’t.
  • Flu vaccine: Flu complications can put little ones in hospital. A flu vaccine can help to prevent this.
  • Sick days: Will someone be able to stay home if your toddler gets sick? Or leave work early to pick them up?
  • Good hygiene: If your tot is old enough to wash their hands and blow their nose, this can reduce the risks of spreading infection.

Managing the transition
Starting daycare can be traumatic for everyone. Keep it as seamless as possible with these tips:

  • Start on a good note. Understand the rules and ensure that your fees are always paid.
  • Talk about it. Prepare your tot for what to expect and get them excited about daycare.
  • Visit the daycare. Take your toddler for a short visit to familiarise them with the environment.
  • Ease into it. Start with just an hour a few days a week before you kick off formally, so they can settle in.
  • Always say goodbye. Sneaking off unannounced could damage your little one’s sense of trust.
  • Reconnect with your tot by asking how their day was and praising their creations.
  • Partner with daycare. Whether it’s potty training, nap problems, or clothing dilemmas, work with your daycare to solve your tot’s troubles.