Introducing your child to child care

It can take your child a few days or a few weeks to get used to a new child care arrangement. Some providers expect parents to be present for the first day or week that the child attends child care. It may depend on your child's age, personality and stage of development. Ask your child care provider about the best way to transition your child into their new environment.

Before starting care

  • Tell your child about the child care program and the people there. Talk to them about all the fun they'll have.
  • Visit the child care program with your child. Let your child meet the caregivers and the other children there.

On the first day

  • Go with your child on the first day of care. If you can't go, arrange for another adult (a friend or relative – someone your child knows) to go with your child.
  • Let your child take their favourite toy, like a teddy bear or a blanket, to the child care. Having something familiar is a comfort when everything else is new and strange.
  • Say good-bye when you are ready to leave, even if your child is playing happily. Clearly state when you will be back. Your child needs to feel certain that you will return. If you disappear without saying anything, your child may get upset.
  • Once you've said good-bye, keep going. Hesitating may confuse your child.
  • Make sure you pick up your child at the time you said you would. Your child is counting on you to return when you promised.
  • Greet your child warmly. At the end of the day, your child may be tearful or may simply ignore you. This is a normal part of getting used to child care.
  • If you can, begin care gradually. For example, on the first day, take your child for an hour or so and then leave together. Over the next few days, stay for several hours. As your child becomes more comfortable, gradually increase the time away until your child is spending the full day in care.