Handling Daily Transitions
Posted on: Tuesday September 6th, 2011
Posted by: Admin
We would like to welcome our first guest blogger, Mitali Ruths. Mitali is the mother of two young girls who are both Kids & Company children, and she is also an M.D. who has offered some of her expertise and opinions to us. I hope you enjoy her article on transitions as much as I did.
Establishing a routine to get your child to and from their child care centre
My daughter Sonya turned two this July. Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project has a quote that describes our journey into the toddler years: “The days are long, but the years are short.”
Not long ago, my husband and I were uncertain first-time parents anxious about any separation from our little baby. Then before we knew it, Sonya transitioned out of Kids & Company’s infant room. Now going to daycare has become a natural part of Sonya’s life. She anticipates it as part of her weekly routine.
“Go bus, play friends,” she says on Monday mornings, getting ready with Daddy. Not only has she come a long way, but we, as her parents, have come a long way, too.
In our busy lives, we’ve discovered the importance of routines. Young children thrive where a sequence of events dependably flows from one thing to the next. This provides a sense of comfort and stability, because children know what to expect. For example, we have a bedtime routine. First, we eat dinner. Then we take a bath. Then we read stories, give kisses, lie down, and turn off the light.
Routines create a rhythm in our daily lives, and offer a sense of continuity between one day and the next. We’ve also found that routines are especially useful in emotional transitions during the day, like dropping off and picking up Sonya from Kids & Company.
Bringing Your Child to Child Care
The three keys for establishing a successful drop off routine are consistency, attitude, and delivery. First of all, you want to do the same thing every time you bring your child to daycare. Rituals are built on repetition. Use the exact same words day after day so they become ingrained in your little one’s mind.
Then make sure you speak with a warm, reassuring voice. Children are very sensitive to non-verbal cues. Tone, facial expressions, and touch help your child know whether they should be happy or anxious. Make the effort to focus all your attention on your child and let him or her know that you are eager for them to have a fun day at their child care.
Kneel to their level. Make eye contact. Give them a firm hug and a kiss. Let them know they are precious to you. Remind them that you look forward to seeing them again soon.
Most importantly, no matter how they react, remain calm, confident, and reassuring. There will be a rough morning every now and then. Just take them in stride. The educators will help transition your child into the day’s activities. Soon enough, your child will be distracted by all the fun they’ll be having at their day at thei child care centre!
Getting your Child from Child Care
A picking up ritual provides the opportunity for your children to appreciate how much you’ve looked forward to seeing them. Before walking in the door, take a moment to breathe deeply, clear your mind, and turn your attention to the present. Your child has had a fun, full day at their child care, but he or she’s also been waiting to see you again!
Here is an example of a pick up you want to avoid: “How did it go? Come on. Where are your shoes? Hurry up. We have to stop by the store before dinner.”
Here is a better example: “There you are! I’ve been waiting all day to give you a hug. Come here. Let me see you. What did you do today?” Then you should pause to let them say something. It’s important to let them share their experience with you. Then you can add, “Let’s gather your things and go home.”
After greeting, kneeling, and hugging your child, take a moment to thank your educators. Find out if there is anything they wish to tell you about your child’s day or any supplies you need you to bring for next time, but always take a moment to be with your child first.
Though we love our children, often we must make an effort to help our children feel and experience our love around them, particularly when they are not in our presence. We can help do this by the way we greet them and the way we leave them when we go away. Thoughtful rituals can serve as helpful bridges for your child to enter and leave their child care centre.
How do you handle drop off and pick up? Do you have a special routine with your child? Please leave your thoughts for others to find.