3 Things Parents Should Know About The First Few Weeks Of Child Care

What do parents need to know about the first few weeks of child care? If this is your child's first experience in daycare or preschool, take a look at the top tips that can help to ease the transition for everyone in your family.

Your Child May Need An After-School Nap

Even though you keep your child busy at home, the pre-k day may include a schedule packed with activities, activities, and more activities. Whether your child spends the morning and afternoon building with blocks, playing in the dress-up area, engaging in artsy endeavors, throwing a ball outside, racing around the play yard, making music, dancing, or doing anything else in the daily schedule, it's likely they'll feel extra-tired when they get home.

Don't worry if your preschooler suddenly seems exhausted. Between the new activities they'll try, making new friends, and having a longer day of learning and play, it's normal for a young child to feel worn out or tired after daycare. If your child seems cranky, sleepy, or low-energy, try a brief after-school rest period.

Try to limit the time they sleep or rest. A long nap could interfere with bedtime, making it harder for your child to fall asleep. This could affect the total amount of sleep they get at night and make them tired the next day.

Your Child Might Need An Earlier Bedtime

If your child won't rest after school or it is difficult to wake them up for daycare in the morning, push back their bedtime (at least until they move through the transitional start-of-school period). Lack of sleep or tiredness can impact your child's attention span, behaviors, ability to learn, memory, emotional regulation, and physical health.

Preschoolers ages three through five should get between 10 and 13 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. This number includes daylight nap times. If your child needs to wake up earlier than usual for their new school start time, make an adjustment to their sleep schedule that allows them to get the right amount of rest at night.

Your Child Might Not Have Separation Anxiety

It's normal (and often expected) for young children to have some level of separation anxiety when they start a new early education or daycare program. This is typically temporary and will pass as the child gets used to their new routine, feels more comfortable in their new school setting, and realizes that their parents or caregivers will return at the end of the day.

Even though some children do experience at least some separation anxiety, many also don't. You don't need to go into the pre-k experience with the expectation that your child will cry when you drop them off at school. While you might well up, it's possible that your child will happily join their new friends and teachers for a morning filled with learning, play, and more.

For more information on child care, contact a professional near you.