Preparing your child for Child care

Most young infants, up to seven months, adapt to caring adults and seldom have problems adjusting to good child care. Older infants may be upset when left with strangers. They may feel separation anxiety, which is a normal part of development for some children. They will need extra time and your support to “get to know” the caregiver.

Some children show changes in behavior when they start child care. Toddlers may cry, pout, refuse to go to child care or act angry in other ways. Preschoolers may regress and behave like a younger child. They may be more wakeful at night. This behavior usually goes away after a few days or weeks in high-quality child care.

You can help your child adjust to a new child care arrangement. Arrange a visit with in-home caregivers while you are at home or when you need child care for a short time. Visit the center or family child care home that you have chosen with your child before beginning care. Show your child that you like and trust the caregiver.

Some children like to carry a reminder of home when they go to child care. A family photograph or small toy can be helpful. Talking to your child about child care and the caregiver is helpful. Being prepared makes any new experience easier for children. There also are storybooks about child care that you and your child can read together. (Check with your local library.)

After a child has been in child care, a sudden change in caregivers may be upsetting. This can happen even if the new caregiver is kind and competent. If you are concerned about your child’s feelings, you may want to arrange a meeting with the caregiver or ask your pediatrician for advice. Parents need to help the caregivers and the child deal with any changes in the child’s routine at home or child care.

High-quality child care helps children grow in every way and promotes their physical, social and mental development. It offers support to working parents. Your pediatrician wants your child to grow and develop with enjoyment in a setting that supports you as a parent.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (http://www.aap.org)

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