Advise for older toddler starting daycare
August 19, 2017 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Our littlest gnome will be starting day care for the first time at age 3. Most guides about the day care transition seem to be for 6 months to a year. Does anyone have experience with an older toddler going to day care for the first time?
posted by GnomePrime to Education (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My daughter started 3 yo kindergarten this year, which is similar though doesn't go for as long. She had only done occasional child care prior to this and not for about 6 months. Their suggestion
- give her a short visit first and stay for it. Do this a couple of times with increasing 'intensity' of your absence if you need to. My suggestion
- talk to your kid about it and encourage rhem to role play it out.
My daughter really enjoys kinder but is often tired afterwards and a few friends have said a nap was re-introduced as a result. If it's whole day care you may want to check if they encourage a nap for 3 yos.
posted by jojobobo at 5:10 PM on August 19, 2017

It was much easier for my kids to do half days 4-5 days a week than to do full (or really even half) days 2-3 times a week. I think the daily routine was just easier for both kids when they started. One was 2 1/2 and one was about 2 when they started part time day care. They had a really hard time letting me out of the room the first few weeks, but once they were there had a great time and always resisted leaving at the end of their day. I swear it was harder on me than it was on them! For my kids the drop and run method worked best because they didn't spend time worrying that I might leave- I left and they were redirected into play with new! toys! and the tears ended pretty quickly.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:56 PM on August 19, 2017

Both my girls started a five day a week preschool at aged 3. Developmentally 3 is the age when kids really do well with a group of peers. With my girls, we talked about it a lot before hand, including talking about other kids we knew who already went to school, and all of the things that would happen at school- lunch and art, the playground, new friends, new activities. A LUNCH BOX! We visited the space, and met the teachers. We read books about it too. I would advise you to talk to the staff at the school, and listen to what they have to say, and follow their advice. They really do know so much about kids, and the different types, and they can really help you to guide and process this very big milestone in both your life as a parent and your child's life as a student.
posted by momochan at 6:00 PM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Describe it in as much detail as you can, in the order that things will be happening. Draw it as you talk about it - stick figures of you and GnomeLittle getting ready for daycare in the morning, walking/driving/riding to daycare, meeting the daycare workers and the kids, playing games, eating lunch, going to the toilet, saying bye-bye at the end of the day, coming home. If you can get an actual schedule from the daycare beforehand, use that to guide your talking+drawing.
posted by clawsoon at 6:01 PM on August 19, 2017

Nthing everything momochan said. Talk it up, and do a couple of one hour visits the week before.

Speaking as a veteran of daycare drop-offs, my advice is that if kiddo starts crying when you get ready to leave, reassure them " you are fine. You are safe here. I love you. " and then be on your way. For the kids whose mom or dad linger and hug and reassure and try to talk them out of crying - those kids never stop crying and it escalates and takes a little longer every day. And then they cry for a long time after you finally leave. The daycare teachers will never outright tell you to leave, but they wish you would. If you keep it short and simple and don't let kiddo get the idea that crying means they get rewarded with you staying longer, they stop crying a couple of minutes after you leave, and they get over the idea of crying within a few days.
posted by vignettist at 6:19 PM on August 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

I took my oldest daughter to full day care at 3 for the first time. Here is how the first day went: She cried when I dropped her off and cried when I picked her up because she didn't want to leave. We prepared her for it, took her for 1 visit a week before.
posted by jmsta at 8:17 AM on August 20, 2017

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