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Old 02-07-2013, 11:06 AM   #1
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Preparing three year old for first time daycare?

I was just offered an awesome position that starts next week. It's only part time in the office and the rest of the time I will work at home. I Signed DD (3 in 3 weeks) up at the daycare close to my house. I am not jumping for joy over it but it's a good place and she will have fun. Up to now she has only been in casual care a couple of times a month and of course sitters at night, but never every day. I'm not terribly worried about he but at the same time it will be an adjustment.

Send me your best tips for helping her prepare and adjust to the new routine! :-)


Megan wife of my soldier Steve, mama to my beautiful girls Rowan (11/07) and Linden (03/10)!
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
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Re: Preparing three year old for first time daycare?

With my son it was all about me being positive. I would talk with him a little each day casually about the fun things they were going to do. He goes to an in-home daycare so I invited her and her kids over to our home for lunch. He got to meet her at our house where he was comfortable and they all played together. I really think this helped on the first day as he already knew he liked playing with her.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: Preparing three year old for first time daycare?

Three years old shouldn't be too tough. Two suggestions:

Get permission to visit the school with your child the day before (or as close as possible) and be there while you child plays and interacts for an hour or so. Talk with her about how next time she visit you will not be staying. Talk up how much fun it was.

Get there early and take you time. Give your child time to adjust and get involved before you leave but talk with her so she knows you are leaving soon. Also don't sneak out. Make sure she give you a goodbye hug. If you can't keep her happy and leave at the same time, try and make a clean break. Promising you will see her soon and you love her and leave.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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Re: Preparing three year old for first time daycare?

Is it a center? DD is right around the same age as yours...she went into the 3 & 4 y.o. classroom at 2yrs 9mos. It's their "preschool" room, and DD was super jazzed about "going to school". She is the youngest kid in the class & a little socially awkward to boot, so that's presented some challenges, but overall, she LOVES it. We talked it up for several weeks ahead of time, & she did visit the Friday before she started. It was a different routine than she was used to, and the level of stim was really exhausting for her. She had a rough first week as she adjusted to the schedule and whatnot, then she entered the honeymoon phase for about a month & a half. And we just had a rough patch...she was overtired &, frankly, getting more 1:1 time by being naughty than good, so it just reinforced bad behavior. I think we're through the worst of it (knock on wood!), but the prospect of getting kicked out if she continued to misbehave was a big deal, as was working out ways to reinforce good behavior. We're still not at 100%, but this week is way better than the last couple!

ETA: She also, just in the last couple weeks, is going through a learning burst...making all kinds of connections with letters & phonics & words & shapes & she's really enjoying learning. Sure, I could do that stuff with her if I were home, but I'm not & she's outgoing & really likes the setting.

Last edited by carriek38; 02-07-2013 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:49 PM   #5
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Re: Preparing three year old for first time daycare?

find out the daycare schedule and get your kid on it. i am assuming your child will be required to sit and eat a full meal at the designanted time....if she cant do that, start working on it. what are the rules about nap? work on that if she needs to. can she handle all her personal belongings? put on a jacket, put on her shoes, potty independently, drink from a cup? the more "big kid" stuff she can do already, the less of a shock that daycare will be. of course they will help her with anything but its always best to have mom work on things at home and give the full attention that a teacher wont have time for. can she follow instructions well? can she accept a "no", wait her turn, come when called, play on her own and with others? the social aspect is very important in group care! whatever you can encourage now would be great. continue talking about what will be expected of her at daycare and support the teachers rules. if teacher says no toys from home, dont send her special items and then make the teacher be the mean one that has to take them away. just find out the school rules and be prepared to follow that. i think parents sometimes have a lot harder time transitioning than kids!

besides that, it is mostly about your attitude towards it. keep it upbeat, dont drag out goodbyes and pop in at random constantly. she needs to have a clear routine of what to expect next.

Last edited by doodah; 02-07-2013 at 12:51 PM.
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