Taking your baby to daycare for the first time is a memorable moment for most parents — one that is often met with a myriad of emotions.
Even though you are excited for this milestone and have fully prepared yourself and your family for the transition, as the big day approaches, you may begin to feel some unexpected emotions bubbling up.
As gut-wrenching as it can feel leaving your baby at daycare, know that you are not alone and your feelings of guilt and uncertainty are totally normal! Daycare guilt is a very real thing — and one that most parents, not just working ones, experience.
While you help your baby adjust to their new environment, it’s also important to allow yourself time to adjust to the transition.
To help you and your baby adjust to the daycare experience, here are some helpful tips for coping with leaving your baby at daycare.
How to Cope With Leaving Your Baby at Daycare
Common FAQs on Leaving Baby at Daycare
As parents, it’s only natural for you to have feelings of uncertainty and questions when you leave your little one in someone else’s care. Here are common questions and answers to help parents coping with leaving their baby at daycare for the first time.
What should I bring to help my baby transition to daycare?
Packing a lovey, blanket, or familiar object from home is a great way to support your baby’s transition to daycare. Having the reminder of home and family can provide them feelings of comfort throughout the day.
What is separation anxiety, and is it normal?
Separation anxiety is a very common thing that happens for many babies around the first birthday. While it can be hard when coping with leaving your baby at daycare, your providers will have strategies to help you work through it together, leading to a more confident and capable child!
What should I say or do if my child is sad at drop-off?
Many children will cry or feel sad when saying goodbye to their parents. Reassuring your child that you will be coming back is a good first step. Give big hugs and kisses before transferring them to their primary provider. Be sure to talk with your provider to determine what approach is best for your child.
Tips on Dealing With Daycare Guilt
Whether you’re a seasoned daycare veteran with three years of drop-offs under your belt or a new parent anticipating your baby’s first day, feelings of sadness or guilt are bound to arise at one point or another.
That’s why having a toolkit of tips for coping with leaving your baby at daycare is always helpful – no matter what stage of the game you’re in.
Be compassionate with yourself
Be kind to yourself during this transition. Remind yourself that it is OK to feel guilty and uncertain and that these feelings will pass. Treat yourself to some solo time for self-care, whether that’s a yoga class, meditation, or dinner with a friend.
Practicing self-compassion is essential for parents to have the capacity to be compassionate caregivers. Additionally, it provides the foundation for your child to develop these social skills themselves. By treating yourself with kindness and compassion, you are modeling this type of positive behavior for your child.
Strive for a smooth drop-off
For many parents dealing with daycare guilt, drop-off is the hardest part of their day.
Allowing yourself extra time in the morning (as well as time to prepare the night before) can alleviate anxious feelings that may arise with being rushed.
Establishing a drop-off routine is a great way to ease the transition for many children. Engaging in the same brief activity each morning will provide consistency for your child — allowing them to anticipate saying goodbye as they settle into their new environment.
Before you know it, you and your child will be able to go through each drop off without worry.
Practice clear & consistent communication
Be sure to communicate with everyone every step of the way. Getting to know your childcare provider can help you build a strong relationship with them based on a foundation of trust.
Communicating with your child — even if they are a baby — is an important piece as well. Not only will it help prepare your child for the transition, but it also supports their communication skills! Talk with them the night before about daycare, your morning routine, the people they will see, and all the fun things they will do.
Unlimited Possibilities Await Your Child at Cadence Education!
Leaving your baby at daycare can be hard for many parents, but knowing that they are in the loving arms of qualified professionals will provide you with the comfort needed to move through your day.
Each day offers endless opportunities for your baby to learn and grow — and a high-quality daycare program will provide just that.
As a leading childcare provider for the last two decades, Cadence Education is committed to providing a personalized, exceptional experience for all children and parents. The social development of each child — and the community as a whole — is at the forefront of Cadence’s philosophy.
You will leave each day feeling relaxed and reassured that your baby is in a safe and nurturing environment, one that feels just like home.
Find a Cadence program near you to learn about the unparalleled early childhood programs available for your baby.