first day of daycare for toddler

If you thought finding the perfect daycare for your child was a challenge, be prepared for the first day of daycare for your toddler. Some parents find that helping their child adjust to new care is a minefield. Other toddlers adjust to daycare with no drama at all. Your toddler may be somewhere in between.

Preparing Your Toddler for Daycare: Common FAQs

When it comes time to discuss the first day of daycare for your toddler, you may have a few questions yourself about the day. We’ve outlined a few of the most common questions that can help both you and your toddler feel more prepared.

When Should You Take Your Toddler to Daycare?

When you enroll your child into daycare matters. A baby’s brain is about 1/4 the size of an adult’s and doubles in size in the first year. By age three, a child’s brain is 80% of adult size. These years are critical for early childhood development. The nurturing environment of a daycare combined with an age-appropriate curriculum can help your child achieve pivotal milestones and inspire an early love for learning. So when should you take your toddler to daycare? Only you know your child, but the earlier, the better.

How Long Does the Adjustment Period Take?

There’s no “right” answer to this question. Some toddlers adjust during the first week or two. Others take up to six months. If you see your child’s attitude becoming more resistant, rather than more accepting, schedule an appointment with the teacher to discuss a Plan B. Encourage your child to participate and listen attentively as they share their experiences from the day so you can help with any further adjustments.

Your child’s teachers are key to a successful daycare adjustment. Never hesitate to enlist their help if your child is not adjusting. However, they don’t know your toddler as well as you do. Keep them updated on big changes in your child’s life. Major changes in the home can affect children’s daycare behavior.

What Do Toddlers Do at Daycare?

Daycare offers incredible benefits for both the toddler and parents. Though a toddler’s daycare experience will typically vary a bit from that of an infant’s daycare experience and first-day preparation, daycares usually follow a routine for both to further aid in adjustments. Toddlers can expect activities such as storytime, group and individual playtime to encourage essential development skills, and snack time.

Tips to Help Your Toddler Adjust

Take time to plan for your toddler’s next big step into the world. Starting daycare is a major change in routine and one of their first steps into the unknown world beyond home and family. Preparing for the first day of daycare for your toddler can ease the adjustment. Read a few of our tips for helping your toddler prepare.

Visit the Daycare

Visit the daycare with your child before enrolling. Your child should see that you like and trust the teachers. Ask teachers to explain what children do at daycare. Let your toddler bring a small reminder of home on the visit – a favorite toy or photograph. After the visit, talk with your child about the teachers, toys and activities, and the other children. Listen to your child’s concerns and address them calmly.

Discuss the Changes

Talk with your child in a positive, calm, and confident way about starting daycare. Discuss the fun of new friends, new toys and playground, and a chance to learn new things. Answer their questions truthfully. If you don’t know the answer, ask the daycare teacher to offer insight that will be beneficial for you and your child. Enlist older children or siblings in explaining their daycare experience and reassuring your toddler.

Involve Your Child in Preparations

Develop a morning routine. Schedule time to eat breakfast together, let them choose what they’d like to wear, and help them pick out the items that need to be taken to daycare. Knowing what to expect and their role in the routine gives young children a sense of control and helps them feel more comfortable as they make their way to their first day of daycare.

Be Patient

Adjusting to a new environment can be a challenge for any toddler. It’s important to be patient with your child and give them the space they need to feel the rush of emotions hitting them. Hug them, acknowledge their fears, and assure them you will pick them up later. Enlist the help of the daycare teachers if your child is struggling with separation anxieties, as they know plenty of strategies for easier adjustment.

Enroll Your Child in Daycare with Cadence Education

If you’re ready to begin the daycare process, consider Cadence Education’s network of early education programs. Our daycare programs encourage a love for learning in a fun and nurturing environment. The highly trained staff at Cadence Education schools can help your child grow and look forward to the independence of daycare.

Cadence Education’s Toddler Program specializes in skill-based education. We understand that toddlers are in a period of immense mental, emotional, and physical development. Cadence builds confidence, confidence to learn and to enjoy their daycare experience. Your child will develop socially, emotionally, and physically through art, movement, music, reading, and safe outdoor play.

Cadence daycares are fully accredited, which means they are nationally recognized for their level of quality, both in terms of curriculum and teacher qualifications. Accreditation means a strong ongoing training program for teachers, assuring that your child will receive the best possible care and education every day.

If you’re ready to watch your child thrive, find a Cadence Education school near you today and start preparing for the first day of daycare for your toddler.