How to get started with child care: How to ease into the child care experience
If your baby is younger than six months, separation anxiety or stranger anxiety are not something you should worry about. It usually starts between 6-9 months and peak at 12-15 months. But, regardless of age, it’s important child care experience to slow down so your baby can settle in and have the best experience with child care. Here’s how:
Start child care if you’re looking for a nanny
It is best to have a nanny as your child’s first caregiver. You should have the nanny spend at least one paid day with you before she returns to work. The nanny will be able to get to know you better and answer any questions.
You can help your baby get to know you while you are still there, which will make her feel more at ease and secure. You don’t want to rush the bonding process. Start with your cutie in your arms. Move your baby to neutral territory, such as her swing or an activity center near the nanny.
Allow your baby to relax and let the nanny take her home. You may find that your baby will cry no matter what the nanny does. However, this does not mean you aren’t looking for a competent nanny.
Pay attention to how your caregiver responds to your unhappy child. Do they show patience? Great. Do you think she is easily flustered or irritable? Give her some time. But if she isn’t improving, you might consider changing your mind.
Start child care if your baby is in a group day care or family daycare
If your child will be staying with an in-home care provider or at a facility for group day care, plan to be present (at least for a few days) to assist her in making the transition.
The older your baby is, the more unsure she will be about the entire child care experience. She may feel uncomfortable around peers and caregivers she doesn’t know and more inclined to want you there.
As she becomes more comfortable with her surroundings, you can let the caregivers take over and gradually leave. Never leave your child when you have to. Trust your child that you won’t leave. Make sure to kiss and hug her goodbye.
How to evaluate your child-care experience
Your sweetie is now in the capable caretaker’s arms for several weeks. Even though you are happy with the choice you made, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at things from a different angle.
Ask friends and neighbours (who might be watching the baby with the nanny) to give their opinion about how they are doing. It’s also possible to come home unexpectedly and find out what’s up when you are not there. You can also make an unexpected visit to day cares and in-home daycare providers using the same “unannounced visitor” strategy.
Even though your baby may not be talking, her body language can still tell you a lot about her child. These are signs that you child care is not working or needs to be changed immediately:
- Your baby will be upset if she doesn’t see her caregiver, or is dropped off at daycare.
- Your baby may be unhappy, tired, or cranky by the end the day.
- Your baby’s diapers are always wet and soiled upon your arrival home or pick them up.
- Your baby displays unusually quiet behavior or withdraws from you.
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or other signs of abuse have been reported by your baby.
Sometimes your baby may start to notice red flags later. This could indicate that she has outgrown her caregiver. An example: A nanny who is good with newborns might not be so great with toddlers. You may find that your family daycare is unable to care for another toddler, even if your baby is nearly walking.
Do not go on autopilot Be alert for signs you need to change. If you do find a child-care arrangement that is better for you and you want to make the switch, it’s best to do it after a natural break such as a vacation, or a cut in the schedule so it’s less jarring.