Whether you’re returning to work soon after the birth of your first child or you’re reentering the workforce after several years away, beginning childcare isn’t easy. Undoubtedly, you have chosen a childcare provider with great care and have prepared as well as you can. But sometimes nerves, inexperience, or busyness can mean that some details fall through the cracks. Here are a few tips to help smooth the transition for everyone involved.
Connect with Your Child’s Teachers
Leaving your child in a stranger’s care can be a scary and emotional experience. If you make a point to connect with your child’s teachers and caregivers early on, you will find it much easier to trust them to nurture your child in your absence. Not only will this help you feel more comfortable with the caregivers, but the teachers will likely also have many helpful insights and pieces of advice to help you with the transition. Also, establishing a rapport and relationship with your child’s teachers makes for smoother communication later down the road.
Remember Transitions Take Time
It’s difficult to give ourselves grace at the beginning of a process. However, remember that even if your transition to childcare is difficult, things will get better. There will probably be some tears as everyone adjusts to the new routine. Your child may struggle with the new change. But eventually, everyone will settle in and what feels so new now will become normal and expected. While this perspective may not actually make the early days any easier, it will help you keep a long-range mindset that will help you persevere through hard days.
Budget Extra Time at First
Whatever amount of time you think you need to get to childcare drop-off and then work your first week, increase it by 50%. This isn’t because your estimate is necessarily wrong, but the last thing you need as you settle into a new routine is the panicked and guilty feeling of running late. There are sure to be days that you need to run back for something you’ve forgotten or when traffic is far worse than you anticipated. By budgeting extra time, you ensure that tardiness is not added to the other stressors of beginning childcare.
Try to Banish Guilt
If you are leaving your child for the first time, the guilt can be overwhelming. Even if you are positive that you are making the best choice for everyone in your family, it’s difficult to say goodbye. But if at all possible, try to tell that guilt to get lost. It isn’t adding anything positive to your life, and it can actually get in the way of your happiness and effectiveness at work. Since you have worked hard to find the best caretakers for your children, they will thrive while you are gone. Your child’s teachers have become part of your support network, making your family stronger and more capable. That is a gift to your child and nothing to feel guilty about.
Give Yourself Permission to Be Fully Present at Work
Hand in hand with banishing guilt, it can be tempting as you return to work to only be partially present. You may actively feel disconnected if you choose to call and check on your child or watch online for updates. Or alternatively, it may just be in your mind that you are preoccupied, wondering how your child is faring in the new setting. Regardless of how preoccupation manifests itself, it is not unusual for parents who return to work to feel distracted. Try to give yourself permission to be fully present at work. Your child is in good hands, and you will be notified promptly if they need anything. So you have every right and reason to dive in at your workplace and remain focused until your work is done. It isn’t easy to do, but it is far more fulfilling than being distracted.
Beginning childcare is challenging, but it is a normal and important transition in your family life. With the right preparation, you will find that any difficulty passes quickly and your child is thrilled with their new learning environment. Are you looking for quality childcare as you return to work? Consider Legacy Academy for your childcare needs. Call or visit a location for more information today.