How to help your child transition back to day care

Many day care facilities throughout Kentucky have reopened, and that means it is time to change your child’s schedule again.

The transition back to day care can be tough for children and adults, but there are ways to help make it as smooth as possible.

For many parents, the reopening will feel a lot like the end of parental leave. Since many kids have been home for three months, it will take some time to get used to this new schedule.

If your child is anxious or worried, you might notice them crying more than usual, not sleeping well, having tantrums that are out of the ordinary or not wanting to leave your side.

There are several ways to help your child navigate through the changes that will come with returning to day care.

Here are some tips for making the transition successful:

  1. Prepare your child.
  • Explain what the routine and expectations will be at day care.
  • Wear masks around the house to get your child used to seeing adults in masks.
  • Make masks for your child’s dolls and/or teddy bears and explain that masks help keep people safe.
  • Read stories to your children to help them understand why people are wearing masks.
  1. Communicate
  • Ask your child what it was like to see their teachers in masks.
  • Explain that everyone is doing their best to keep your child and his/her friends safe and healthy.
  • Let your child know it’s OK to feel a little nervous.
  • Be as expressive as you can through your eyes since masks will cover other facial reactions.
  1. Do a quick drop-off.
  • Focus all your attention on your child when saying goodbye.
  • Make the goodbye quick and keep it the same every day.
  • Let your child know when you will be back to pick them up.
  1. Take care of yourself.
  • Children notice what you’re doing, so make sure you’re calm and positive about the new routine.
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and eat healthy foods.
  • Make sure you have plenty of family time.

If you or a family member are struggling with feelings of hopelessness, depression or anxiety, UofL Health – Peace Hospital’s Assessment and Referral Center offers no-charge assessments at 502-451-3333 or 800-451-3637.

Or contact the 24-Hour Crisis and Information Center Line at 502-589-4313 or 800-221-0446.