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5 Tips to Make the Transition to Daycare Easier

5 Tips to Make the Transition to Daycare Easier

Whether it’s a few weeks after birth or a few months after a child’s first birthday, making the transition from being at home to being at daycare is not easy for children or parents. That said, there are a lot of wonderful benefits to being in daycare, such as increased social interaction for the little ones and some time to pursue a career or just take a break for parents.

If you decide that putting your baby or toddler into daycare is the right move for your family, here are 5 tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible:

1. Communicate Early and Often

Babies and toddlers understand a lot more than we give them credit for, and there’s nothing they like less than being surprised. A few weeks before they’re set to start daycare, start talking about it in the home. You can talk about what activities they may get to do, how Mom or Dad will drop them off and pick them up, and how nap time may look a bit different. For an older child, you can even create a physical countdown calendar to create some excitement.


2. Explore Visual Examples to Set Expectations

Another way to prepare your child for the transition is to offer a peek into what daycare looks like. Ideally, you can spend a day or two with your child exploring the daycare they’ll be at before leaving them there for the day. If that’s not an option, or as an additional tool, it can be very helpful to purchase a book or find a video that shows your child what happens in a daycare so that he or she can be prepared with realistic expectations and none of the practices will be brand new.


3. Ease into New Practices

Speaking of new practices, the more you can start getting your baby or toddler familiar with daycare activities before the big day the better. For example, if your toddler will be taking a new lunch box to daycare, start using that lunch box for his or her lunch a few weeks before they start. If nap time will have to move from noon to 1:00pm because of the daycare’s schedule, try to move your child’s naptime to fit that schedule as soon as possible at home.


4. Bring a Piece of Home

Children get great comfort from familiar items like stuffed animals or blankets. Not only do these items feel like a literal piece of home that they get to keep with them, they also often smell like home which is extra comforting. A Baby Want Design Minky Blanket is a perfect comfort object for a baby or toddler because it’s durable, warm, and incredibly soft. Make sure that your child starts to bond with the blanket at home for a while before daycare starts to ensure that the familiar object is comforting to him or her. You can do this by cuddling with it when reading books together or snuggling under it when drinking milk in the morning or before bed.


5. Give It Time

As with any transition, the most important thing you can do it to give yourself and your child time to figure out the new normal. It’s ok if the first little while is messy, uncomfortable, or hard. Within a few days or weeks, the whole family will be in the rhythm of daycare and the new routine won’t seem so daunting.

For families that choose to pursue it, daycare represents a big part of their daily lives. With some verbal and visual preparation, a comfort object, and some time, you can help make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved.



  • I have to admit I’m extremely anxious about this. I’ve done my research but I don’t think I’ll be able to hold my ground if she’ll start crying. I know it’s very normal and she’ll most likely “get over it” but it’s gonna be tough.

  • With our first everything went smooth but the second time around we just can’t seem to be able to stop her from crying when she wakes up. She has zero interest in going to daycare and it’s already been over a month…

    Zoe Young

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