There are a lot of real benefits to enrolling children in a preschool program. It has been found that one quarter of all at risk kids are more likely to drop out of high school when they are not given a good education in preschools. The Ounce of Prevention Fund looked at this issue and found that for these children, the kids who did not participate in daycare or a preschool program were 40% more likely to become parents as teenagers. They were also 60% less likely to attend college. These children are also about 70% more likely to commit a violent crime. If you are looking to get your child into infant day care or preschool, there are ways to get your child ready and put them in a better position to profit from the experience.
- Get your child used to the child care center schedule. Getting used to a new schedule can be challenging for anyone but more so for very young children. Whether you are thinking about infant child care, where the schedule may not be as much of an issue, or if you have older children, learn the schedule of the day care center and start using it at home. Start getting your child up at the time you will have to have them up for school at least a month before school starts. Learn the nap schedule and use that at home. This will make the transition to preschool a lot easier.
- Take your child to the child care centers you are considering. To make your child more ready to start at a day care center, you should bring them along when you visit the child care centers in your area. This is not as big of a deal when you are looking at infant day care centers but can really help older children get to know the preschool. This can help them warm up to the space a lot easier than if they do not get the chance to get to know it before they start there.
- Make sure you set enough time. It always takes more time than you think it should to get ready for the first day of preschool. You can do some things to make this go more smoothly, such as planning what your child will wear the day before but it will take time to get ready in the morning. Plan for this and you will be in a better spot to get what you need to get done accomplished.
- Be careful to not let your child see your nerves. It is normal to be nervous when your child starts preschools. While this may not be the case so much when you have a chid in infant day care, older kids will pick up on your nervousness so try to be positive and enthusiastic about the new experience. One way to do that is to tell your child about the good experiences that you remember from your preschool experience. The more positive you are, the more confident your child will be.
- Do not be late. When you go to pick up your child, you should be careful when it comes to being on time. Your child may be anxious about being separated from you for the entire day, if you are late when you pick them up, this will only make that worse. This is important for the early days that your child is in day care.
- Listen to your child. Your child may have some feelings and concerns and you should listen and validate their experiences and feelings. Many children struggle with the experience for the first few weeks. That does not mean the experience will be bad and is normal. Listen to their worries and concerns and they will have a better time adapting.
Early childhood is an incredibly important time for children’s development. It has been estimated that about 700 new neural connections are made every second during a child’s first few years of life. From finding a good infant day care to finding one for older kids, if you do your research, you will find the right one.