Summer is in full swing and we hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends and enjoyed some downtime.
We are really excited about 2019 and have some new and interesting plans ahead for the year. One of the things that we are most excited to announce is our partnership with Tresillian.
Tresillian is an early parenting service offering families up to date parenting information, links to resources, assistance and support in the early years of their child’s life. The charity started in 1918 and last year celebrated their 100 years of invaluable service for young families. They provide parenting programs, help line, counselling and one on one advice, designed to provide professional support for families with a baby, toddler or pre-schooler.
Each year Tresillian assists close to 80,000 families with a baby, toddler or young child.
Tresillian have some fabulous tip sheets including one on starting childcare which many of you will be about to commence with your children. We have shared some of theirtips below. To learn more about the great services that Tresillian’s provide please visit their website by clicking here.
Belinda Ludlow CEO
MY CHILD & CHILDCARE – TIPS FROM TRESILLIAN
Your child and you may have mixed emotions on their first day of care. Expect that you will both be excited and nervous with this new experience. Your child will look to you for what to do/how to respond.
Be Calm: Children of all ages can feel your emotional levels and they respond to these. If you are anxious they will feel this and respond the same way. Try to be as calm and positive as possible.
Introduce yourselves: Approach the educators and introduce yourself and your child. This reinforces that you trust the educator and your child can too. Talk about something exciting your child has recently experienced – this is especially important for toddlers and pre-schoolers. For example you may have walked past a train on your way to care. This creates an opportunity for your child to converse with the educator while having the physical support of mum and or dad present.
Take your child on a tour of the room: Show them where their locker is, where their belongings will be kept and reassure your child that they can access these throughout the day. Show them where the bathroom is and the toilet/nappy change areas depending on your child’s stage of development. Point out the similarities and differences such as the mobile above the nappy change, the toilet not needing a step or seat attachment as it is smaller than the toilet at home, etc.
Recognise their feelings: If your child or baby is cuddling you tightly, soothe them and calmly talk about what is happening. If your child begins to cry take a moment to sit with them and calm them down. Reading a book together can be a good distraction and help settle them into the environment.
Give them a family photo to take: A photo or small album of photos of your family can be a great comfort for your child in care and also a great way to foster a link between home and care environments as the educators can engage in conversations with your child about their family.
When it’s time to say goodbye: It is possible that your child will become distressed separating from you. Give them a comforter or special toy from home (all ages). Always say a clear goodbye. If your child is happily playing and you disappear without saying goodbye, this can create feelings of mistrust and they can become anxious that you will disappear at other times. Explain to your child where you are going and be honest about this. Reassure them that you will return and give an identifiable timeline. For example ‘after afternoon tea you will have a play and then mum/dad will be back to pick you up,’ rather than saying you will be back “soon”. Once you have said goodbye (as above) to your child, if they are distressed give them to an educator for a cuddle and go. Do not return if they become overly distressed and call out for you as this gives them mixed messages. If you return or repeatedly say goodbye this can lead to mistrust, confusion and create further separation anxiety in the future.
At pick up: Don’t be alarmed if your child becomes distressed when you return to pick them up. It has been a big and emotional day for them on their first day/week of care and they are happy to see their parents return for them.
Talk about what they did: Encourage your child (all ages) to wave/say goodbye to their educator to continue to foster the relationship. Remind your child they will be returning to school tomorrow or another day.
Be prepared for the next day: If your child has had a great first day with no tears when you left, be prepared that it may be different on the next day you come to care. The first time it was all new and exciting, the second time they recognise a routine is forming and might not want another day away from mum and dad. If they do become upset follow the same routine and be consistent in your approach.
Every child and family is unique, so communication is the most effective way to navigate this milestone. This experience is new, but it can be exciting, and needs to be nurtured with the positive attention that it deserves.
Talk honestly with each other within the home, and draw on the support of the educators, who are highly experienced with the challenges of families and children encountering new routines. As you work together with your early childhood service, you will feel informed and empowered by the experience, so that you can be the best support to your child as they grow and adjust.