It’s the first day – What to expect
It is natural for both parents and their children to have difficulty parting from each other, particularly when they have not previously been parted for any length of time. Each child’s experience of starting Balmain Care for Kids is different and while some children eagerly join right in, other children need a longer time to adjust.
Rest assured your child will be fine. In a matter of a few week things will calm down for your child and of course for yourself as well!
Here are a few suggestions we hope will help make settling in your child easier:
- Take part in our three orientation sessions before official commencement is to start.
- Organise your school bag the night before.
- Every child is an individual – patience is needed.
- Don’t leave home in a rush. Make sure you have some time to talk and speak with the Staff.
- Be positive about starting, especially in front of your child. If you are apprehensive about leaving your child, they will be apprehensive too. (Children tend to pick up on parent’s feelings and often magnify them).
- Let your child bring in something comforting from home such as a favourite stuffed animal or a security blanket OR give your child an object that belongs to you such as a scarf, an old wallet, or an extra set of house keys (of no value). This often works well as the child feels reassured that you would return to collect it and them.
- Allow 5-10 minutes time to settle your child. Either rushing in and out or lingering too long can add to the anxiety.
- Establish a routine for dropping off your child. Children usually like some time to put away their bag first, then like you to settle them into an activity or chat/hand them over to a teacher who can hold their hand whilst you say goodbye. Try saying goodbye to your child once or give a special goodbye signal such as ‘blowing a kiss’. Try these along with any other ideas you may have to see what works best. When you find something that works stick to it.
- Promote conversation with your child.
- Follow our daily e-Diaries so you can discuss your child’s day with them.
- Call us during the day if you like – this can be reassuring.
- When you arrive in the afternoon give your child a big cuddle. Tell them you have missed them and that you love them.
- Encourage your child to wave good-bye to their teachers and friends.
- Give staff information about your child, their habits, things they like, their routines and language(s) spoken at home, so that these can be continued by staff during the day.
- Always say goodbye to your child. Children feel insecure and become clingy if they think you may suddenly ‘disappear’. This builds trust between you and your child.
- Leave quickly and smoothly once you have said goodbye. If you have forgotten something please ring us rather than returning to go through the separation process again.
Some extra tips!
If you are having difficulty separating from your child, please let one of our staff know so that they can quickly comfort your child and allow you to go. If your child is quite distressed during your routine and will not be comforted, it is generally better not to stay too long.
Children generally settle in the first few minutes after parents leave and staying only prolongs the period that your child is distressed. Allow our staff to guide you. Staff saying “Give Dad a kiss and a cuddle” or “It’s time for Mum to go to work now” is giving you cues that now is probably a good time to go.
If you are ever worried during the day please feel free to ring us at anytime. All the phones are linked to the main office, so we can easily transfer you to the rooms. The settling in process can sometimes be just as upsetting for the parent and a phone call may ease your mind. Likewise, if we feel your child is not coping with their day we will ring you.
Other ways to help your child to settle into care is for them to bring in a photo of their family and display with others. This can be discussed and shown at group time.
If your child experiences any difficulty or if you notice something in particular that helps, please talk to one of our staff. Each child is an individual who may need to be given help and support so that they can feel happy and secure at the centre. We want the experience to be a positive one for both you and your child.