Before starting care

  • Visit the child care setting with your child to meet the child to meet the child care provider(s) and the other children to help them become more familiar with their new setting
  • For older children, talk about the child care program, the people there, and what they’ll do throughout the day
  • If attending child care requires a new schedule (e.g., waking up earlier, eating breakfast at a different time), begin this new routine several days before starting care, to make the transition easier for your child

During first days

  • Work with your child care provider on a plan for your departure when dropping off your child during first few days/weeks
  • If you can, begin gradually. For example:
    • on the first day, take your child for an hour or so and then leave together
    • over the next few days, stay for several hours and then leave together
    • as your child becomes more comfortable, gradually increase their time at the child care setting until they reach a full day
  • Let your child know ahead of time that you will be going to work and when you will be back (e.g. after nap time)
  • To help comfort your child, some programs suggest bringing a familiar item from home or a photo of family members
  • Call your child care provider to see how your child is doing (this can help alleviate your own worries)
  • Do your best to pick up your child at the time you said you would
  • Transitions may also be stressful at pick-up time, and your child may express different emotions when you arrive (this is a normal part of getting used to child care)