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From One Family to Another: Tips to Make the Transition Easier

As a mom who has experience in transitioning children from child care to school, I’d like to share some tips with parents that are experiencing this for the first time this fall.

My 9-year-old son has already made the transition from home child care to preschool, then to an elementary school to after school care. I also have a daughter who will be soon making the transition from child care to a preschool center this fall.

I have a daughter who would have been entering kindergarten this fall; however, she passed away in a licensed home child care facility due to unsafe conditions. To those have experienced a loss, we all know how hard the year of “firsts” without your child is. However, I have found that this year is just as difficult as the first year without my daughter. This is one of those moments where grief comes out of nowhere. To honor my daughter’s memory, I have decided to do a backpack/school supply drive and will be donating all items to the school she would have attended. To parents that are walking this grief journey, please know you’re not alone. Hugs to you!

Tips on Transitioning

  1. Do your homework on the child care center. Ask for references from the director. It helps to talk to other parents that have enrolled their child at that center to find out pros and cons before you enroll your child. Contact your local child care resource and referral agency in your state or social services to inquire if there is anything negative in the facility’s file. Request a background check through your local police department.
  2. Interview the director and request a tour. It is very important to meet the director of the facility and look around the center. Stop in when you can observe the teachers interacting with the children in their classroom. Ask how long the teachers have been at the center. I’ve been blessed to be at a center where the same teachers that taught my son are still there.
  3. Bring your child to the facility. After you do your initial meeting, bring your child to the facility so they can get an idea of what their daily routine will be like. Even if you have a toddler, I feel it is important to let them meet their teacher prior to the first day.
  4. Stay consistent. When dropping your child off, make it brief and assure your child that you will see them later. I’ve learned if you stay in the classroom too long, the “goodbye” becomes difficult for your child, which makes it hard on you as well. Keep the routine consistent so they know what to expect each day.
  5. We got this! You can do it. Once you get through this “first” you can handle the first days of middle school and high school that are ahead. Let’s enjoy this journey together.

Do you have a back-to-school experience with your child you’d like to share? Contact us at [email protected].

Looking for additional back-to-school resources and tips? Visit our Back to School Supplies: Tips and Resources for Parents and Providers webpage. Additional information will be added throughout August, so check back often!

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Child Care Aware of America