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Talk to me about the first day at day Care

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So how do you deal with it? Any suggestions to make it easier on DD and me?

I'm a very emotional person and even when I have left dd with someone else than me (my mom) for a few months, I still feel very emotional of that very first day in day care.

I was talking to DH last night about it, and I told him "they should have a web cam, so whenever dd starts crying I can go there and hold her" I mean the DC is about 15min biking, so I can really do that.

So tell me mamas, how can I prepare for the big day?
post #2 of 16
I just left my DD for her first day at day care... she is 8 months old. I'm a wreck! She is going to do just fine, though, I can tell. She was rolling around and playing with their toys and didn't even notice me leave (stinker).

I've done this with DD1 and in my experience it's harder on you than it is on baby. I guess my plan for surviving is:
- Transition gradually... she's going half-days for 2 weeks and then full-days
- Keep busy. I have a list of to-dos and I hope the time just flies by as I knock them out. In 2 weeks I'll be at work and then I know I'll be insanely busy and the time will fly.

I know the DCP is really good about rocking and holding babies and giving them lots of TLC, so it does ease my mind that she'll be well loved there. If you have a good DCP then don't worry about her one bit... you have hopefully found someone who will snuggle her if she cries. Now who will snuggle you?
post #3 of 16
I agree with the suggestion of easing them in if possible - half days are a great idea (even if you can only get in one or two).

I actually wouldn't go back to comfort your child during the day if at all avoidable, as it just means two goodbyes and that can be very hard (on you and the little one!)

Good luck and hopefully you will find it isn't too bad at all.
post #4 of 16
It was very hard at first - on me, not dd. SHe went into a daycare center when she was about 6 months old. She would go right to them. I would call once a day to ask how she was doing. Going there everyday may be a mistake. Its hard on the babe if you come and go multiple times. Especially when, eventually, the babe may have separation anxiety and start crying when you leave. It happened with dd about a year old. She would cry, I would comfort, then say go bye. Then call in to see how she was. Generally, a few minutes after I left she was fine and playing. The director was a friend so I knew I would get the truth when talking to her.

I would feel terrible, but I found with time, that dd really liked being social and going to "school". But the routine had to be there. If it changed too often then it was hard.

first days are always hard, but you will get through it. s

One tip: Until I was sure about the dcp, I would come earlier some days - unexpectantly, to see what was going on. Then would do that periodically throughout the year. Once dd could talk, I did it less because she could tell me about her day!

I also struck up a relationship with the teachers - would say hi, chat a bit, coming and going which seemed to help.

Good luck!
post #5 of 16
I agree with getting into a routine so dc know's what to expect. I would definitely not go back in during the day and don't draw out goodbyes. It might seem mean but I always just told my boys "Bye bye, momma's going to work, I love you and I'll see you later" then I was out the door. As much as I wanted to stay for lots of hugs and kisses it just made it harder on all of us. I'm not emotional normally but I was in tears the first two days, but it got easier.

A good daycare will welcome your phone calls during the day if it makes you feel better to check on them. Good luck!
post #6 of 16
Oh mama, I know! My first day of b-school was DS's first day of day care, and I was so intent on getting *him* ready that I didn't realize until the morning of that none of my professionally presentable clothes fit me any more. Lucky for me that the networking brunch wasn't until day three.

DS's daycare is great, though. They're really sweet and loving with him and he seems very happy. If he didn't, I would have to switch. And if there was a webcam, I would be obsessively checking it absolutely every single minute, and I would go to comfort him when he cried, and then it would be a huge problem when I had exams and the daycare couldn't comfort him. Letting them do their job can be really hard.

It helped me to discuss with them the circumstances under which they would call me, and what information I absolutely must have at the end of the day. They do a standard report form for each kid which shows what they ate, reports on diaper changes, and says when they napped. If I want other info, I can ask for it. Because we've agreed on when they will call, I know that if my phone doesn't ring, he really is okay. (I set up a special ring for the daycare, and my professors know I can't turn my phone off.) Because my schedule is pretty flexible, and my pickup time varies wildly, I feel that - two months in - I have a pretty good sense of what the center is like at various time of day on different days of the week, and I am confident that they are taking good care of him whenever he is there. They are also very open to drop ins, which I take less advantage of than I expected. By and large, if I can stop by in the middle of the day, I take DS with me when I leave.

All of these understandings took time to develop. The first day, I handed him over and then went out to my car and cried. It helped me a lot to be busy the first few days (either I was busy with school or I was taking my boy home). It also helped me to think of the daycare as a service that helps me parent intensively. I can do homework and run errands (and nap, and occasionally jog - DS is too small for the jogger still) while DS is in daycare, and spend the time I have with DS <i>being with him</i> with few distractions and maximum sanity.
post #7 of 16
It was harder on me than I expected, but not too bad for the kids. My dd is very much a mommies girl, so it took her awhile to transition. I would leave her crying and screaming for me and it was all I could do to not turn around and take her back. It took her about 2 weeks to get to where she liked going and would walk in by herself and be happy there. After that it got much easier for me. Even when she was transitioning though for those 2 weeks the dcp told me that she only cried for like a minute. My ds though would for the most part go right in and start playing and sometimes didn't want to leave when I got there to pick them up. I agree with the others too that it probably wouldn't be a good idea for you to come and go during the day. Once you see that dd is having a good time and is happy there it'll be much easier. Also, one thing we did with my kiddos in the weeks before they went to daycare was to read lots of books about kids going to daycare and do some little scenes with their dolls and stuffed animals...like kinda introducing them to the idea so you're repeating over and over that this is a fun place and that mommy and daddy will be back.
post #8 of 16
i so remember the turmoil of our first day of full-time daycare and my first full-day back to work. these were not the same day, btw. our center has a transition week so i used that week to transition us. by the end of the week, ds was going full-time and i started "back to work" on a thursday or friday. i used the first part of the week for doctor visits, haircut, shopping (clothes to fit me, that is), dentist, etc etc. pumping practice (i hadn't even tried really pumping until then). i did a LOT to keep myself busy and preoccupied until the end of the week when i went back to work.

it is very hard to leave your child in someone else's care. chances are good, though, that it will be harder on you (for a long time) than it is on your child. remember that good careproviders will provide a secure and appropriately stimulating environment and will be able to distract your child as you leave.

dh and i drop off our ds together, so we started a ritual of a family hug and family kiss as we're dropping him off. ds asks for family hugs now, out of the blue

the other thing to remember is that it will be easier for a time (once you both get into a routine) and then some developmental spurt will happen, and it will get hard for both of you again. vacations and illness are also disruptions to a well-oiled routine.

allow yourself time to cry on your way to work in the early days. i still get a little weepy when we have a rough drop-off (and yes, even though ds has been in the same daycare center since 4 months of age, we still have those rough mornings).

it also helps to keep some pictures around on your desk, in your wallet, on your computer, etc.

PM me or stop by my office for a tissue if you're having a rough morning and i'll provide distraction as necessary
post #9 of 16
I can't add more than what has already been said, but time and routine will help immensely.

My DD was 3 months when she started DC, she wouldn't drink from a bottle, and cried a lot. They always held her, walked her and loved as if she was their own. She practically had one on one care at the beginning. After about three weeks suddenly she started liking it. Then we started spoon feeding her milk and it got even better.

I would say also stick with a routine. I was doing 2 afternoons/3 mornings with her and I think that contributed to our stress. Switching to 5 mornings a week helped normalize her schedule. Now I think weekends actually throw her off.

I shed tears, she shed tears, but we got through it and she loves her DCP. She smiles at them every morning and know she's getting awesome care.

Good luck! And
post #10 of 16
I can't add more than what has already been said, but time and routine will help immensely.
Ditto. It got much easier for me (and I emphasize the "me" part) when I realized that DD was actually enjoying her time at daycare! I guess it sort of hurt my feelings that DD wasn't and isn't wanting to cling to me every second of the day.
Our situation was much easier because DH stayed at home with DD for three months after I returned to work...so there didn't appear to be any separation-from-mama anxiety when she finally started daycare. I really feel for you right now and wish you a smooth transition.
post #11 of 16
I'm not a parent,but I know how hard it is for some parents to leave their little ones at daycare or a new nanny.

Today was my friends son's first day at daycare! It's a huge center and his big brother is upstairs in another class.

Mommy and Daddy brought him to daycare and stayed for a short time. Mommy had written a bunch of notes that would help the daycare provider. This probably helped her more then that dcp though.

I spent a few hours with him after they left. I helped him have lunch with the kids and get to know them and the new classroom and schedule. He did really well. Tomorow he has another 1/2 with Daddy and then with me after he leaves. He was so happy when he saw his big brother later that day!

Talk to your dcp about any concerns that you have. make sure they have your number and call you whenever they need you. Feel free to bring your little ones fave sippy cup or blanket for nap. Tell the dcp any fave songs or stories that you share with them.My little guy today loved the song the dcp sang b/c his Mommy sings it too.

I too a few quick videos of the baby with my camera for the parents and they loved it. Let the provider know it's ok (or not) to do that for you if they can.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks mamas, its actually good to know that it won't be as hard on dd as it will be on me. Part of me is worrying about her being away from me or dad, but I know the DCP is great and she'll do just fine.

I might talk to the DCP and see if we can do a week of transition, maybe that should help.

thanks again!
post #13 of 16
Can I give some advice as a daycare teacher? I've worked with toddlers and preschoolers, so I'm not sure how much this applies to babies, but it's a good rule of thumb... NEVER, NEVER leave without telling your child you are leaving and, once you are ready to go, only leave once. What I mean by that is, don't leave, hear your child crying, come back, comfort her, leave again, hear her crying, come back, comfort her again, leave again... That just makes the child more insecure- they wonder why YOU'RE reluctant to leave them with their teachers and makes them more upset and, sometimes with the older ones, they learn that they can get Mom or Dad to stay for HOURS if they act like they're not ready. Truly, 99% of the time, once the parent leaves, the child is well over it within 5 minutes or so and, though he or she may get sad occasionally during the day, he or she WILL be okay and WILL have fun.
post #14 of 16
My husband''s advice is that leaving your child at daycare should be like ripping off a bandage. Quickly and efficiently. DOn't linger, don't hover and don't leave without letting them know you have left. As long as you act like everyhting is going to be ok, they will be ok too.
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by gossamer View Post
My husband''s advice is that leaving your child at daycare should be like ripping off a bandage. Quickly and efficiently. DOn't linger, don't hover and don't leave without letting them know you have left. As long as you act like everyhting is going to be ok, they will be ok too.
post #16 of 16
It is very hard, but it does get easier.
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