Starting daycare or preschool is a big transition at any time. The pandemic has added an entirely new layer for kids, parents and caregivers. If your child is going back to daycare or early learning – or starting for the first time – we’ve compiled three tips to help the transition go a bit more smoothly for all.
1. Normalize mask wearing
Caregivers and educators will likely be wearing masks, so you’ll want to get your child used to seeing adults wearing them. You can help make mask-wearing feel normal in your own home by wearing a mask around your kids, showing them pictures of adults in masks, and encouraging them to put masks on their stuffies.
You can also create a fun game around mask-wearing, such as putting on your face mask and making different expressions for your child. Your little one can guess your emotion while you’re wearing your mask. This can help them to understand that adults are still smiling and showing compassion, even when we can’t see their mouths.
2. Make allergy and safety information visible to child care providers
Child care providers and educators will be following so many new protocols. Make it easy for them to get in contact with you if something happens to your child, and make it clear if your child has allergies or medical concerns. Of course it is their job to keep track of this information no matter what, but it can be helpful for them (and offer peace of mind to you) to stick Allergy Alert Labels on lunch boxes, sippy cups, and snack containers. Emergency Contact Labels are also handy on backpacks and bottles.
3. Label absolutely everything
Daycares have always asked parents to label, but this year, it’s more important than ever. Items that come in contact with children’s mouths and hands cannot be shared, or even accidentally mixed up.
Personalized labels for bottles, soothers, snack containers, sippy cups and toys help to signal to both children and their caregivers and educators which item is theirs. Baby Bottle Labels are especially helpful for sending breast milk or formula with a date and any specific instructions. Personalized Bottle Bands are an easy way to swap your label off of water bottles when one is in the wash. And remember to label every component of the snack container and bottle, including the lids!
How are you preparing for your child’s return or start to daycare or preschool? How are you feeling about the transition? Let us know in the comments.