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Preparing Your Child for Long Day Care

Please feel free to bring your child to visit the centre prior to their first day of attendance. A staff member will show you around the centre and advise you of your child’s expected routine. It is a good idea for you to talk to your child about what it will be like and to positively prepare them for the experience. Once your child has started, please visit as often as you are able, initially to assist with the settling in process and after that to reinforce your support for your child’s activities. Our goal is to make Shorebreakers Kindergarten `Your Child’s Home Away From Home’ and we are committed to providing an environment that will give you and your child a sense of belonging and involvement in the centre’s activities.

When any child is separated from their parent’s they experience what is colloquially termed as `separation anxiety’.  The extent of the anxiety varies from child to child and family to family. Most children and parents suffer some form of grief and experience a wide range of emotions which can be quite debilitating. Based on experience, almost every child who is placed in care at Shorebreakers Kindergarten overcomes their problems in a very short time. Although for some it can take weeks for them to really feel confident and content in their surroundings. What we can say without hesitation is, that if a child is given time and support from both the child care staff and their own families, they settle into the day to day activities at the Centre. For some they may still have a little cry when their parent’s leave, particularly if they have had a break in their attendance, but within a very short time they are smiling and `getting on with their day’. What often happens is that when their parents come to pick them up, children get upset because they don’t want to go home!

When leaving children, it is very important that parents give out positive ‘vibes’ to their children before and during ‘drop-off’. Prepare them well for the separation, tell them you will be back to pick them up at a certain time and do as you say! Tell them that they will be doing important things at Shorebreakers and that you also have important things to do elsewhere. They need to feel that what they are doing is valid.

There is overwhelming evidence that children placed in a structured learning environment at an early age, fare very well in later life because of this opportunity.

There is no doubt that parents and children experience very strong emotions at drop off time.  We understand and are very sympathetic to this. The emotions are not age specific, and the anxiety does not necessarily disappear or become less severe as the children get older. Sometimes the older a child is at its first major separation, the more difficult the separation can be. The trust and understanding that builds up with young children left in care seems to give them the confidence for managing subsequent separations of this nature.

The majority of children do settle quite quickly after their parents have left and have a most enjoyable and happy experience at Shorebreakers Kindergarten. If you are in doubt, please drop in any time during the day and take a look – make sure you’re not seen by your child! You can rest assured that if your child is not settling, we will contact you immediately and ask you to come and take them home. This will be followed up with a strategy that will assist deal with this process in the ensuing visits. We cannot bear seeing children unhappy and are committed to ensuring that they and their parents are given full support in their efforts to deal with the separation process. All we ask is that parents make a commitment with us to deal with their child’s separation anxieties using informed and positive techniques.

Try the following:

  • Establish a `drop-off routine’ – enter the Centre, put the bag away, say hello, get the child involved in an activity, stay for a few minutes, say good-bye and leave.
  • When you say you are going, make sure you disappear from the child’s view—by all means stay out of sight and see how they are going, but make sure they think you have gone—don’t keep coming back for more cuddles.
  • Always make sure that your child is engaged with an activity before you leave.
  • Start with short days and gradually extend the length of the days.
  • Try to drop off during ‘outside’ time (before 10.30am).
  • Tell one of the staff when you are ready to leave so they can focus on settling your child.

Stay positive because it is simply a matter of time, patience, commitment and trust.