Your child starting crèche or preschool can be a daunting experience and most often, it is us parents that worry more than our little ones do. Often you will see mom’s bawling their eyes out in their cars in the parking lots, wondering if they have done the right thing or wishing that they could go back inside, take their little one and go cuddle at home.This was what I did the first day that I dropped off Bella at school.

To make the process easier, here are some tips that I have complied, some from my experience and others from talking with moms who also have babies and tots in crèches and schools:

Choosing the crèche or school

It’s very important that you research and find out about the different schools that are in your area for your child’s safety as well as your peace of mind. Take your partner or go alone and look at the school when the kids get dropped off or picked up or go in the middle of the day when you are least expected. Talk to the moms and dads with children in the school to get a feel of their experience of the school. I suggest doing this away from the principals and the teachers who will probably give you a glowing report of the school and leave out any “grey” areas. Ask as many questions as you can namely:

  1. Is there someone on site that is trained in First Aid?
  2. What meals they provide and how are they prepared?
  3. Ask for a copy of a day planner to show what they do with the children during the day i.e. the routine that your little one will be following?
  4. What time do the children sleep?
  5. What do they plan on teaching your child and are there time frames for it to be taught in? I.e. we teach my daughter at home two new specific things a week.
  6. Do they give monthly or end of term reports i.e. weight that your child has picked up while being there?
  7. What artwork or creative things will they be doing and can you see examples of it?

If you feel unhappy with any of the answers or unsure of the school or crèche, move along and go look elsewhere. These people will be looking after your child and if you are uncomfortable with them, your little one will soon pick it up, especially when you drop them off, and you will worry more than anything. Sometimes, financial situations can dictate where we take out children and if this is the case, make sure that the crèche or school is aware of what you don’t like and maybe suggest an alternative activity, meal etc.

What you could also do, put in a day’s leave and go and spend the day with your little one at the crèche or school. Most people can’t keep their “pose” the whole day and then you can see what happens at the school. I recently did this when Bella started at a new crèche and it was actually quite interesting to be with her there in the crèche setting.  If you ever think that your little one forgets about you, you are mistaken! When they get hurt or are upset, they do call for their Mommas and yes they do miss you. It is also quite interesting to see how the little ones interact with each other and will look up when a mom comes to fetch one of the other children, just to see if their moms aren’t behind them. It does also get quite hard for the care-givers as most of them become attached to your child.

You have chosen the school

Try to establish a good relationship with the caregivers of your child. Talk to them when something is bothering you or you want answers regarding your child. I found that sticking to the routine that they have at school, during weekends, helped Bella to adapt easier and helps her to know what to expect. It also helps to stop her from getting grizzly when she should have been eating and here I am wondering why she is so upset when she is actually just hungry!Remember that you cannot dictate to them what routine your child should follow, the routine that that is done is usually done taking all the kids into consideration. Best advice; adapt!

The main things to remember: keep your eyes open but be relaxed and make sure you create a good relationship with those who look after your kid!

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