Transitions, Trust, and Triumph

child artMaybe the thought leaves you with a pit in your stomach. What? The transition of your child into a new setting, whether it is a childcare center, home daycare, or simply a new program.

Whether your toddler is starting into their first childcare setting or transitioning classrooms, the following are tips for transitions…to make this experience easier for both your child and you!

Establish Trust First

It is essential that you (yes, that is correct, you) first build trust with the teacher or caregiver. This is known as transfer of trust. Once you confirm that “this is an okay place”, your child will affirm that this is okay and the transfer of trust will occur from you to your child. This is the first requirement for a successful transition.

Be sure to visit the new program and make sure you are comfortable with the program’s philosophy, teaching team, and environment. Take your time and look for an appropriate time to also visit with your child.

Always Say Goodbye

It is hard to see your child cry and sometimes a departure seems a bit easier if we “just sneak out”. Truth is, sneaking out feels more like abandonment to a child. Goodbyes mean that you leave and that you will come back. Yes, your child may cry knowing that you are leaving, but you will be developing trust and an effective transition.

Establish a Routine

Now that you are ready to leave, be sure to be consistent and follow through. To ease the process, a routine may be helpful. For example, three hugs and three kisses, or saying I love you in sign language as you walk out the door. Whatever is special and works for your child, just be sure to follow through. Three hugs and three kisses, goodbye, and then leave. Period. Knowing what happens next and being a part of the process is essential for children.

Try a Transitional Object

Sometimes bringing a “part of home” is helpful. A small picture of your family kept in your child’s pocket, a favorite toy (be sure that it is appropriate for your child’s new environment), or your child’s blanket may assist in creating an effective transition for the child.

Be sure to think about the appropriateness of the item you and your child choose in regards to the age of your child and the type of program that your child is transitioning to.

Talk

Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and/or help them find the words. An example might be: “Are you feeling sad because mommy is leaving? It is okay to feel sad…” (especially important for toddlers or other children who are non-verbal).

Time

And finally, remember, it may take time. Consistently attending a program and building relationships takes time. Be patient and supportive, communicate with the new teacher or caregiver.

Transitions are about building trust and these tips guarantee triumph!

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Transitions, Trust, and Triumph

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4 comments

  1. I will be leaving my son with my mother and I hope this would be too bad of a transition for him. He loves my mom and they have a yard full of things for him so hopefully he will love it there.

  2. Anastacia113 says:

    I only feel safe leaving my babies with their Dad when I do have to go out of our home but will see what happens later on when our babies get older. I never say bye to them either I say be back soon or see you later, a tradition started by my Grandmother that has been passed down 🙂 She would say Don’t say Bye say see you later because you never know when it will be your last. I love her for that.

  3. Janice says:

    I understand the reason for not sneaking out, but is this crying OK with the care giver. I knew a care provider, who did not want the children crying when the mother left because a group of crying children is a hard time for everyone.

  4. HMomOf4 says:

    I agree with this completley

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