Saying goodbye to your child as he/she starts child care can be hard for you and your little one!  Here are some tips on saying goodbye and easing the jitters of separating from your child on the first day.

Visit the child care center together.  Before the first day, introduce the child to the teacher(s), play with the toys, and go on the playground, so the child starts to feel comfortable.

Plan to stay a little while. Talk with your child care provider about staying 15-30 minutes on the first morning.  Depending on your child’s age, help him/her explore the classroom, meet other children, and play with toys.

Try to be positive.  Children can pick up on the feelings of their caregivers.  Say a quick, upbeat goodbye, reassure your child that everything is ok, and tell him/her that you will see him/her later.

Have a special goodbye routine.  For example, sing a special song, say a unique phrase, or kiss the child’s palm and have them hold it all day.  You might leave a picture of your family with the child, if your child care provider is comfortable with this.

Turn to the child care provider.  If your child is crying or having a hard time, the provider can help.  Your child may feel sad or scared, but the provider can comfort him/her.  If you stay longer or run back in if your child is crying, this may tell the child that he/she is not ok when you are not there.

Questions or comments?  Please contact your program’s mental health consultant.