Back to School (and Daycare!)

Back to School (and Daycare!)

It's that time of year again!  From lunchboxes and new shoes to that list of school supplies that's always a bit confusing, we welcome the kids BACK TO SCHOOL!  This time though, we're having a classroom session for parents with little ones  (namely, infants and toddlers) heading to daycare.
The first time your kiddo goes to daycare is no doubt a challenging event for your tot and you.  Let's cover some of the DO's and DONT's preparing for that first week of dropoffs:

The 4 "Rs" to DO:

  1. Reassure: Toddlers value safety and security above everything else.  As a parent, you are their primary safety net.  So when they are left in a new and strange location (classroom) without you there, their world is turned upside down.  Tell your kiddo what you are doing, why you are doing it, and when you will return.  Be intentional, firm but gentle in your speech. Over several days (or weeks) your toddler will understand that you are not leaving for good and that you will return to take her home.
  2. Repeat:  Repeat some common reassuring phrases on the way to school in the morning, on the way into the school building, and as you are parting ways.  Some examples include:
    --"Mommy is taking you to school but I'll be back after your naptime to pick you up and take you home." 
    --"You are going to meet and make new lots of new friends"
    The repetition will become a mantra that kids understand and build their confidence in you as a caring parent.
  3. Return:  Be sure to complete the pickup when you told your child you would return.  Being very late or sometimes too early at the beginning of the daycare school year can be confusing to them.  Once your little one has developed a rhythm with school, then some time flexibility can be implemented, especially if you are struggling to get out of work in time for the pickup.
  4. Remind: Even though school is done for the day, remind your child about going back tomorrow and how exciting it will be to make new friends and spend time with instructors. The reminders help to normalize the going to school process faster and makes your child understand that this is a new, ongoing experience in their life.

The 3 "Ds" to DONT:

  1. Deceive: Don't deceive your child where they are going everyday.  Deception is another word for a lie.  By lying to them or tricking them into going to daycare, they will develop distrust in you as a parent.  This will lead to "acting out" in ways you cannot imagine in the short term and may cause trust issues as they grow up.
  2. Distort: This involves sending mixed signals about school.  Perhaps another parent or child at the school seems unusual to you or your partner.  By speaking negatively about them in front of your child you are creating perception biases your child doesn't yet have.  Or worse, your child may have an affinity for that person and now feels guilt and shame because mom or dad made fun of them.  This also opens the door to mixed feelings about going to school ("why are they sending me there?") Best to have those "adult" conversations behind closed doors or after your child is sleeping, if at all.
  3. Disinform: These days, toddlers can learn a lot in daycare.  From toilet training, math, language skills, and even computer coding or yoga are all possible in the classroom now.  If your little one comes home with a skill you are unfamiliar with, be supportive and encouraging.  Then, perhaps research and learn this topic yourself in the days to come.  Toddlers look for validation as they learn new skills and you can be a facilitator to further their growth. But if you are unaware or contradict what he has learned, confusion can occur.  This slows down the child's learning curve.  If you truly disagree with a particular topic, have a conversation with the school administrator or find another school, but don't blame your child or try to correct them.  They are likely excited about the new skill and a negative response can harm their self-esteem or excitement.

Even though your child's antics can make this process difficult for you, stay the course.  As the parent, you are the anchor and he is learning something new.  Your positivity and hopefulness will ultimately give your child courage and strength in the long-term.  We believe in you too!

At 4MyTots, we are parents going experiencing these events as well.  Please reach out if you have questions.  And if you need quality baby foods or convenient to-go formulas, please visit our site:

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