How Do You Know if Your Child is Ready for Childcare?
It can often be difficult to know when your child is ready for childcare and the many benefits – social, emotional, and academic – attending a childcare centre can offer.
All children are different and will be ready for childcare at different times. If you’re unsure whether your child is ready for childcare, here are some questions to help you make your decision.
How independent is your child?
While early childhood educators are able to support children as they learn and grow, educators must divide their time to offer guidance and encouragement to many children, and this means that your child will need to develop independence.
At childcare, your child may be required to play independently, communicate their needs clearly, and learn basic self-responsibility tasks, like feeding themselves or putting on their own jacket.
If your child is ready for this level of independence, it’s a good sign that they may be ready for a childcare environment, where they can practise these skills alongside their peers and educators.
How does your child respond to changes in routine?
Most childcare centres have set routines for mealtimes, sleeping, learning activities, and so on. When you child starts attending a childcare centre, they will need to adapt to these routines.
For some children, changes in routine can be challenging, so it’s important to consider how your child will respond to these changes. Is your child likely to become anxious without their usual schedule or in a new environment?
It’s possible to help prepare your child for childcare by introducing new routines at home that mimic a childcare centre. You might gradually adjust nap or meal times, or you might introduce new learning activities at home.
How well does your child respond to social situations?
At childcare, your child will need to develop new social skills, learning to share, communicate, and get along with their peers.
Consider whether your child is able to play with others or is confident with other children. How well does your child share toys and communicate their needs and interests? Is your child confident without you by their side and able to follow directions from educators?
It’s okay if social skills are still a challenge for your child. Both at home and at childcare, you can support your child to learn these skills.
How many hours will your child spend at childcare?
Before enrolling your child at a childcare centre, consider how much time your child will be spending at childcare. Will your child attend a full-time childcare program, or will they only attend a few days each week?
You can help your child adjust to the transition to childcare by introducing them gradually to their childcare centre. Some centres allow parents to stay with their child for the first few hours or to start with half days before moving to a long daycare program.
Are you still looking for the right childcare provider? MyXplor allows you to search for local childcare centres. For example, a parent in Croyden, Victoria, might visit the MyXplor child care Croyden listing to find nearby centres.