Your baby has just been born, and you’re ready to take on the responsibility of caring for and nurturing them. However, if you plan to return to work after your maternity or paternity leave, either you’ll need to find a childcare provider to care for your child during the day, or find other childcare arrangements. To make sure that every aspect of caring for your child goes smoothly, it’s best to have a full tool kit prepared before your baby arrives.
If you’re returning to work, make sure you find childcare you trust. It’s important to find a childcare provider that fits in with your values and is close to your work or school. Be aware that home-based providers may not be properly trained, so it’s best to avoid those, or to ensure you are leaving your child with someone you really trust. And no matter what kind of childcare provider you choose, try to do your research beforehand and use this checklist:
– Does the child care facility have a physical space separate from their residence?
– Do they have an enclosed outdoor play area?
– What are the hours they’re open?
– What’s the average age range of children at the daycare?
– How many children will there be per caregiver?
– What are their educational qualifications?
Settling in to Childcare
Your child is used to being with a certain caregiver (most likely you!), so separation anxiety may occur when they first go somewhere new. Show them that even though they’re in a new place, they’ll still get your attention and love. It’s also important for parents to create a new routine for their child that includes time with both of them after leaving the baby-sitter. This process will take some time and can be hard, but it’s important for your kids. Soon enough they will understand that while they don’t always have you at home, they do get quality time with you and someone else who takes good care of them.
Know the costs
In order to prepare for parenthood, think about whether you’ll be going back to work and how you’ll afford daycare. The more prepared you are for the costs of childcare and other expenses associated with bringing up a baby, the more likely it is that your family finances will weather the shock when your new addition arrives. As well as helping to reduce financial stress, preparing in advance also means that you won’t have any nasty surprises after your little one arrives.
Planning ahead could also mean that you can go back to work sooner if childcare arrangements are in place from before birth or return sooner to study or take on part-time hours. You’ll also be able to save money by comparing childcare fees and taking advantage of online discounts where available.
Create your morning routine
Daycare centres and carers generally prefer kids to come in feeling fine and get settled quietly, so it’s best to take steps to help your child make a smooth transition each morning. Some parents create a morning routine at home that includes cuddles, a chat in the car on the way there, or a favourite stuffed animal so their child can settle in quickly at daycare or with their carer after arriving. That way when they walk into daycare there’s no major change or shift. This is especially important if your little one has separation anxiety—don’t just drop them off at daycare and rush off.
Pack everything they need the night before
Make sure to prepare for childcare by packing their bag with everything they need—from snacks to sunscreen. The night before, put together anything they will need: a hat, nappies, changes of clothes, toiletries and medicine. Putting these things together at home will give you more time to talk with your child and make sure everything is ready for childcare.
Some childcare arrangements require meal plans for each day so plan your child’s meals accordingly. Leave enough room in their bag that they can carry it themselves when they walk into school or daycare. Also, write down any information you may need such as teachers’ names, important phone numbers and childcare location for easy reference.
Make changes if you need
If something doesn’t feel right, it’s important to listen to your gut and change childcare providers. There are so many different childcare tools available these days that it may be tempting to use them all, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your baby with too much change. When making childcare changes, try not to make too many at once; instead introduce one at a time and take some time before introducing another. This way your little one gets used to each element of their day before anything else is added on top of it.