Tips for Successful Transitions

Tips for a Successful Transition

New situations tend to be a little tough on our children, but tougher on us as parents. However, children are very resilient! In most cases, your child is fine within moments of your departure.

What to Expect During Your Pre-Enrollment Visits...

During your pre-enrollment visits, you should expect some tears and some resistance to your leaving. This is normal. It does not mean your child is not ready. This is all part of accepting & adjusting to a new situation.

1st Visit:
You will be asked to come in with your child for the first visit. We’d like you to stay with him for about an hour. The teachers will introduce themselves to your child, and invite him to join in on some activities. We will not persist if your child does not seem open to leaving your side. This visit istohelphimfeelsafe&secureinourenvironment. Wedonotwanttopressurehimtoget involved before he is ready. This will only cause the transition time to take longer.

2nd Visit:
If the first visit goes well...
the second visit will be with your child alone for about an hour. You will come in for about 10 – 15 minutes and stay with your child to help her get re-acquainted with the environment. Please sign in once you arrive, and leave a contact number on the sign-in sheet so that we can reach you should the need arise. When you are ready to leave, please inform one of the teachers. Then, tell your child that you are going to ... (tell her what you are doing: i.e. going to get a coffee, going to the post office, going to the store, etc.) and that you will be back soon to get her, then give her a hug and kiss. A teacher will take your child to the window to wave “goodbye” to you, then help her get involved with an activity an/or another child. We will “shadow” your child, but allow her independence in the setting. We will be there to give encouragement, a hug and/or hold her, if necessary. If your child is very upset for longer than 10 – 15 minutes, we will go in to the office to call you. We will not let her know that we are calling you because we do not want to set a precedence. If you do not receive a call from us during your child’s visit, please pick up at the pre- arranged pick-up time.

If the first visit was a little tough...
(i.e. - If your child was very clingy during the first visit, afraid to let you out of sight, and/or would not interact with the teachers at all), she may need one or more visits with you in order to feel more comfortable in the environment. (This is a rare occurrence.) The first “alone” visit will be scheduled once your child appears to be adjusting to the setting.

3rd Visit:
The length of the third visit will be determined by the outcome of the second visit. If the second visit went really well, this third visit can be scheduled for two to four hours. (The director will let you know how long the visit should be.)

If the second visit was just “O.K.”, then the third visit may be scheduled for just 1 –2 hours. We want your child to feel very certain about the environment before being left for his first day of enrollment.

4th Visit:

Your child may, or may not, need a fourth visit. Fourth visits are usually scheduled when:
- a child’s first two visits were not ideal, and she seems to need a little more time to adjust, - a child is enrolled for 6 or more hours a day, or
- a parent feels their child may need extra time (even if the teachers feel she is ready)

During the First Weeks of Enrollment...

What to expect:

A new student typically takes one of three routes:
Typical Transition: A few tears on the first day, increasing to more and more tears over the first two weeks (or longer with children who attend only 2 or 3 days a week). If you follow our transition suggestions, this sadness will typically only last for about two weeks until he has adjusted to the new setting.
Delayed Reaction: No tears at all in the first few weeks. Then suddenly, the child realizes that this is her new routine and begins to have a difficult drop-off. This difficult transition will usually last only two weeks.
Easy Transition: No difficult transition at all. This typically happens with a very outgoing child who has been in previous care. (This transition is rare!)

In most cases, no matter how many tears, your child is usually fine within a few minutes of your departure, once he realizes this is his new routine.

What you can do:

You may stay a few minutes (initially, no more than 10 minutes) with your child during the first couple of weeks to help her ease into the program. Once your child is secure with the drop-offs, you can begin to stay longer occasionally, if you choose.
Do not prolong your actual departure. Once you announce to your child that you are leaving, please follow through, no matter how much he cries. The teachers will not intervene until you inform us that you are leaving. If you stay longer (after informing everyone that you’re leaving), it will only cause your next drop-off to be even more intense. Your child’s tears will only increase if he believes that they (the tears) will keep you longer, therefore escalating with each episode. (Please remember that the transition is more difficult on you!)
Call as many times as you’d like! We realize that when you see your child crying as you leave, this is the mental picture that you hold until pick-up. It will make you more comfortable to know that your child is doing O.K. In most cases, during the first few days, we will contact you within an hour of your departure (if possible) to let you know that your child has adjusted.
If your child is having difficult transitions, we suggest “Drop & Go”. In this situation, we ask you to make your drop-off very short for a few weeks. We suggest that once you come in, you sign your child in and help her put her jacket and lunch away. Inform one of the teachers that you are ready to leave and request their assistance, then let your child know that you love her and that it is time for you to go. Give her a hug/kiss and let her know you’ll be back “soon” to pick-up. (You can give her the actual pick-up time, even though most children do not have a concept of time, and you should let her know who is picking up that day.) Then, leave promptly, no matter how much she resists. The longer you delay your departure, the more difficult her transition becomes.

We will do everything we can to help your child transition as smoothly and quickly as possible. Please feel free to call us with questions or for advice in helping your child transition smoothly into our center. Please remember that we have all been working with children for many years and have had a lot of success helping these children transition smoothly into our care. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to make your child feel comfortable.