Helping Your Child Adjust to Childcare
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The advantage in-home childcare has over day care centers and family day care is the familiarity of the surroundings for your child. He or she will be able to play in his or her own backyard during the day and will have his or her own toys around. Still, there may be some adjustment problems even if the childcare provider comes to your own house. There is bound to be a change in routine, or differences between your parenting style and your nanny's manner of childrearing, that might unsettle your child.
The best way to avoid these kinds of issues is to be sure that the nanny is thoroughly apprised of the customs and procedures your child knows. If possible, have the nanny come to your house for several days while you are still available to guide her thorough a typical day with your child. Show her the locations of first aid materials, toys and games, cleaning supplies, cooking utensils, and other items that she may need during the course of the day. Explain to her when you would like meals to be served and when children should be put down for naps. Go over limits that you would like enforced with regard to the use of televisions, telephones, and computer games. The better the nanny's understanding of your rules and expectations, the less confusion your child will have with a new caregiver.
As with out-of-home care, easing into the new situation slowly and having your child spend time with you and the nanny before leaving him or her alone in her care are both good ways to make the new childcare arrangement go smoothly. Take the nanny to your child's activities or school and introduce her to your child's teachers. Try some fun outings with the nanny and your child, such as a trip to the park or out to lunch, so your child will know that his or her life will not be disrupted too much by this new state of affairs.
Again, if you work near your home, lunch visits are a good way to keep in touch with your child throughout the day. If you are not close to home, it is easier to speak to your child by phone when he or she is at home than if he or she is at a large day care center. Depending on your agreement with the nanny, you may want to have her bring your child to your workplace from time to time during your lunch break. That is another advantage to in-home care. If you have a live-in nanny or an au pair, the transition may be easier yet. With live-in help, your children literally have all day and night to become accustomed to having the caregiver around. Because an au pair is not an employee but a guest of the family and is likely to be young as well, your child may not see her as a caregiver or authority figure, but more of a playmate. As has been discussed already, however, this could end up being a positive or a negative.
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Copyright © 2005 by Linda H. Connell. Excerpted from The Childcare Answer Book with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
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