Re: June Infants & Toddlers
posted at 6/14/2013 8:46 PM EDT
FRAM, for your 28 month old.... I would tell her 1 week before her last Wed. at family childcare: "In a few days you are going to say goodbye to Provider's name and start at a school! I'm so excited - Mommy and Daddy saw the school and it has a large playground and a special place where you can pretend to cook dinner. You'll have your own cubby and get to sit in little chairs for lunch."
And then if you think she's ready, I'd make a 3 chain paper chain and hang it somewhere (bathroom?) and each night you take off one chain, so Monday morning is 3 more days until we say goodbye to Miss X and hello to the new school, 2 more days.... today is your last day at Miss X's house.
Ask her what she might like to bring to her goodbye party (check what's ok) - popsicles? cupcakes? what color, kind of cupcakes? you go, have a party at PM snack, say goodbye, and she can make a card to give to Miss X if she's really attached. It's important to have the goodbye concrete.
I love the idea of a thurs and fri at the new school. I'd have her do a 1/2 day on thursday - get there at her regular time in the morning, pick up right in the middle of lunch, before they start going on cots, but she'll probably see the cots. You pick her up (she may be eating like a champ, may be crying, but either way, you can feed her at home when you get home before her nap) and if the cots are down, I'd say oh, tomorrow you will sleep on a cot - look at the cots! Let her choose a blanket to bring for naptime - children always like to have their own familiar (smells like home) blanket -if she has always brought her blanket to childcare, then bring that one, as it's the same one and it's the same routine. (find out what time lunch starts and what time they go on their cots or 'lunch is over' so you know)
Friday, do a 3/4 day - pick her up right after nap (ask what time lights go on). I always like kids to sleep before the weekend when amnesia strikes! But if you pick her up right after nap then she doesn't have too much time to get upset (if she was going to) and you reinforce that Mommy comes back, she always comes back.
Then Monday can be a regular day, although if she had a hard 2 days then perhaps another 3/4 day - pick up right after nap. But have tuesday be a regular day so she understands that she stays the whole day. (unless Monday was a disaster, in which case she's telling you she needs a bit more time) You can split these 1/2 and 3/4 days with your husband, I just say 'you' meaning any parent, obviously.
Now, when you drop her off those first few days, I would stay for about 20-30 minutes playing with her so she gets a chance to get comfortable and create a routine. No more than 30 minutes, and say goodbye - no sneaking out! yes, she's going to CRY but she simply cannot find that you disappeared - that's uber scary, and she'll end up clinging to you much more because she knows that if she lets go you'll disappear again.
Take a special doll/stuffed animal as a transitional home object - it can nap with her. If she always has a pacifier at naptime this is not the time to change that and wean.
Luv, your 9 month old will probably need a few days to a week of transition if you can possibly do it - that's right in the middle of seperation anxiety and stranger anxiety. Can you do 2 or 3 mornings only, then 1 or 2 3/4 days (8-3 or something)? then Friday a more full day with perhaps an earlier than usual pickup? For your 21/2 yr old I'd do the same because you aren't going to leave 1 there and come back. She's already been at a center so will find lots of similarities (more than FRAM's because her daughter has been at family childcare) to the new school from old school. you and your husband can take turns taking 1/2 days, working from home, whatever.
If you can't do 5 days between you, I'd do at least a few 1/2 days or 3/4 days - again, mostly for your 9 month old. Still, we find that even after the first week or so of transition and the baby is doing fine (not hysterical during the day, can be soothed by the teachers) it still takes one month for the baby to fully come into his/her own and reallly show us their personality. After that month we'll start to hear the real laughter, chuckles, laughing hysterically, etc. And only then do we realize the baby has been holding back a bit, a little tamped down. (again, we're always kind of on our best behavior in those first few weeks/months at work, it takes a while to get to know people and be a little looser in the lunchroom, during a meeting, etc.)
Your children will make the transitions well - be upbeat and happy (even if you are crying inside) and treat this like a new adventure - none of this "I know you don't want to go, I wish you didn't have to go, too, but Mommy and Daddy have to work so you have to go to school." this may be the truth, but it's a bit debbie downer and not helpful to our children. Soon you'll find your child tearing out of the car and running down the hall to get to the classroom - or, like at our father's day sports day event at a park today - one of the children (23 months old), when playing with her father, all of a sudden stopped and said "Where Miss Keisha?" - we pointed her out, and she smiled joyfully and ran to the teacher. THAT's what you have to look forward to! It's so nice when you see it.