It’s part of parenthood and part of life — eventually we all face the moment when we part ways with our kids for more than just a few hours.
We all can attest that Knoxville’s daycare wait lists can be a challenge. For some, luck serves them with just a few weeks of waiting, while for others it’s months. Eventually though we receive the call that a slot is available for our kid, and in the blink of the eye, it’s now or forgo your spot to another child.
So, you buckle up and gather your supplies for this new stage of parenthood.
While it’s a scary feeling for our little ones, parents also face the same separation — some more than others. We all have our different tactics: slow integration for some; for other families, this is not an option. At the end of the day there is a silver lining, however: it gets easier.
The week leading up to our start date, my son Orion enjoyed his introduction visit to the daycare. He fit right in — I was so proud. Regardless of his great visit, I was nervous dropping him off on his first day. I’m not sure if my body language easily divulged that it was my first drop off or if it was because I was new to the facility, but I remember feeling like other parents were giving me the Hunger Games ‘three-finger salute’ for good luck. After settling Orion in, I sat him down with a book, gave him a warm embrace and said my goodbyes. Once I was out of his room I watched from afar to realize that he didn’t shed a tear. Not one. The moment was bittersweet. Yes, my son was going to be ok. No, my son was going to be ok. [Insert crying emoji here.]
It was fine. “This was going to be a piece of cake,” I thought.
The rest of the week remained a challenge, but eventually we came to a routine that helped comfort him and ease the goodbye blues. Also, it helped that my son’s daycare was very engaged and empathetic during the transition.
My fellow momrades, here are a few things we focused on to ease the transition to daycare:
1. Furry Stuffed Animals
My son never reached for a stuffed animal during the first few years of his life, but now it’s his best friend. The first week of daycare I took my son to Build-A-Bear; he instantly became attached to the furry little creature we created together. I make sure Orion grabs his buddy in the morning, helping to distract him.
2. Small Surprise Treats
A basket of little toys and goodies remained in the trunk of my car. While saying goodbye in the morning, I would remind Orion that when I picked him up, he would receive a goody for being brave.
Food: the universal language every kid can relate to. Although my son’s daycare provides a breakfast snack, I always provided breakfast with his favorite breakfast snacks. This was a piece of home away from home, which helped ease the transition.
4. Family Pictures
My son’s daycare dedicates a wall to family pictures so that children can comfort themselves when they are missing their loved ones.
5. Goodbye Ritual
Saying goodbye with a warm embrace was very important. Sneaking out was scarier for Orion.
I am so thankful our transition days are over and to those who helped during this time. If you need help with the different types of daycares in the area check out Knoxville Moms Blog 2018 Guide to Knoxville MDO, Preschool, Kindergartens, and Daycares. We all know it takes a community to raise our children, especially in times like these. “Don’t worry, be happy, because every little thing is gonna…is gonna be alright.”