Written by Lindsay Lowe
Let me start off by telling you a bit about myself. I’ve been with Tykes and Tots since May of 2012 as an educator. In 2013 I moved into a site director position where I stayed until my maternity leave in 2017. I came back full-time in July 2018 as the Program Development Coordinator. My position was created to provide support to management, plan parent events and promote community involvement.
I have twin boys born June of 2017. July 9th, 2018 was my boys’ first day of daycare. I had been in the childcare field for over 6 years when I had my boys. I wish I could say it made the first day easier, but it was still tough. I dropped the boys off around 7:30 a.m., gave the educators everything the boys would need for the day, gave each boy and hug and kiss, and left the room. I could hear the boys crying for me as I closed the door. Even though I know this was a typical reaction on the first day it felt like someone punched me in the gut. Before my mat leave, I remember reassuring parents that their child would be okay and would settle in after a snuggle. I now knew how those parents felt when their child cried for them, but they still had to go to work. It was a rough first day. It didn’t help the situation that I was working out of the same location since I didn’t have a dedicated space at the time. My boys would cry off and on for most of the day. I wanted to go into the room so badly, but I also knew that the educators needed time to bond and get to know my guys.
After that day I worked hard to establish a routine with my boys. My boys love food which is what I centered my exit strategy around. In the mornings I bring the boys in, take off the outdoor gear, put on our indoor shoes, go wash their hands, and sit down for a snack. I bring in something healthy like fruit, yogurt, or cheese. I give them each a hug and kiss and settle the boys at the table with their snack and I leave.
I wish I could tell you that it worked instantly and drop-offs were a breeze since that day but that wouldn’t be true. My husband and I had to stay consistent on our drop-off routine and we talked to the educators to see if the routine was working. Our executive director, Nancy, always said it takes 6 weeks for children to transition and feel comfortable and that’s something I tell new parents as well. The boys finally settled in and drop-offs became easier and easier. My children have moved to three different Tykes and Tots locations and we have maintained the same drop-off routine for almost three years. My boys and I feel comfortable with the routine because we know what to expect and how our day will start.
To all our new parents, I know it’s tough to get through those first few days. Find a routine that works for you and your child(ren), stay consistent, and talk to the educators. If your child is struggling through the day educators will let you know and if your child settles in right away, they’ll also tell you that information. You can always check back in after drop off by messaging through HiMama or giving a quick phone call to the classroom. Stick with it – before you know it, your little one will be running into the centre excited to see their friends and teachers!