Starting your baby or toddler in childcare for the first time can be hard! So, Daisy has just started with the childminder. When I talked about this on my stories, there were LOADS of messages. From mums who had been there offering advice, a nursery nurse, a childminder and lots of you wanting to know what feedback I got to my questions about how long it takes to settle in.
I think the key thing is that it is a brand-new environment, it will take some time, however sociable your baby is. It will be harder for you than them.
Daisy is 15 months, she spent lockdown without seeing anyone for a long time (apart from, from the comfort of her pushchair as we walked past). When we started to introduce her to friends as lockdown eased, at first she didn’t like it and cried but she did gain confidence. Now she is quite sociable and really likes other children and little ones especially.
Her first time at the childminder (where I stayed), she was fine, loved playing with the toys and was really chatty to the childminder and seemed to like her. This lulled me into a false sense of security that she was ready. She cried when I left her for a morning session. Apparently stopped crying quite soon though and did play and have fun but part way though she did get upset and was crying non stop for 10 minutes, causing the childminder to contact me. I told her to try putting Cocomelon on the TV and it worked! She cried when I picked her up but that is quite normal, just letting me know that she was upset I had left her.
So, I just left her for her second session. She cried when I left her (SO hard) but I just received a text from the childminder 10 mins later saying she is absolutely fine now. If you can get whoever is caring for your child to do this, keeping you posted, it is such a relief I cannot tell you! Now I can get on with my morning without worrying that she is unhappy.
So, in terms of the responses I received… it seems that little ones around this age going to childcare for the first time can take anything from a week to a month to settle. It depends how often they are going as well. Daisy is going twice a week, so I think it might take a little longer. Crying in the morning when you leave and when you collect them is normal. There may be some upset in between too. It is a new routine, new people, new environment. This is ok. It is completely normal.
Familiar things can help, a comforter, teddy, blanket, muslin or dummy. Even having their own cup from home. Things that make it feel more normal to them eg watching her favourite programme stopped Daisy crying!
One mama said “the psychology of a child is to cry and settles as soon as they know you are gone, then they cry when they know you are back to make you believe they were crying the entire time and not leave again. She will be more upset initially as she won’t know her routine yet. It builds a lot of resilience for them going into childcare.”
It is definitely tougher for the parents, the mama’s especially. I have done this twice before with my big ones and they soon came to love their childminder, were close to the other children there and she was like a family member.
From an Instagram message “I am a childminder and find that when babies are around that age it can take a couple of weeks to get them properly settled. But honestly after those first few weeks it is so worth it, they become so settled and it’s like their second home. Even if they still get a little upset at the door when leaving parents, they are absolutely fine when they get in and start playing. It will get better. Keep going.”
If you are about to start settling your little one into childcare or have just started, good luck! We can do it!! xx