How to Prepare Your Special Needs Child for Their First Day of Daycare

Approximately 56.7 million people in the United States have special needs. Is your child one of them? 

No matter what kind of special needs your child has, it's important for them to spend time around other children. The earlier they start, the better. 

Putting your special needs child in daycare, even for just a few hours a day, can be very beneficial to them and you. 

Of course, it's natural to be nervous about sending your child to daycare. The first day of daycare can be especially nerve-wracking.

If you keep these tips in mind, though, you'll find that the day goes by much more smoothly.

Benefits of Daycare PPEC for Special Needs Children

There are lots of reasons to send your special needs child to PPEC daycare. Some of the greatest benefits include:

  • They get to spend time with other special needs children

  • They get to work on their social skills

  • They can learn important life skills (reading, listening, numbers, colors, etc.)

  • They can work with teachers and staff who are specifically trained to care for and teach special needs children

  • They will receive physical, speech and occupational therapies in one location with appropriate tools PPEC Daycare also benefits you as a parent.

Daycare also benefits you as a parent.

Sending your child to daycare can provide you with a much-needed respite, allowing you to better care for them when they are home with you.

Your child's skilled nurses, therapists, and instructors may also be able to provide you with helpful information and tips on how to keep your child engaged and make sure they're progressing.

Top Tips for the First Day of Daycare

As you can see, there are lots of reasons to put your child with special needs in daycare. But, knowing how good daycare is for them won't necessarily cure your anxiety, or theirs.

Here are some tips you can practice to make sure that your child stays calm on their first day of daycare (and that you stay calm, too).

Tell Them What to Expect

Several weeks or days before the first day of daycare, start talking to your child about what they can expect. Talk daycare up and help them get excited about it. Be as detailed as possible when explaining their schedule and what daycare will be like -- the more information they have, the better.

Take a Tour of the Facility

Another way to get your child excited about daycare is to take a tour of the facility together. If they offer any kind of orientation event, attend that so they can meet their instructors, play with the toys, and get to know some of the other children who will be there with them. 

Practice the New Routine

Your child is going to have a new daily routine when they start going to daycare.

Plan this routine out in advance and start going through it before the first day of daycare. Start gradually waking up earlier and practice eating breakfast and getting dressed before you need to leave. 

Buy Something Special

Buying something special can also make the first day of daycare more exciting. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive, but something like a new backpack, a new pair of shoes, or a new hair bow can make all the difference and help your child feel more eager about attending daycare for the first time. 

Make Sure You Have Plenty of Time in the Morning

No matter how many times you've practiced the new routine, there's still a chance that something might go wrong on the first day of daycare. Give yourselves plenty of time to get ready, fed, and out the door.

Maybe you can wake up a bit earlier that day and get yourself all ready. That way, you just have to focus on your child and won't be rushing around trying to curl your hair while also packing lunch or tying shoes. 

Send Something from Home

If you think your child will get homesick, send them with a little something to remind them of you. It could be a wallet-sized copy of a family picture or a piece of your (inexpensive) jewelry, anything that they might find comforting.

Establish a Goodbye Routine

When the time to say goodbye arrives, it's normal for your child to feel anxious or upset. To help minimize these fears and ease them into the daycare experience, establish a goodbye routine and practice it before the first day arrives.

This goodbye routine doesn't have to be complex. It can be as simple as giving you a hug, giving you a high-five, and then saying, "I love you." It just gives your child a sense of consistency and normalcy, which is a great thing when they're starting a new chapter of their life.

Validate Their Feelings

Finally, be sure not to brush off your child's fears or concerns. If they say they're nervous, listen to them and acknowledge those feelings. Let them know that it's okay to be scared or sad, but also give them the encouragement they need to face their fears anyway. 

Are You Looking for PPEC Daycare for your child?

If you remember these first day of daycare tips, you'll be able to rest easy knowing your child is prepared for whatever the day throws at them. 

What if you haven't found the right daycare for your child, though? It's hard to feel at ease about the first day of daycare if you're not sure where your child will be going.

If you live in or around the Hollywood, Florida area and are still trying to find the perfect daycare for your special needs child, we can help at Sunshine Kids Pediatric Care.

Contact us today to learn more about us, or to get your child enrolled.