How to Achieve A Smooth Daycare Transition


My son recently started a new daycare. He had been at his previous daycare for two years, but at 2 ½, my husband and I felt it was time for him to be in a “preschool atmosphere.” We have been very happy with our choice because our son is flourishing! He is enrolled in both soccer and yoga, plus he is recognizing colors and letters.

However, prior to the switch, we were worried about how he would transition at his age. He was familiar with his previous caregivers, had a rock-solid routine, and was happy. So, we were questioning whether we should upset what was already working.

Nevertheless, we knew we were making the right choice. He has transitioned beautifully. He cried for a few minutes on the first day we dropped him off, but from then on, he’s been more than excited to go to his new school. I can attribute this to a few things that we did:

Three Ways to Achieve a Smooth Daycare Transition

1. Explain that he was leaving his old daycare, and starting a new and fun school

We tried our best to communicate the transition. We made sure that he knew it was his last day at his current school, and that he would be going to a new school with new friends. It also helped that his teachers made it a happy time and gave him plenty of hugs. We also reminded him over the weekend, and the morning of, that he would be having fun at a new place. I think I underestimated how much he would understand, but I truly think doing this made a huge difference.

2. Keep the same routine

We kept our son’s routine exactly the same: dinner, bath, books, bed. The only change was the location he was traveling to, which was not much farther from our house. We even left the house around the same time. And since Dad always did drop-off, we kept that routine. We did not want to make the first day or week different by Mom doing drop-off, or tagging along.

3. Don’t linger at daycare drop-off

Predictably, our son was a little taken aback at the new daycare. Dad did his normal thing by giving him a hug and kiss and leaving. He cried a little bit, but it only lasted a few minutes, and he was fine! I know it’s tough for us parents, but we received pictures all day of him having fun.

It’s always amazing how resilient kids are! It’s really us parents that have all the trouble. What are some your daycare transition tips?