Back to School: Transitioning from In-home Care to MDO or Preschool

We can’t believe it either, but Back to School is upon us. Follow the link for Back to School Sleep Tips, and keep reading if you’ve got a little one starting Mother’s Day Out or a new Preschool for the first time.

Monogrammed backpack? Check. Coordinating lunchbox and sippy cup? Double check. Bedroll? Check, but HOW ON EARTH is my child going to sleep on this thing? Ha. We’ve all been there, and we will get to naptime tricks and tweaks, but first let’s get some baseline tips for a stress-free transition from in-home care to MDO or Preschool.

  1. Be sure to attend the Meet the Teacher/Orientation if possible to get acclimated prior to the first day. If you’re still on vacay when this is scheduled (good for you!), a simple check-in with the head of school or your child’s teacher will help you feel more prepared.
  2. Of course we recommend sending your babe well rested on the first day 😉 We know summer sun shines brightly and summer habits are hard to break, but trust us, the earlier you get back to brass tacks, the easier on the whole family. Help your little one arrive well rested to Day 1 by implementing consistent bedtimes a week before the official first day. Follow along here for more tips on how to get bedtime back on track.
  3. You might be a little anxious about drop-off. There could be tears and there might not be! Either reaction has no reflection on what kind of parent you are, so stop with the mom guilt before it starts. With either scenario, make it a quick drop off, and do not wait for them to stop crying. This tells them they’re safe and instills trust and confidence that they can do it!
  4. To ease the transition, place a beloved item from home like a lovey in their backpack. This will help them acclimate and will come in handy for naptime.
  5. NAPTIME: Possibly the only reason you’ve read this far 😉 It’s likely your school will nap younger children in sync with your typical nap window, but if they’re adjusting it by more than 30 minutes, we suggest moving your nap schedule at home to mesh with the nap schedule at childcare. Keep naps and bedtime the same, even on weekends. Some moms choose to scoop children before naptime to nap at home, which is of course an option, but whichever you choose, keep it consistent.
  6. As far as mass crib sleeping or mass bedroll sleeping goes, there’s really no method to the madness, and somehow it typically all works out pretty seamlessly. Napping at childcare always seems like it will be tough, but for children over one, all the kids nap together, and they surprise you with how great they do.  That said, if your little one is having trouble adjusting, we would be happy to help you trouble shoot!
  7. The name of the game is consistency, and this applies to attendance at the new school as well. Try not to miss days, and increased frequency helps with acclimation as well. Consider sending your little one 3x a week rather than 2x a week to build familiarity with childcare. (Yes, we just gave you permission).

While it’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to summer, saying goodbye to swimsuit season is nothing but sweet. Yay for Back to School!

Author: nightingales

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