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Tips for a stress-free transition to child care

Getting ready to start a PLASP program

Move over summer, a new school year is just around the corner! And for many families, that means starting child care in a PLASP before and after school program or child care centre.

“We’re delighted to welcome about 700 new families to our before and after school programs and child care centres on the first day of school,” says Lynn Hiebert, PLASP CEO. “From experience, we know there are ways to plan for a successful transition.”

Here are a few tips to help prepare for the busy days ahead.

Ease into the new routine

The day before your child’s first day in the PLASP program isn’t ideal for drastic changes in sleep patterns and daytime schedules. Rather than a mad dash at the 11th hour, ease children into their school year sleep pattern. Introduce new bedtime routines at least a few days prior by waking children earlier and earlier, close to the time they’ll need to wake up on the first day. This will help them to have the energy to make it through the full day in the PLASP before and after program or child care centre.

A PLASP registered early childhood educator watches over two infants at nap time.

Introduce your child with a meal and snack schedule that mimics the child care centre or school and PLASP program. Having already acquainted children with these routines will make it easy for them to transition into the PLASP program.

Practice makes perfect

All hands on deck! Plan a practice morning routine run that will help you to be prepared for getting children to the PLASP program on time. If they’ll be walking, familiarize them with the route by planning a walk to the program beforehand. If you’ll be driving your child to the program, make time for a morning ride to gauge the amount of time you’ll need to get there during morning rush hour.

Prepare in advance for morning madness

It’s often a daunting task to get everyone—kids and parents---out the door efficiently in the morning. The evening before is the perfect time to work on lightening the load for morning. Prepare breakfast with an overnight oatmeal, or cut up fruits. Select the next day’s clothing and pack backpacks with homework, library books and instruments the night before.

A child explores the inside of a large bucket

If you’ve got more people than bathrooms in your home—which is usually the case—try establishing a bathroom schedule so everyone gets their turn.

Visit the space

Making sure children are familiar with the environment can take away first day jitters and anxiety. Pop around to see the school and check out the playground, if your child is starting in a PLASP before and after school program. This is especially important for children transitioning into full day school and or have moved to a completely new school.

Young children starting in PLASP child care centres have a planned transition that involves a series of visits.

Get in touch with your child’s Program Director

If you’ve never met the PLASP staff at the program your child will be attending before and after school, you can get in touch through email or arrange to stop in during set up week to say hello. It gives you piece of mind by establishing a relationship with the Program Director and other staff.

By acquainting your child with PLASP staff, it also becomes easier for them to transition into the program. Remember to let the Program Director know if your will not be attending the program by calling our head office.

A PLASP staff member paints with a child using a squirt bottle

Keep a family calendar of PLASP special events

There are various events including enrichment activities within the program your child will be participating in. Program Directors schedule their monthly activities ahead of time. Check in with your child’s Program Director to see what’s upcoming and add it to your at home calendar.

Sometimes the children are asked to bring items from home related to an area of learning focus in the program or for a special occasion. Adding all of these to a communal family calendar will ensure they’re not missed or that children don’t forget to bring what they need to actively participate in these activities.

PLASP staff and children painting Styrofoam balls

It’s especially important to note Enrichment Days. PLASP schedules special community partners to visit our programs, supplementing the learning program with such activities as science experiments, art lessons, Zumba and many other fun and educational activities.

“If you arrive early on an Enrichment Day to pick up your child, chances are you’ll be taking a very reluctant child out the door,” Lynn says.

Keep these dates in mind and schedule a later pick-up where possible. It will allow your child to participate fully in the day and take advantage of all that PLASP programs have to offer.

These tips will help your child and family make a smooth transition to your new PLASP program. Welcome to PLASP and happy first day!

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