How to Prepare Your Toddler for Daycare


Starting daycare or preschool is an exciting yet overwhelming milestone for both children and their parents. As parents, we all want to make sure that our little ones are happy and ready for the big day.

To help ease this transition, we compiled eight tips you can use to make sure your child feels confident and comfortable with the change. From preparing your home to creating a positive ritual, these strategies can help ensure that your toddler is more than ready to begin the journey of discovery and learning in a new setting.

Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine is key for both you and your toddler. Try and create an environment that is comfortable, consistent, and secure with their new schedule. You know your little one best, so make sure to find activities that work for them and give them ample time to play or participate in other forms of entertainment.

Come up with a morning and bedtime routine that involves cuddles and fun activities, like reading their favourite book or singing their favourite song. Having regular check-ins with your toddler throughout the day to discuss how they are feeling can help them feel more confident in the transition.

If possible, plan special activities for weekends or days off when you can focus on having fun together. Creating a positive ritual around the beginning of daycare helps kids associate it with something positive and can help build excitement for starting such an important chapter in their life.

Additionally, it's important to talk about the upcoming changes often- this helps keep everyone calm on the first day of daycare!

Do Your Research to Find the Best Provider

Make sure you choose a care provider who is responsible, has lots of experience caring for children like yours and will make your child feel safe even when you’re not around. Research childcare centres before you commit by visiting them in person or asking other parents about their experiences at different facilities, such as a licenced family daycare.

Communicating with the centre’s staff beforehand can also provide great insight into how they would handle any issues that may arise during caregiving time since they have firsthand experience with children of different ages.

Talk Openly About Daycare

Talking openly and confidently about going to daycare can help reduce anxiety associated with the transition process significantly. If possible, try taking your child along during visits prior to starting daycare and talk positively about what they will do each day while there in order to familiarize them with the concept of being away from home in familiar surroundings.

Keep an open dialogue with your child around their upcoming transition. Avoid scare tactics and instead focus on the positive aspects of this new experience. Explain what they can expect in a simple way and make sure they understand why they are starting daycare or preschool if it helps alleviate any anxiety they may be feeling.

Be honest with your children but also supportive and encouraging; remind them that you believe in their ability to succeed and that you will be there for them every step of the way.

Get Social

Arrange play dates with children who attend the daycare your toddler will be attending. This helps to prepare your toddler for the social dynamics they will experience at daycare and is a great way to build familiarity with the other kids. It also allows them to get used to being in an unfamiliar environment and can help ease any potential anxiety they may have.

Setting up a playdate before they start daycare also gives you and your little one an opportunity to practice separation since you'll be leaving them in another home with different caregivers.

Ensure the Basics Are in Place

Make sure all the items your child needs for daycare or preschool are ready and available. This includes having familiar items from home like their pillow and blanket, any necessary clothing changes throughout the day, sunscreen, water bottle, and snacks. For many toddlers, having their favourite items close by offers assurance that everything will be OK even when mommy isn't around.

Have a plan for diaper changes, nap times and meals. If possible, check in with the teachers or staff ahead of time to find out what their policies and procedures are so that you can create a routine that works best for both your child and their educators.

This act of "preparing" itself speaks volumes as it shows how much trust we place in our toddlers even if mommy isn't there physically every single moment of their lives – which sends an incredibly powerful message about our unconditional love for them!

Prepare Your Home

Create an environment at home that is conducive to learning, development, and exploration. This could mean taking the time to organize their room into a space that promotes growth and experimentation, such as having art supplies ready for them to explore and create. Additionally, think about investing in toys that encourage problem-solving skills or basic science experiments your child can try out on their own.

Keep a cozy spot in their bedroom where they can curl up with a book or relax if they need it. Finally, finding activities like music or dance classes is also a great way to help your toddler reengage with positive social experiences before the transition to daycare occurs.

Prepare Yourself as Well

It's just as important to prepare yourself psychologically too! Grasp this opportunity as a chance for growth and learning – looking at it through this lens can make all the difference!

Being ready mentally is crucial so try taking some time off work or speaking candidly with family members/friends who have gone through similar experiences before diving head-first into this venture together with your little one!


Transitioning to daycare or preschool can be a difficult but rewarding experience for both children and parents. It takes patience, understanding, and preparation in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. Setting expectations, ensuring the basics are taken care of, and talking openly about daycare are all key components of successful integration into daycare or preschool.

With a little bit of effort and support from family and friends, children can feel safe and comfortable in their new environment so they can explore the world around them with enthusiasm.