How to Transition a Toddler from One Daycare to Another

Updated on May 18, 2007
K.V. asks from Minneapolis, MN
5 answers

After lots of searching and great advice from many Mamasource moms (THANK YOU ALL!!), I think I have found a good daycare environment that I would like to put my 26 month old daughter in. Now my problem is HOW DO I MAKE THE CHANGE???? My daughter has been in her current environment almost 9 months, so we are well past the anxiety at drop off, and she knows all the kids there. How do you transition them into an entirely new home with all new kids without it being totally traumatic to them? I'm so fearful of this I'm afraid to make the move, even though I feel the environment is better. Should you start slowly, like once or twice a week or something, or is that worse? I have gotten such great advice so far, I would value any I could get on how to make this easier. This whole daycare process is really doing a number on my emotions.
Thanks again for any suggestions,

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a a toddler that spent from 5 months old til almost with her grandma. Then she could no longer watch her. I checked
with home daycare. I was on a waiting list for 6 months. I asked the same question after the interview. She has been in the business for 15 years. she said " the best transition is just drop them off and let is take it's course. It took my daughter 6 months to adjust, ust because she had always been with grandma, but she is fine. My daycare mom is older in years but she is terrific. Another good thing is she doesn't have a high turn over with the kid, so my daughter can fell comfortable with the kids as most of them are her friends. Don'y fret, i'm sure since your child has been in daycare before the transitin will be fine. Just be give it a little time. PS please post on this site how things progress so I can see how things went. Thanks!



answers from Milwaukee on

It would be my suggestion to see if you can set up a few "play dates" with the person that you'll be taking your daughter to. If you can do that and she is able to be comfortable playing there with you there, it might be easier for you to leave when it's time to make the switch.



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter was in 4 daycare by the age of 2.5 years old. Various reasons I wasn't happy, we moved, etc... She never had much of a problem switching. It took her a week or two to get accustomed but she did really well. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. At 2 years old they forget things pretty quickly.



answers from Minneapolis on

we transitioned our son at 35 months (he'd been in the same place since he was 3 months old!), and it was tough at first. we use a center-type setting, so our experience may be a bit different from an in-home.

we took him to visit "new school" before he started there by himself, and he liked it. there were things we could talk to him about that he remembered and enjoyed, so that helped (a favorite place to play, a neat toy, the teachers, etc.).

he was a basketcase for about 2 weeks (he only goes 3 days a week), but i stayed positive, planned some extra time with him at drop-off and he got really close to the early morning teacher. the staff was amazing - kept close to him, gave him lots of hugs & reassurance and helped him make new friends. we also ended up letting him bring a comfort item (or two) everyday - usually his stuffed cat & a blanket. it helped him feel less alone when i had to leave for work.

his upset blew over really pretty quickly. he would cry as i was leaving, but it lasted very few minutes. by the time he came home at night, he was excited about what he'd done during the day & talked non-stop about his day. i knew it was a good fit, so it made the drop-off drama a little easier to stomach. our previous provider had maintained that "quick drops" were best because the child recovered from upset faster. that never worked for me or felt comfortable, so i would stay until he was a little more calm... usually only about 5-10 minutes, though, so it wasn't like i was hanging out for half an hour or something.

he was in a not-so-hot environment before (their preschool program was ridiculous), so we had to make a change. he still misses his friends from "old school" but he never asks to go back. we went back to old school to play last week & visit - he actually said, "i miss my friends, but that's all. i really like new school. thanks, mom." :) so, in our experience, it gets a lot better.

good luck!
mom to chase (3)



answers from Minneapolis on

For me I ended up switching daycares before I went on a maternity leave. I had to give a 3 week notice so during those three weeks I started cutting the amount of time she had with the environment she knew. My situation was unique because after my 3 weeks were up with the old daycare I was on maternity leave and could keep her home with me and gradually put her in the new daycare 1-2 times a week as 1/2 days and gradually increase that over three months.

If you do not have that option I'd suggest having your child split the days 1/2 and 1/2 if you can get away from work to transport. This will help anyway. If you can't transport then you just have to work with it and put your kid in the new environment. No matter what you know the adustment will happen but it may happen easily when you can split it 1/2 and 1/2 for the first week or two. Good Luck!

The move from a person who spanks and sits around too much was the best move we made so I hope your new provider is awesome too.

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