Dusseldorf The new daycare year has started and with it a new life phase for many parents and children. Often for the first time, they are no longer together all the time. This is how you get used to it more easily.
Children are only human, they have their own needs, characters and characteristics. Some are more shy, others are more welcoming to strangers. But almost everyone goes to day care. Klaus Bremen, chairman of the German Kita association, says that from the age of three it is almost 60 percent of the children in NRW. The early days can be difficult for them, but also for the parents. That is why there is the so-called acclimatization. Isabel Degen, who works at the Seesternchen daycare center in Düsseldorf, a facility in the Kinderhut daycare centres, says it depends on the interaction between the child, carers and specialist staff. Du and Bremen give five tips on how this transition period can be successful.
1. Make a decision and stick to it
Klaus Bremen says: “It works if the parents trust their own decision for the daycare and remain clear in the decision!” If the parents are ambivalent, doubt their decisions and are uncertain, the children feel it too. Degen can also confirm this: “Children can only develop a fear of loss from around eight months of age. A lot of fears and, above all, how to deal with them, are lived by the parents.” It usually happens unconsciously, but if you deal with your own worries, it can be easier not to pass them on to the child.
Children are often curious, adventurous and less plagued by self-doubt than adults. Parents should learn to trust that their child can make the transition to a new phase of life. “Trust that your child will find his way in the new environment and settle in.” Parents don’t have to get the child used to it – the child gets used to it himself,’ says Bremen. Fixed rituals and conscious interaction with the child can help.
3. Trust the professionals
The level of knowledge about early childhood education is significantly different today than it was just a few decades ago. Specialists are trained to make it easier for children to settle. You have to trust him, you didn’t choose day care for nothing. Bremen also says that it is essential to understand the daycare not only as an educational facility, but also as a community facility: “Most children around the world grow up in groups and communities – and are not looked after around the clock as individuals.”, he says. It is not possible without the help of the parents: “A loving and supportive atmosphere can only be created in the day care center if the parents have confidence in the work of the day care team that works there.”
Isabel Degen says that the community aspect has become even more important during the pandemic. “Children who come to day care today are mostly born during the pandemic. As a result, many have had less contact with people who are not their parents. Baby classes, visits to the playground or even visits to the grandparents were sometimes not possible.” This is precisely when it is important to trust the staff. “We work here with the acclimatization close to the so-called Berlin model. The child gets used to the new environment in different phases.”
A very important point, according to Degen. “We talk about everything here when we get to know each other. But even after that, we keep in constant contact with the nursing staff. Only when we know what is going on in the child’s life can we give them the best possible support,’ she says.
For Bremen, this is also the key to the first points: “Believe in your own decision, in your own child, in the daycare team – this trust needs communication. There are no stupid or absurd questions for a daycare team,” he says. Parents and day care team are in an educational partnership which can only work with openness.
5. Get and accept help
It happens very rarely, but sometimes the acclimatization just won’t work. The reasons for this can be as individual as the people involved. For Klaus Bremen, the following applies: “Getting help is never wrong if the goal is an educational collaboration with the daycare team.” Everyone wants the best for the child. If that doesn’t work, there are several other places you can turn to: representatives of the daycare provider, the association to which the daycare provider belongs, such as the German Daycare Association, or the local youth welfare service. Then we can find a solution together.