September 02, 2020
Cristina Delgado Vintimilla, an assistant professor of early childhood in York University’s Faculty of Education, says patience is key during the transition back to child care centres.
Ontario’s licensed daycare centres were closed for months during the response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many parents have still not opted to send their children back. Once they make the decision to return, there will be a time of transition.
“Parents need to be as flexible as possible during the first days of going back to daycare, especially with infants and toddlers,” says Vintimilla. “It could be the case that children need to again go through a gradual re-entry to daycare, returning for part of the day or just a few days a week, before returning to a full-time daycare schedule.”
For these infants, toddlers and preschoolers, spending a lot of time isolated at home with their parents has become the new normal during the pandemic. Vintimilla is encouraging parents to pay close attention to how their kids are feeling.
“Listen very closely to the emotions and concerns of your children so that they know that you are listening to them and that their emotions and ideas matter,” says Vintimilla, a mother of two elementary-age children.
She also recommends that parents treat daycare teachers as partners in the process.
“Keep the lines of communication open with the educators in your child’s daycare,” Vintimilla explains. “Sometimes we treat daycares too much as if they are only a service but daycares are spaces for children and families to be part of an experience that is generative and joyful.
Conversations with your child’s educators will allow them to support families and address any concerns and questions that parents might have.”
Vintimilla can share tips for parents to help their kids transition back to daycare, including:
- Create a plan that gradually helps kids go back on schedule for bed time, nap time and meals to make the transition to daycare easier
- Talk with them about what is happening with COVID-19 and how life will slowly go back to the way it was before the pandemic
- Expand your social circle, if possible, to include another family with a child of similar age to your child
- Find new ways to play with your kids, like getting on the floor to play with their toys or role playing with their dolls, stuffed animals and figurines
- Organize online playdates and video calls with your child’s friends
Cristina Delgado Vintimilla is an educator at York University, where she teaches courses to prospective teachers including Educating Young Children, and Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood Education. Find original article here.
Here at Discovery Point Nursery and Academy, we work with families and children to help them transition back to daycare. Our strict safety and health procedures and protocols go above and beyond York Region Public Health guidelines and our caring teachers and staff are here to provide extra care and support for helping children have the most rewarding experience at daycare.