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Newborn Basics

What Are Some Tips For Transitioning Into Day Care?

Baby's starting day care. Any tips for making the transition as smooth as possible?

Communicate. Speak openly and honestly with the center's staff, and ask how they help to transition new children into their program. Offer as much information about your child as possible so they can create a transitional period that best suits him, says parenting coach Tammy Gold.

Tag along. Before baby's first full day, visit the center a few times with baby and stay for an hour or so. "Baby will see familiar faces and get to know the location, so it's not so sudden and overwhelming," says Gold.

Make a list. You might worry about seeming overprotective, but writing down information about your child and giving it to the staff will help them understand your child's personality and preferences. That can mean less trial and error. Include information such as, "If he falls down, he likes..." or "If he acts like ... it means he's overtired."

Talk it up. If you have an older baby or toddler, talk about all the people he'll meet and play with at day care. Bring them up a few times a day every day before he starts, so he feels like they're already a part of his life.

Bring comforts of home. Ask if baby can have his favorite blanket or stuffed animal at day care, and if you can post a photo of you and your partner near his crib or in his cubby.

Give it time. Every child needs to get used to a new environment, but this is a place designed just for babies. The children and toys available at day care will make the transition even easier.

By Tammy Gold