Choosing Child Care - Helping Your Child Get Started

At the start of a new child care routine, it's common for a child to show some signs of anxiety, such as clinging or crying when you leave. With your child's needs in mind, try to ease the transition.

  • Prepare yourself and your child. If you are enrolling your child in care for the first time, it may be helpful for you both to get used to spending time apart. Hire a babysitter or ask a friend or relative to help watch your child for short periods, and gradually extend these sessions.
  • Explain to your child what will happen. An older toddler or preschool-age child may understand at least some of what you tell him or her about the new situation. Talk about playing with new friends and the kinds of activities he or she will do. Remind your child that you will come back to pick him or her up.
  • Start the new routine gradually. You may keep the first visit short and stay with your child, adding time slowly. Over the course of a few days, you and your child may feel more comfortable when you leave. But follow your child's lead. Try to focus on dealing separately with any of your own anxiety that you may feel about leaving your child.
  • Spend extra time saying good-bye for the first few days. Some children will be ready and eager for the new routine. A simple extra minute or two to get your child involved in a new project or with a group of children may be all that is needed.
  • Allow your child to take something from home (such as a family picture or small toy), if allowed at the facility.

Make sure your child is immunized. Illnesses and disease can spread easily among a group of children. Keep your child's immunizations up to date and give a copy of the record(What is a PDF document?) to your child care provider. For more information on childhood immunizations, see the topic Immunizations.


If at any time you suspect your child may not be safe, immediately remove him or her from the situation. Notify the proper authorities if you suspect abuse.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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