10 Tips: Transitioning Your Child to Daycare

Your little one is just about to start daycare – you’ve found just the right place and while it will be tough to say “bye-bye!” every day, you’re feeling ready to get back to work and finally have a moment to finish the dishes that have been piling up, or maybe even take a sweet moment to yourself.

But how do you transition your child from home to daycare? Taking the time to integrate your kids slowly will not only help them adjust to their new schedule and start making friends, it will ease the changes you will experience as a parent.

Here are a few tips to help things go a little more smoothly as your child adjusts to life at daycare:

1. Visit the daycare together a few times first

There’s no need to dive head first off the deep end! Start by introducing your little one to the place where they will spend their weekdays. Schedule a few visits with the daycare – you can introduce your little one to their future educators and even some of the kids.

2. Tell your child what to expect

Take the time to explain what their daily routine will be like, including types of activities, naptime and meals, and when you will drop them off or pick them up.  Make sure you do this every day!

3. Transition gradually, a little longer every time

Most daycares will have a transition plan for new babies: first, you and your child will spend a few hours a morning together at the daycare for about a week.  The next week, your child will spend that same amount of time alone.  Finally, the third week, they should be going full-time.  It is rare that a child will need more than a month to adjust.

4. Say goodbye quickly and with confidence

Maybe that’s giving them a quick hug, a kiss or a sweet wave, but there’s no need to linger! The educators at your daycare see new kids who miss their parents on a regular basis and have lots of experience helping them through.

5. Adjust your schedule at home for naps and lunch time

Try to do this before your child starts daycare – if your home schedule is similar to the daycare’s, it will be much easier for your child to adapt.  This is especially important if your child is at daycare part-time.

6. Consistency is key

Whatever you do, try to keep you schedule as consistent as possible, especially when it comes to bedtime routines!

7. Clear your calendar for when you pick-up your child, for open-ended play

Much like adults are often tired after a day at work, your child will be tired after a day at daycare!  Try not to schedule any activities immediately after picking them up, and instead give them the option of going straight home, stopping at the park, or taking a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood. If you do go home, offer them simple activities with no definitive end point, like drawing or playing with Legos.

8. Take time to talk to the care provider(s) and develop a good relationship

Get to know the educators at your daycare – they are an important resource and can tell you lots about what is going on during the day and how your child is adjusting. When you pick-up your child from daycare, ask how things went, along with the names of their new friends and adults in charge. Then, when you get home you’ll be ready to talk about everything with your little one.

9. Befriend other parents at the daycare and make playdates

This can be beneficial for both you and your child! This is a way to help your kids develop friendships with each other, and for you to meet other adults who are experiencing similar challenges as you. You can talk about issues you are having with each other, and help each other problem solve as you go.

10. Teach your child about sharing, taking turns, compromise, collaboration

It can be a tricky transition for your child to go from being alone at home to being in a group of 6-10 children, especially with lots of cool new toys.  Start by bringing them to play groups in the neighborhood, and model how to share toys when you play with them at home. Encourage your child to think about how others feel and demonstrate coping strategies for negative emotions.

Daycare Subsidies

The daycare subsidy system is complex and not always easy to understand. Depending on your income and immigration status daycare can cost anywhere between 8.25$ and 40$ per day. Take a look below to find out whether you are eligible and how much daycare costs!

Am I Eligible for a Subsidy?

How Much Does Daycare Cost?

For a breakdown of daycare cost based on income, visit the Famille Québec website. 

Which Daycares are Subsidized?

Centres de la petite enfance (CPEs) are not the only daycares with subsidized care available! Some private daycares and home daycares also have subsidized care. To find out which ones offer this service, visit https://www.laplace0-5.com/geosearch.

Not sure what the difference is between types of daycare? Take a look at our blog post!

Changes are Coming

The subsidy system is changing over the next 4 years. For more information please visit the Famille Québec website. You can also get in touch with our Family Liaison, who would be happy to answer your questions and help navigate this important system. 

Discover how to find the right daycare for your child... in Cantonese or Arabic!

This spring, we met with 6 incredible Montreal moms – these multilingual mothers translated our first naptime session about daycare registration into several languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Arabic, Spanish and Bangla.

We have been editing the videos over the past couple of months and our first videos are finally online! Take a look and come back soon – we’ll be adding more translations over the coming weeks.

Discover the videos!





How to find the right daycare for your child

It's never too early to register your child!

It can take a while to hear back from available daycares – the earlier you put your child on the waiting list the better. You can even start the process before your child is born!

Take a look at the video and infographics below to find out more about registration and to learn about the different types of daycare as well as considerations on how to choose the right place for your child.

If you’re not ready or able to send your child to daycare on a regular basis, there is a program at the YWCA in downtown Montreal that offers 3 hours of care twice a week for children 16 months – 5 years. Call 514-866-9941×209 for more information or visit their website