Make sure a change in your child care is a change for the better

Child care

Change is a part of life. So sometimes, you should expect to have to change your childcare. But saying good-bye is often hard.

Some children face change with ease. Other children may have a harder time. You as a parent can help them understand the importance of old friends as well as new ones.

What you can do as a parent

Think about your reasons for changing care before taking any action, says If you are not happy with the care your child receives, check other places first.

Visiting other programs may show you that it's best to stay put. Or, you may decide to go ahead with changing care. Remember, once you have given your provider notice, it can be difficult to change your plans. Take your time in making this big decision. suggests parents should give a child care provider as much notice as possible — two weeks at the very least. A month would be better. Telling the provider might be difficult.

Some parents may feel comfortable saying "I will be changing jobs soon. I would like John to go to child care closer to my work. It is going to be so hard to change care." For others, a brief statement is enough.

Here are some other helpful ideas:

  • Be clear with your child about when the last day will be. Try not to tell your child too soon. Sometimes, you may want to tell your provider before you tell your child. Just be sure the provider knows you are waiting to tell your child.
  • Choose the new program with care. Visit a number of programs before choosing one.
  • Do not feel like you have failed if your child is upset about leaving a program. It is sad to leave old friends and familiar places. Prepare yourself for some tears from your child. Give yourself a little extra time the last day for final goodbyes.
  • Take your child for a short visit to the new day care. Spend enough time for the child to say hello to the new staff. Look around and get a feel for the new place.

Some children get used to a new child care in a short time. For other children, the change is harder. They may cry or not want to go to the new program. You should stay calm and get help from the new provider. Then the change usually becomes a positive one.

After a few weeks, note your child's actions and the way he or she feels. Your child should talk about his or her day. Your child should also be eating and sleeping well at home, being active, and happy. If you are still worried about your child, talk to the new provider.

What you can do with your child

Children may need some help to deal with the change. Here are some activities your or your child care provider can suggest:

  • Say good-bye by drawing a picture or writing a letter. Let your provider know your child is leaving. Your child may want to get a small present for the provider.
  • Make a scrapbook of the old child care. It could include drawings or photos.

How your new child care can help

Making your child feel comfortable in a new child care location is important. Here are some ideas that may work for you:

  • Have your child bring a favorite toy or blanket to the new child care. Bringing a "piece of home" along can help.
  • Ask a child from the new child care to show your child around. Children can sometimes break the ice faster than adults. The sooner your child makes friends, the smoother the change should be.
  • Talk to your child about the old child care. Try asking questions like, "What is different about this child care program?" These questions can help you find out what will make your child more comfortable. Children are able to adjust to many changes in their lives. But you should try to lessen the number of child care changes. If you change child care often, you may want to look closely at your reasons for changing.

Saying good-bye

Leaving a child care situation is not easy, even if you have good reasons for changing. However, with some planning, you can provide a smooth change for your child.

If you are thinking about changing child care, Humana can help. Our work-life program provides valuable resources to help you select good child care. If you have access to EAP/work-life through Humana, go to our online resource, . Or, you can talk to someone about your needs by calling 1-866-440-6556.