Returning to Childcare ...
According to the most recent advice from The Government, childcare providers in England should prepare to open to all children from June 1st (read more about The Government's latest advice here). After so many weeks at home, with only family for company, it is only natural that you have concerns about your little one returning to your previous childcare arrangements.
Specific safety concerns will be best addressed by speaking to your childcare provider directly as The Government has advised them to use common sense in keeping this very youngest group of children as safe as possible. It is acknowledged that keeping children under five two metres apart is not achievable, however, measures such as keeping children in small groups with one key-worker may be a sensible solution. One suggestion is to use the official adult to child ratios to define these small group sizes which would mean, for children under two there would be three children in a group with one adult. Your provider will be tell you more about their particular plans.
To help your little one with the transition from home to childcare, there are a few things you can do over the next couple of weeks to prepare them for the change.....
Go and visit the setting (from the outside!) and, depending on your child's age, talk about what you can see. For example "there is the door to nursery, where we go in and say hello" or "this is where Daddy parks the car when you come to nursery".
Take lots of photos whilst you're there.
Contact your childcare provider and ask if they have any photos of the inside of the building they could share with you. Particular areas to ask for might be the places where your little one eats, sleeps, has their nappy changed as young children often find the times of day when they stop playing and move to another part of the daily routine are the most stressful.
If you have a printer, you could print the photos off to make a little book to share together. If not, try making an album of photos on your phone or tablet for them to scroll through. As they look at the pictures, talk to them, in simple language, about what they can see, keeping your voice positive and cheerful!
Check out your childcare provider's social media if available, for more opportunities to look at images and talk about things your little one does when they are there.
Hunt out the 'nursery bag' and make a bit of an occasion out of getting it ready. Maybe your little one can help you empty it out and give it a wash. Then let them choose some of the things they will need to put in it and let them pack it up.
If your child has had no or very little time apart from you during lockdown, try, if possible, to take some time away from them by going out for one of your daily exercise sessions on your own, leaving your child at home with your partner. Make a point of letting them see you leave, waving and saying "bye bye" clearly. Come back, at first, after only a couple of minutes, gradually extending this time apart. When you do come back, make a big deal of saying "Back now!".
Gradually try to adapt your routine at home to match how your child's routine will be in their childcare setting. This might include mealtimes, nap times, time for indoor and outdoor play, quiet time etc
Contact any friends who have children at the same setting and suggest setting up a few FaceTime (or other video apps) meet-ups for the children to see each other. Obviously there's not going to be much conversation but you can then use this to talk about friends so they will be easier to re-connect with once they meet up.