Sending your toddler off to daycare brings plenty of emotions -- for both of you. You probably experience some apprehension as you send your little one off to day care -- along with a twinge of excitement as you enjoy some of that much-sought-after "me" time. Your toddler shares similar mixed emotions, looking forward to the opportunities for socialization and fun but remaining concerned about being away from mommy. By anticipating common daycare issues for toddlers, you will be better equipped to handle them when they occur.
1. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a common part of toddlerhood, often starting as soon as your toddler hits his first birthday and continuing through age 2 1/2. Some toddlers will struggle with separation anxiety throughout that entire year and a half; others will grow out of it earlier. When your toddler struggles with separation anxiety, the morning drop-off at daycare can induce tears -- for both of you. Your toddler might cry, cling to your legs and refuse any nurturing from his childcare provider -- anything to prevent Mommy from beginning her day away from him. Often a cheerful hug and quick good bye can help ease the separation process.
2. Temper Tantrums
You're familiar with the toddler temper tantrum -- in a matter of seconds, your happy toddler throws herself on the ground, kicking and screaming -- often for an inexplicable reason. Your daycare provider is familiar with these tantrums as well. Whether a peer is playing with a toy your daughter wants or she doesn't like the daycare provider's rules, a variety of seemingly innocent factors can set your toddler off, causing a total meltdown. As the Michigan State University Extension explains, toddlers frustrate easily, and it can be a struggle for them to effectively solve problems. This frustration often occurs at daycare, making temper tantrums a common issue. With your daycare provider, discuss how temper tantrums are dealt with so there is consistency between home and daycare, when possible.
3. Inability to Share
If you have more than one child, the words "please share" probably come out of your mouth dozens of times a day, if not more. According to the University of Illinois Extension, toddlers are focused on their needs and ideas, not the needs of their peers. Thus, sharing is difficult at this age, and this inability to share is a common issue at daycare, as toddlers face toys, books and spaces that are not theirs alone. Daycare providers are well-equipped to handle toddlers and their inability to share. They often have multiples of the same toy, or they will model good sharing as they give each child a turn.
4. Potty Training
You look for signs of potty-training readiness, encourage your toddler to use the potty and celebrate her successes in the bathroom. However, you also might fear that daycare might derail her efforts, meaning that you will never be able to cut those costly diapers -- and increasingly icky diaper changes -- from your budget. Most daycare providers understand the potty-training needs of toddlers and their families. Communicating and collaborating with your daycare provider can ensure that your toddler receives equal instruction and support at home and at daycare when it comes to using the potty.
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