What are transition days?
Transition days are specific days where new children come to your home daycare for a few hours at a time—usually a week or two before they start full-time or part-time care.
What is the purpose of transition days?
The purpose of transition days is to ease the change from being at home to going to daycare full days. This change can be challenging for a lot of young kids. The goal is to have a smooth transition, and these days can help kids become used to your home. As well as meet new friends and adjust to new routines.
How do you schedule transition days?
You can start with a few hours a day before the parent returns to work and gradually work up to full days. Transition days are different for every child. Some little ones adapt reasonably well to home daycare others have a lot of separation anxiety. What worked for one child will not work for another.
How many days should you offer?
Depends on the parents. Parents know their children the best. They will be able to give you a good idea of any struggles they think might arise. Also, consider that some parents are also suffering from separation anxiety and that these days will be for them too.
Rule of Thumb: Transition days need to be right before starting full-time care. Don’t set up transition days before holidays or week-long vacations. Try to keep transitions days within a week or two before the parent goes back to work.
How do you charge for transition days?
Depending on how long the child spends in your care, you could charge an hourly or a half-day drop-in rate. Do not offer free transition days. Often parents will push boundaries, have something in your contract about transition days. Clearly outline a rate and schedule you are comfortable with. These days are often not easy, so make sure you charge for your time.
Do you need to offer Transition Days?
No, some providers don’t find these days helpful. Generally, children adjust once they start coming regularly. Often little ones will become confused if you start with half days and then expect to go entire days.
Should you allow parents to stay for transition days?
Often providers do not find having parents stay on transition days beneficial. Having a parent stay usually confuses the child and causes more issues. Say to parents, “having parents remain, even for a short amount of time, lengthens the time it takes the child to transition. Often the youngster feels the parent will stay the whole time. It postpones the inevitable.” Convey to parents that you will keep them up to date on their child’s few days.
Having a parent stay is more hassle than it’s worth. Not to mention the liability of having another adult in your home daycare. Depending on your contract or agency requirements, you may need signed consent. Parents would need to consent to allow an unknown adult on the premises.
What to say when you can’t provide transition days?
If you are fully booked before a new client starts, you will not have the opportunity to provide transition days. Say you are currently fully booked. But, if someone cancels their spot for the day, you will let you know, and they can take the space as a transition day.
For babies, you could do a 2-hour one-on-one transitional visit on the weekend. This visit could allow you to connect with them and see exactly where they are developmental—making the first days more manageable.
How to make transition days easier
- Allow the child to bring a comfort item
- Ask parents to send photos of the special people/animals in their life.
- Have a fun activity set up and ready to go when the child arrives.