Child Development Supervisor, Head Start
The bond between a child care provider and a child is very strong. Some child care providers are with their children eight-to-ten hours a day and up to a total of five years. These relationships and bonds can become similar to those the child has with a parent or a grandparent.
Child Care providers can become sad or even depressed about a child leaving their care, because they consider these kids an extension of their family. When the child moves away or enters kindergarten, the transition can become as shocking to the provider, as it is to the other children in the program.
Many providers experience sadness, depression, even fatigue during these transition times. They can also become angry and irritated. The best way to manage these emotions is to redirect them and to think of the positive aspects of the transition.
A child care provider can prepare for the transition by doing a special project with the child, such as a photo album or a journal – one for the child to keep, the other for the provider.
If the child is moving on to kindergarten, providers can organize a “graduation” ceremony so that everyone has time to adjust to the idea. Providers need to be positive and encourage the change; transitions, although difficult, are a necessary and positive part of life.
Providers can’t forget to address the feelings of the children that are left behind. They must reassure them and tell them it’s okay to be sad. Departures, just as transitions, are also part of life. As a provider, you should use these moments to build strength and character in the children under your care.