5 discipline tips to follow when integrating new children
September is here. The end of summer often rhymes with an integration period during which new children join daycare groups. Many older children have recently left for kindergarten and they will inevitably be replaced by younger children. Daycare integration comes with its fair share of challenges. You must take the time to get to know the children who are joining your group. You will have to discover their preferences, their habits. On their end, they will need time to learn your routine. Discipline will inevitably come into play during the integration process. Even if they have attended daycare before, children still need to adapt to you, their new early childhood educator, as well as your discipline strategies.
Here are 5 practical discipline-related tips that will help you welcome new children:
- Establish a connection. This is without a doubt the most important and BEST tip. Take the time to create a bond with each new child. Get to know them. In terms of discipline, children mustn’t feel as if you are nothing but a “police-like” figure. Instead, they must see you as an ally with whom they can have fun. Building a relationship with new children is the foundation of everything. This is also true when it comes down to discipline. Among other things, when you must intervene “negatively”, children will be more tempted to cooperate if they feel like you are on their side.
- Adapting takes time. Adapting to a new environment, new friends, a new routine… All this requires time and patience. It takes a while for children to understand how you operate, your educational framework, your rules, your interventions. Give them time to gradually discover everything they need to know about you and your daycare.
- Use visual aids. You may already have pictures that represent your daycare rules and routines. You may have used them in the past. When integrating new children, these visual aids can come in handy. Display them on the walls of your daycare, at children’s level. They will be useful for new children. The pictures can act as reminders of the many details you will share with them during their first weeks at your daycare.
- Be flexible, yet firm. Be flexible because children can’t possibly master all your rules at once. Be firm because, from day 1, they must know where you stand. Children will feel safe within a consistent framework that has clear rules. Know that new children may be quick to test you discipline-wise. Be sure to demonstrate how you intervene and do so every time it is called for.
- Have fun. Try to not always be on alert. Play with the children in your group. This will make new children want to be part of your group. They will look forward to coming to daycare every morning. Having fun with them will make establishing a bond much easier. What’s more, as children have fun, they will also build relationships with their peers.
Enjoy a successful integration period!