Joining the toddler group
When a baby begins attending daycare at the beginning of the year, it is common for him to have to wait until he is 2 years old to join the toddler group.
One day, you realize that he is ready to change groups. The nursery seems too small for him all of a sudden. He is going around in circles, not really knowing what to do other than cause trouble. He begins climbing everywhere and falling on younger babies. He has become a toddler!
Then, in the middle of the year, a 4 year old unexpectedly leaves the daycare and the groups are shuffled around...a space is open for your toddler in the older group. But, is he really ready to adapt to this group?
For those of you who have already worked with a group of toddlers, you know that this age group has many things to learn. This age group's caregiver must demonstrate great patience in order to successfully introduce so many new concepts in a short period of time. Here are the ones I recall:
Eating seated at the table with a chair
If you do not have a small table along with one or two small chairs in your nursery, I suggest you purchase some. Begin by having your toddler sit at the table for snack time. Once he has mastered this, try having him eat lunch at the table. It will be so much easier for him to adapt to sitting at the table with his new group if he has already practiced in the nursery.
Sleeping on a mat
Once you join the toddler group, there are no cribs in sight. In the nursery, each baby's rhythm must be respected and they may sleep according to their own schedules. If all the babies sleep at the same time, borrow a mat from the toddler group and teach your toddler to sleep or rest on it during naptime. Stroke his hair and play calm music. This will avoid crying during naptime once he joins the toddler group.
Taking walks outdoors
Often, there are no more kiddie buses in the toddler group. Borrow a walking rope and practice taking walks with your toddler in the hallways, in the yard, or at the playground. You may even trace lines on the floor using colourful tape and encourage him to walk between the lines (like he would do on a sidewalk). Remove the tape as soon as you are done to avoid marks on the floor.
Drinking with a glass - no more bottles
Does the toddler group use sippy cups or glasses? Are bottles allowed? Show your toddler how to drink from a glass and encourage him not to drink from a bottle...Hopefully, pacifiers are accepted!
Toddlers are still afraid of strangers. They are often very fond of the caregiver who has taken such good care of them since they were small. It may be a good idea to give your toddler a chance to slowly get acquainted with the toddler group and his new caregiver. Take advantage of a calm moment in the nursery to run an errand in the toddler room with him. Linger a few moments to play...and stay a little longer each time.
In my opinion, it is preferable to begin these small gestures early. The changes will become part of his routine. Remember to prepare all the babies who will be changing groups come September.
Talk with the toddlers' caregiver. She can let you know what she finds most difficult every September when she begins caring for a new group of toddlers. For example, naps may be her biggest challenge. If so, you can concentrate on preparing them.
I believe that the application of these methods guarantees the respect of toddler's development. It is also very good for team spirit!