Love is the answer
Emotional experiences in our childhood shape the adults we become. And love is a particularly vital experience for a child’s health and brain development.
A baby’s brain needs affection to develop empathy, emotional regulation and social skills. When a crying baby is calmed by a loving adult, they produce less cortisol (a stress hormone) and their brain learns to regulate stress.
Without a loving adult around, it’s difficult for children to learn to maintain a healthy amount of cortisol. This means they stay stressed.
This is important when thinking about childcare. All children get stressed. Their bodies produce cortisol when they are separated from their parent or main caregiver.
High quality childcare, with an adult that children have a strong attachment to, enables healthy child development. Quickly forming an attachment with a new caregiver helps children avoid excessive stress and this pays off for the child over the long-term.
The tiney approach
We take the settling in period seriously at tiney. All tiney home leaders receive training designed by Early Childhood experts about the most effective ways to help children settle and adapt.
Starting childcare can be a stressful time. This could be the first time a parent has trusted another adult with their child. They can often find it harder than their children.
During the first days and weeks in a new environment, children need to establish strong, positive relationships and tiney home leaders put a lot of work into getting this right.
A good settling in period isn’t rushed
It’s a gradual process, beginning with lots of parental involvement. Precisely how long this takes will depend on the individual child, but generally this process involves:
- An introductory meeting between the family and tiney home leader.
- The tiney home leader learning about the child’s likes, dislikes, routine and specific needs.
- Short sessions in the tiney home where a parent is present.
- Short sessions without the parent, growing in length until children are doing their full hours.
A gentle start helps to avoid tears and stressful mornings further down the line and ensures children form a really strong attachment with the tiney home leader.
Settling in works better with a single carer
Quickly forming a secure relationship with their tiney home leader means children continue to experience the love they receive in their own homes. Building this relationship with a single childminder in an intimate home environment is easier than in a large, busy nursery with lots of unfamiliar adults.
It’s normal for behaviour to be unsettled during this period. It might even seem that children have regressed a little. That’s normal and will pass as children adapt to the change. The important thing is for families and educators to show patience and take children’s emotions seriously, giving them space to express themselves.
Children are perceptive
Through actions as much as words, adults communicate their attitudes towards each other. When a parent shows that they feel comfortable with a tiney home leader, their child settles much more quickly.
Children are more perceptive than we sometimes give them credit for. They intuitively notice their parents’ behaviour. If Daddy is relaxed with a new person, they understand that this stranger is a trusted friend.
Time spent in the tiney home as a family means the space becomes familiar and comfortable.
In your own home, speaking often and positively about the tiney home and the activities that your child has enjoyed doing there helps to make the settling in period easier too.
One way to make a new environment more comfortable for children is to take some items from home there with them, perhaps a spare comforter, loved toy or well-thumbed book. This gives a visual reminder of home throughout the day that their tiney leader can use to minimise any anxiety.
Parents know best
Parents are the experts on their children. Our tiney home leaders welcome parental input, especially when deciding how gradual settling in should be.
Regular messaging via the tiney app gives updates on how children are settling, which parents can check at any time. Total transparency makes sure everyone is on the same page and can address any challenges together.
Although the introduction to a tiney home is gradual, it’s time well-spent. When children feel loved they are happier. Instead of spending the day anxiously wondering where mummy or daddy have gone, they get on with the important business of play!