Today's society is much more dynamic than previous years. While the nuclear family is still common, more children are being raised by adoptive parents, grandparents, single parents, two moms or two dads.
Such differences may affect your child at school or child care if they're not adequately prepared. For example, other children undergoing care may tease or stare at your child because of the nature of your household. Because children from nuclear families may not yet be familiar with how dynamic society is, you should prepare your child to comprehend and react appropriately to such awkward situations.
1. Communication is key
Many parents from unconventional households strive to provide a normal environment for their children. And while this is commendable, don't try to hide why your family is different. Hiding differences may cause your child to feel confused or out of place at their day care centre.
A better approach is to slowly explain to your child why they're different and to make them feel comfortable in their situation. Let your child understand that they come from a unique household but they still enjoy comfort and protection just like all other kids at the day care centre. This open and honest approach will instil confidence in your child and make them feel proud of where they come from.
2. Inform your child's caregiver about your family structure
It also helps to keep caregivers in the loop regarding your child's family background. Caregivers may have dealt with situations similar to yours before and are trained to ensure that the learning environment is safe and comfortable for all kids.
Caregivers are also best positioned to pick out any challenges your child may have when interacting with other kids or getting used to the school environment.
3. Maintain a regular routine for your child
Regardless of your family structure, you should work towards creating a predictable routine for your child while they're at home. This routine should complement the day care centre's or school's timetable so that your child has an easier time adapting.
Having a fixed bedtime, mealtime and homework time will make your child feel normal and able to interact with other kids at the day care centre.
4. Closely monitor any changes in behaviour
It's not uncommon for your child, or any other child for that matter, to struggle during the first few days/weeks of undergoing care. Children typically begin to notice changes in their environment very quickly, and they may take some time to understand how different they are from other kids.
Work with your child's caregiver to pick out any behavioural issues and to address them accordingly. Also, ask your child to share with you their experiences and what they struggled with. Reach out to a child care centre near you to learn more about handling this topic with your child.