Some children are born ready to socialize and get to know everyone in the room. Others are on the shy side, preferring to cling to their parents rather than go off and explore. Attending daycare can be particularly challenging for a shy child. For most, it is the first time they will be away from their parent, who is like their security blanket, for a substantial period of time. But while you should expect adapting to daycare to be a bit challenging for your shy child, there are a few things you can do to help make the experience easier on them.
Find a Daycare With a High "Teacher" to Child Ratio
Shy children often need a bit more one-on-one attention from an adult in order to make them comfortable in a new place. Look for a daycare with a higher "teacher" to child ratio. If you can find one with a 1:7 ratio, that's great. If you can find one with a 1:5 ratio, that's even better.
In addition to looking for a place with a lot of staff members, spend a little time at the daycare observing the staff member. Make sure they are warm, welcoming, and subdued. While energetic, enthusiastic daycare staff can be excellent for children with a bold, exuberant personality, they can be a bit intimidating to shy children who may feel threatened by a louder voice or more controlling tone.
Make Sure the Daycare Offers Activities Your Child Enjoys
Shy children have an easier time adapting when they're able to engage in an activity they love. For example, if your child really loves to color, look for a daycare with a big coloring corner for them to use. If they really love playing with toy trucks, look for a center with toy trucks -- or offer to donate a few to the daycare so your child has some to play with while there.
In the days leading up to your child's first day at daycare, remind them that they will get to enjoy their favorite activity there. This will get them looking forward to daycare with excitement rather than fear. When the day comes, they won't be so anxious and will have an easier time settling in with others. Throughout the coming weeks, you can hope that they'll connect with other kids who share an interest in the same toys. It gives them a starting point towards forming friendships.
Have Some Children Over First
Shy children especially need to learn how to interact with others their own age. This is easier for them to do in a familiar environment, like their home, than in an unfamiliar environment, like a daycare. A few months or weeks before your child is supposed to attend daycare, start having a few friends their age over to visit. Don't force them to play together, but do set them up to play in the same room and let them naturally start talking and playing together. Once your child gets a bit more used to socializing in the comfort of their own home, doing the same thing at daycare won't be quite as intimidating.
Visit the Daycare During Off Hours
Having to adapt to a new environment and new people all at once can be overwhelming for a shy child. Slow this process down by visiting the daycare, with your child, when only the teachers are there. Your child can explore the room and become comfortable with the space -- and also meet the teachers -- before having to face the second challenge of getting along with all of the new kids.
Daycare will always be easier on outgoing children than on shy ones, but with the tips above, your shy child will adapt and have a better experience. Check out sites like http://www.cottonwoodmontessorischools.com to explore daycare options your child may enjoy.