Two Simple Ways To Help A Shy Child Settle In At Daycare

Attending daycare can be great for children in that it helps them learn social skills and how to function in an environment with peers. Some kids settle right into the daycare routine, but others -- particularly those that are a little on the shy side -- can have a harder time settling in. If your child tends to be quiet and more socially reserved, here are some ways you can help him or her settle into the daycare routine more readily.

Start off with just a couple of days per week.

Your goal may be to send your child to daycare five days per week while you're at work, but jumping into this fill time might be a bit overwhelming for a shy child that finds interacting socially at daycare a challenge. If possible, start off by just sending your child to daycare a day or two per week.

If you're not currently working but will be soon, start this a few weeks in advance of returning to work so that by the time you're back to working, your child will be more settled and will be able to handle attending daycare daily. If you're already working, see if you have a friend or family member who is willing to watch your child a few days per week for a month or so; your child can attend daycare the other days. Once your child is more adapted to daycare, you can send them to daycare five days per week if you prefer, or you can keep them with the sitter a few days a week. Your child will still be getting the social benefits of attending daycare by going a couple of days per week, but it will be less stressful.

Set up play dates with other kids from daycare.

It can be hard for a shy child to form friendships in a daycare setting, since there are so many children there at once. But if you can arrange play dates with just one or two kids from daycare, your child will be able to make a few friends in a more relaxing environment -- and then they'll be able to maintain those friendships at daycare.

A good strategy is to hold the play dates in your own home, since this is where your child probably feels the most comfortable. Keep them to an hour or two, and make sure you plan some activities for the kids to do. Playing a kids' board game or exploring the backyard together are both fun activities that will allow the kids to interact while also keeping them entertained.

Many of the other parents sending their children to daycare are likely to want their kids to form new friendships, too. So don't be afraid to ask whether parents are interested in setting up a play date when you see them during drop off and pickup times.

By giving your child some time to adapt slowly to daycare before making it a daily thing, and by setting up play dates outside of daycare, you can help make the transition into daycare easier on a quiet, reserved child. If you would like to learn more about a daycare, consider visiting a site like