Ask AF: Transition to Daycare

After adopting, you may be worried about returning to work and transitioning your child to daycare. Our adoption expert puts your fears to rest.

Q: My husband and I adopted a toddler internationally six weeks ago. Although he seems to have bonded with us remarkably well, I am concerned that it is still too soon to enroll my son in daycare, even on a part-time basis (20 hours a week). Do you have any recommendations?


A: Plenty of parents have no choice but to return to work fairly soon after an adoption. But remember, even if you are working, your child is clearly better off for having a family! Plan to spend most of your non-working hours with your child, putting other activities (volunteer work, some social events, etc.) on hold for a while.

Begin the transition period seven to 10 days before you have to spend the full day away. Start by introducing your child to the place/people who will be caring for her. Play there several times together, then start leaving for short intervals — half an hour, over lunch/nap time, then for an entire morning.

Provide links to yourselves and to home — favorite blankie, pictures of parent(s), etc — and work with your care provider to make sure that a consistent routine will be followed for drop-off times. Also, make sure the caregiver understands that this child’s transition to daycare needs may be greater than those of other children.

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