A 6 Step Parent’s Guide to Dropping Baby Off at Daycare for the First Time

It’s finally time!

After weeks of preparation, you are ready to drop your little one off at daycare for the first time.

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions – from excitement to anxiety – in the days leading up to this momentous occasion.

This is very common for many parents and is something I went through! After all, if we didn’t worry about our kids, what kind of parents would we be, right?

But don’t worry; I am here to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

This guide will provide you with a few coping strategies and everything you need to know about dropping your baby off at daycare for the first time.

6 Step Parent's Guide to Dropping Baby Off at Daycare for the First Time

Preparing for the First Daycare Dropoff – 6 Step Guide

1. Prep your child for the transition

prepping for daycare

When dropping your baby off at daycare for the first time, preparing them for the transition is essential. One way to do this is by talking to them about what will happen.

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You can explain that they will be going to a place where they will meet new friends and learn new things. It is also helpful to show them pictures of the daycare center.

If your child is old enough, you can also take them on a few visits to the daycare to meet their new caregiver and spend time with the other kids. This will help them feel less sad, and more comfortable with their surroundings.

Finally, and you should do this on the first day of daycare, create a daily morning routine. This can include getting dressed in their daycare clothes and eating breakfast.

2. Pack your child’s bag with everything they’ll need for the day

When dropping your baby off at daycare for the first time, pack everything they need for the day. This includes diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, and anything else your child may need.

If your baby is on any medication, be sure to pack that too for the daycare staff to administer.

A favorite blanket or stuffed toy is a must! These items will help reduce separation anxiety Don’t forget to bring it back at the end of the day!

If you’re unsure of what to pack, ask the daycare provider for a list.

3. Make sure you have completed all of the required paperwork

man in paperwork

When you drop your baby off at daycare for the first time, you must ensure that you have completed all the necessary paperwork. This includes filling out all the required forms and providing the daycare with any required documentation.

If you fail to complete the paperwork, your child may not be able to attend daycare. In some cases, you may also be subject to a late fee. To avoid any problems, ensure that you have everything in order before dropping your child off at daycare.

4. Arrive early

When dropping baby off at daycare for the first time, it is important to arrive early. This will give you time to settle in and say goodbye. It will also help your child adjust to the new environment before you have to leave.

Arriving early will also give you time to fill out any paperwork that may be required that you haven’t completed yet (I am guilty of that one!)

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5. Say goodbye to your child, but don’t linger

When dropping your child off at daycare for the first time, it can be tough to say goodbye. You may feel like you’re abandoning your child, and they will play on that so it is important to remain calm! Also, the more anxiety you have the more your baby will pick up on your nervousness, which may make the situation a little worse.

Create a goodbye routine that includes a kiss, cuddle, and a high five. Then suggest they play with friends and wave them off. Daycare drop-off will become must easier.

It’s important to remember that you’re leaving them in good hands. Daycare providers are experienced in caring for children and will make sure your child has a fun and safe day.

They may not want you to pick them up so early!

6. Check in with the daycare if needed

man on the phone

Feel free to call the daycare during the day to put your mind at rest; I certainly did. It helped me get through the day!

The staff at the daycare should be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

How long does it take for a baby to adjust to daycare?

It can take a while for a baby to get used to daycare. Some babies adjust right away, but others may take a little longer.

My first son never really adjusted to it, but each visit got a little easier.

It’s essential to be patient and keep trying, as daycare can be a great place for your child to learn and make friends. Daycare is excellent for child development, and also an excellent springboard into their academic life!

Do babies get sad at daycare?

There is no one answer to this question as every baby is different. However, most babies will transition well to daycare (or other child care) and not get sad. There are a few things you can do to help your baby if they get sad at daycare:

  • Pack a favorite toy or stuffed animal
  • Pack a favorite blanket
  • Pack something that smells of you

These things will bring natural warmth to your child as these items will remind your baby of home. They will be very useful for nap time, etc.

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Is it normal for toddlers to cry when dropped off at daycare?

Yes – perfectly normal!

My first son cried nearly every time I dropped him off. I used to walk around the side and look through the window. That journey took about 10 seconds, and whenever I got to the window, he would be happily playing with the other kids!

I think he was just trying to make me feel guilty.

Your child cries because they are leaving their parents and might not be used to being away from them. Therefore, it is essential to stay calm and reassuring when dropping them off so that they know everything will be okay.

If the crying persists, the daycare staff or childcare provider will be able to comfort them and help them adjust to their new surroundings.

After a few days or weeks, they will likely get used to being at the daycare and stop crying when being dropped off. Who knows, it might get to the point where your toddler likes daycare!


Dropping your baby off at daycare for the first time can feel like a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be.

With a bit of preparation and these handy tips, you can make the process as smooth as possible for you and your little one.

By establishing a routine and following these simple guidelines, you can help your child feel comfortable and confident in their new surroundings. And don’t forget to give yourself some time to adjust, too – it takes a little bit of juggling to get used to this new stage in life!

If all else fails – a firm goodbye will eventually see the end of the crying. It’s a harsh goodbye ritual but sometimes it is the only way.

If you think your child has a separation anxiety disorder, then you should seek medical advice.

Good luck, and have your coping strategies ready!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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