If your child is under 3, unfamiliar with separation, or simply likes to start things slowly, our Integration Program is for you!
Upon activation, new families will find the child(ren)’s first 3 hours in the account ready to be booked, and we recommend using them one at a time, over the course of a week, or up to 10 days, as practice sessions for what children will experience when they stay for a longer visit. Including saying goodbye. And being picked up!
Step 1: Settle in
Plan to spend 5 minutes helping your child settle in. Any of our animals, cars, the house corner, or building blocks are great activities that kids can start with parents’ help, and continue with a teacher or independently after you’ve said goodbye. Try to leave room for a teacher to join you.
Step 2: Say “goodbye”
When you’re ready, let children know you’re going to go. Choosing somewhere they know about, like “work” or “Wholefoods” or “coffee” can help normalize this new experience. Let them know you’ll be back soon, and what you’ll do together when you return. Resistance is normal, but it’s difficult to reason with toddlers…
Step 3: Say “hello”
Children’s integration visits are our first opportunities to create the relationships that will carry children through this new experience, and into a world of fun social engagement, and a whole new group of friends and people… but the kids don’t know that yet.
Children look to parents for feedback, for assurance that the new situation is safe, and for your approval. Tell them it’s okay, with your words. Show them they are safe by pointing out their water bottle and comfort objects (if any), and give your approval by smiling and passing your child into the teacher’s arms.
Give them one last hug at the gate, and then meet them at the window for a final wave. Receiving the wave back can take some practice, but that’s the goal, so set them up for it. The most important thing is to smile. 🙂
When you come back after 40 – 50 minutes, they’re playing away! Any tears are long dry and when you ask about the visit, they’re excited to share all their news… Hopefully…
That’s the best-case scenario. And even then, the second day is usually the toughest…
The goal of integration is to associate Buddings with fun and friends, of course, but also with a place that YOU come back to. Repetition is the best way we know to show your child that Buddings is a safe, fun place to play, and that parents always come back. Once they have that confidence, they can learn and play!
Some kids take to the place on day 1. Some kids need 3 or more days, and sometimes it can take longer still. We’re always prepared to give integrating kids extra attention, and the special relationships that form between teachers and tentative children are among the most rewarding aspects of this job. Plus, we’ll send you photos so you can follow along. 🙂
More about Buddings Integration
Our Integration recommendations are based on courses and books by child psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld, about “bridging separation” and giving time in relatable terms.