Returning to work when you've spent time caring for a child doesn't need to feel stressful. One of the biggest hurdles you may face is finding the right child care service. There are ways to approach this task that can make life easier for both you and your little one.
If possible, try to ease back into work gently. Although it's tempting to return to your previous hours, this can sometimes prove difficult with child care. As your child transitions into their new setting, you both may face some hiccups. For example, the logistics that come with getting your child to their new setting each morning take some getting used to. Additionally, they may feel more at ease with moving into a care environment slowly as opposed to rapidly. Your slow transition doesn't need to last too long. One to two weeks is often sufficient.
While you're narrowing down your child care options, pay close attention to the location. Consider whether it's easier for you to have a location that's closer to work than it is home. Many parents find that this works well for them, as they don't need to rush too much when picking their child up. Or, if you share care with someone else, do you need somewhere that's easy for both of you? This can mean your partner or a grandparent who's happy to pick your little one up. If you don't currently drive, take a look at your public transport options.
Securing A Space
It's important to know that most care settings have limited spaces and the number of spaces can vary between age groups. Very young children require more attention than older ones, so they'll have a lower child-to-care provider ratio. If you're aware that you'll return to work at some point, secure a place as soon as you can. Some care providers are exceptionally popular, which means they may have waiting lists. Because of this, it makes sense to have one or two backup options in mind.
Create A Routine
Routine becomes more important than ever when you start using child care services. Alongside your usual daily tasks, you'll need to prepare lunches and occasional ad-hoc requests from your care provider. Create a routine that allows you to incorporate child care into your plans without becoming too stressed. Making lunches and preparing outfits the night before can significantly reduce your stress levels and help you avoid rushing in the morning. When you feel less stressed, your child won't feel as anxious either.