Your baby is moving up!

By Tina Boljevac, Director of Infant / Toddler Programs at the Y                                                                                          

This is the time of year when, for most of us, sitting on the couch with a good book and listening to the steady sound of rain becomes one of the favorite past times. There is little else that is more relaxing than listening to those droplets of water splash against the window, or watching the rhythmical movement of the ripples in the puddles on the ground. I could go on…but really, as working parents, always on the go and always wishing the days  would last just a little bit longer so that we can cross off at least one more item on our extensive “To Do” lists, most of us rarely allow ourselves the luxury of partaking in such simple pleasures. And even when we do take the time to sit down and rest, rarely do we reach the state of complete relaxation, unless we are one of the lucky ones who learned the art of detaching ourselves from daily stresses and unresolved anxieties.

Although the ways to distress and recharge is another topic altogether, I firmly believe that one of the ways to bring oneself to a calmer state is to acquire answers to some of the burning questions on one’s mind. And for most parents of very young children, those questions revolve around transitions.

Most of us know how valuable consistency in caregivers, environment, and routines, is for young children, and all too often, it seems that as soon as we get comfortable with a particular situation, it is time for a change. When the situation seems good as it is, the idea of an upcoming change is not often embraced by many, even if the change is natural, and even if it is likely to be a positive change. But if supported throughout the time of transition, most of us find that the adjustment really is not as daunting as feared. The purpose of this article is to give the parents of very young children, those who have not yet gone through the process, some practical information on upcoming transitions to a new group.

In the Y Early Childhood Programs, we transition children from group to group at regular intervals, and do so with a great deal of preparation. Understanding the need for minimizing any stress on children, we make sure that the transitions are as seamless as possible. It is crucial that parents and caregivers work together to maintain consistency in making gradual changes to each child’s daily schedule. Once children transition to a new classroom, I have found that it takes about two weeks for children to fall into a new routine. During those two weeks the new teachers do their best to make the children as comfortable as possible and help them make any necessary leaps.

Some of the things to consider as your baby is getting ready to become a terrific toddler:

  • Your child should be working on getting ready to eat only three times a day while at school, as the toddler room has a set routine that provides opportunities for a family-style meal three times a day: for morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack. Children are given fluids out of a sippy cup during each meal and are offered water every fifteen minutes during the time spent outdoors on hot summer days. (No more bottles!)


  • Nap/rest time is provided right after lunch. The children usually sleep about two hours. As it may be more challenging for some children than others to adjust to only one nap a day, the teachers try to accommodate by adjusting the group schedule so that nap time starts a little earlier. The teachers also do their best to keep the tired children engaged during the outdoor time preceding lunch so that they stay awake in the stroller and are ready for a nap during rest time.


On our end, whenever possible, the babies start spending time in the toddler room in order to get comfortable with the space, toys and materials, teachers, and routines. They begin to take naps on the cots or mats and gradually start having snacks with the toddlers at the big table! The infant teachers take advantage of any opportunity when the toddlers are out of the classroom to spend time playing with the babies in their soon-to-be new room. The drop-off location becomes the toddler room, rather than the infant room, providing a change in the space but maintaining consistency in the makeup of the group and staff.  Furthermore, infant and toddler teachers work together to prove plenty of opportunities for multi-age interactions in the toddler room during free play in the afternoons.

Toddler teachers have Welcome Packets with all of the information you may need to successfully navigate through your child’s new classroom (i.e classroom expectations, supplies needed, set up of the room, etc.). We encourage you to stop in and spend some time in the room with your child to get a sense of the energy of the group and the daily routines.

It is my hope that the information presented will help you sit back and relax enough to be able to enjoy your surroundings and detach yourself from worrying about your child’s upcoming transition. Change is rarely easy, but it is the only constant things in life, and more often than not, change is a good thing! Your little one is blossoming! It is a true privilege to have the opportunity to witness this growth and the joys that children so freely express with every new skill they attempt and master.

Have a beautiful Spring season!

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