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Helping a one-year-old get used to daycare
Q: My son will be turning a year old in three weeks and I think I am ready to go back to work. Will my son be acting differently whenever I am not with him all day, and if so, how can I and the caregiver help ease these adjustments for him?

A: The important thing is to choose your caregiver wisely and make certain you arrange high-quality care for your son. You do not indicate whether you plan to have someone come into your home (a nanny or a relative), have him with a provider who probably cares for a few other children (family child care), or enroll him in a child care centre. High quality can be obtained in all three types of care, but you can’t expect it automatically in any arrangement.

Of these three types of care, centre care allows parents to be more certain of high quality. Everything is a little more visible and open in centre care. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has an excellent accreditation system for centres. As you look into possible places, ask whether the centre is accredited by NAEYC. With both nanny and family child care, it is more difficult: most states attempt to observe family child care providers on a regular basis and offer them some special training, but small staffs make this difficult to do often enough to be very helpful. With nannies or relatives, you have to be dependent on little cues you pick up that things are going well or poorly.

If you choose an arrangement of high quality, your son should not have any major problems adjusting to the new setting. Finally, try to enroll him gradually—short days at first, with you there part of the time. And never place your child in a setting where there is a rule that you can visit only at select times. Run, do not walk, away from such a place—and don’t leave your son there.