Home to Center-Based

“Don’t fear change, embrace it.”  Anthony J. D’Angelo

Today many children spend much of their time in the care of someone other than their parent/ guardian. Placing a child in center based care can be stressful for the child, family and child care providers. Research tells us that the older the child the easier the transition will be. However, many parents/guardians do not have a choice of when or if their child will enter center based care or often even between full or part time care. Your child’s care provider will play a big role in your child’s growth and development. Being prepared and considering needs and resources will make this transition time as smooth and stress free as possible for all children and families (this website also includes information and resources for children with special needs and/or disabilities.) 

Some issues to focus on may include:

  • Types of care available
  • Child’s physical and mental health
  • Caregiver and center qualities
  • Center policies and guidelines
  • Parent/guardian strengths and needed supports
  • Parent/guardian role and responsibilities
  • Communication skills and methods
  • Conflict resolution
  • Safety and health considerations
  • Bonding and social relationships
  • Support services and community resources for families
Family Involvement

Each family member will take on a unique caregiver role and face opportunities to participate in the transitioning of a child from hospital to home. It is important at this time to allow siblings to set the role they are comfortable fulfilling and to help them understand that the family is growing and all members are equally valuable. When the new baby is medically fragile or disabled it is vital that all potential caregivers understand the child’s unique needs and how best they can provide support; including age appropriate information for siblings.

Individual Planning

Individual planning to prepare family members as the child leaves the home environment and enters a center based setting requires thoughtful consideration on behalf of families and receiving programs.


Health and Development

Transitioning from home to a center based setting may occur by placing your child in an infant toddler child care program, enrolling in a local preschool, or going from home to kindergarten (public school or  private).  You may experience reservations about your child’s ability to adjust to the change he/she will encounter in any of these transitions. If timing permits, a gradual phase-in may support the adjustment period, as well as planning for a visit to the new environment.  Other helpful supports include reading books about the transition, talking to your child about feelings, getting permission for  him/her to  take a favorite toy, etc.

Health and Nutrition is important for a child’s growth and development. Special diet needs will need to be shared with potential center based programs prior to a child’s transition from home to a center based setting. Allergies to foods or medicines should be emphasized on Emergency Cards.

Health Issues: Finding Good Child Care

  • Staffing, cleanliness, play, sleep
  • Smoke-free environment
  • Variety of foods to promote growth and development but prevent obesity


Interagency Collaboration

Collaboration at this transition point will require communication between the family and potential center based programs they are interested in prior to selection. If family selects more than one program (e.g., Head Start and a Child care Center), special attention should be given to making sure those agencies are aware of jointly serving the child and family. Communication between/ among the family and partnering agencies/ programs will assure transition success for all involved. 


State Links:

National Links: