How to Start a Baby in Daycare

Infants can typically start daycare as early as 6 weeks old — but as a parent, you might be wondering about the best time to start, and how to start a baby in daycare.

Whether you’re still pregnant and thinking ahead about finding daycare, it’s time to go back to work after maternity leave, or you’ve been working from home for a while and you want your baby to have a more social and engaging experience during the day, we’ll cover how to start baby in daycare.

Teacher reading a book to an infant

6 Tips for How to Start Baby in Daycare

Starting daycare is a brand new experience — for you and your baby! Here are some ways to help ease the transition.

  • Start Your Search Early 

    Daycares fill up quickly, so the earlier you start looking, the better. If you haven’t already begun, now’s the time. Wondering how to get on a daycare waiting list? Tour and speak with centers in your area, express your interest, and ask about potential start dates. If your ideal date isn’t available, put your child’s name on the waiting list.

  • Be Confident in Your Decision

    Early childhood education has a positive impact on children — socially, academically, and more. Each day, your child will be loved and cared for by nurturing teachers, they’ll have fun and engaging experiences, and they’ll gain the knowledge they need to be ready for all the big steps ahead. At the same time, you’ll have the peace of mind you need to be able to focus on your work.
  • Recognize Your Feelings

    It’s okay to worry and feel anxious when your baby starts daycare. Try to think about everything they’ll get from the daycare experience, and remember that you can always call to check in on them throughout the day. Plus, if your center provides daily updates, you’ll get notes, photos, and even videos that will help you stay connected.
  • Build Relationships with Baby’s Caregivers

    Communicating with your baby’s caregivers can also help you learn how to start your baby in daycare. Talk with them at drop-off and pick-up; keep them up-to-date on what your baby’s doing at home and over the weekends; and ask for advice if you need it — before you know it, they’ll be a key part of your parenting team.
  • Prepare for Pick-Up

    Some babies will cry when you drop them off, others might do so when you pick them up. Rest assured — it’s totally normal, and it doesn’t mean they didn’t enjoy their day. Babies feel a swell of emotions, sometimes all at once — and these feelings can be overwhelming for them. They’re experiencing so many new things throughout each day, and what seems like a simple transition to you (from daycare back to home) can be tough. To help make things easier on both of you, keep a special toy, book, or lovey in the car for the ride home. 

Comparing Daycares

Now that you know how to start your baby in daycare, you can start the daycare comparison checklist and learn what to expect at child care in order to find a center that fits your child’s needs and works for your family. When you enroll your little one in daycare, remember that they’ll gain countless skills, hit exciting developmental milestones, and participate in engaging experiences each day. And they’ll still feel loved and nurtured by you at home.



Why does my baby cry when I pick her up daycare?

Babies cry for many reasons, but crying at pick-up can be due to going through a transition from daycare to home, after they’ve gotten used to being at daycare all day.

How do I know if my child is ready for daycare?


All children are different! Babies can typically be enrolled in daycare as early as six weeks of age — but it all depends on what feels right for your family.

mother holding child

Get Started Today

Find a center near you to get started with Bright Horizons

Or call us to start the conversation 877-624-4532

Bright Horizons is a United States–based child-care provider and is the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care. Employees looking to become a child care teacher are offered the opportunity to earn an early education degree for free as part of their corporate benefits. Search by zip to find a child care center near you. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters are in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.