Starting nursery can be an exciting or overwhelming time for both children and parents. With some preparation and encouragement, your child will hopefully settle in the nursery much easier. Here are a few tips to help you manage their transition:
Get familiar with the territory. Once allowed, you will be able to visit our nursery and meet the team. You can use that time to help your child become familiar with where they will be going and learn where important places are like the toilets and the playground. This is a perfect time to share with the nursery teacher key information about your child, such as their likes, dislikes and usual routine. You can also invent an excuse to walk past the school occasionally and point it out to your child so it feels part of their life. Perhaps they can go with you when you drop off or collect an older sibling who attends the same school?
Allow them to spend time away from you. It will be easier for your child to settle at nursery if you gradually get them used to being left with other carers. Perhaps get a friend or grandparent to look after them for an hour or two a couple of times a week?
Build up their social skills. Try to give them the chance to spend time with other children the same age, so they can learn to play together, share toys and take turns.
Talk about the nursery. Your child might wonder what nursery will be like when they arrive and what sort of things happen during the day. Let them know about the nursery routine before the first day of school, and explain what will happen and when you'll be back.
On the First Day
There is no situation more difficult than walking away from your distressed child and feeling guilty for leaving them. Be assured that it is a normal part of development and most children grow out of it. Remember all children are unique and will respond differently.
Stay cheery and confident. You'll probably be feeling just as anxious and emotional as they are, but try to be positive in front of your child. Children can often pick up on feelings of tension from others. Seeing you in a positive mood will help them learn that the separation is not a negative experience.
Don’t leave without saying goodbye. Say goodbye properly. Give a hug and a kiss and tell them when you’ll be back then go.
Don’t linger. Lingering is rarely a good idea. Whether your child is excited or crying, once you've left, stay gone (or at least out of your child's sight) until pick-up time.
Be on time to collect your child. Make sure you arrive early to pick up your child as this is a time of high anxiety for most children.
Bring a comfort object. Think about keeping something small and familiar from home that they can leave in their nursery coat peg so that they can go to if they are missing you.