Starting nursery is a big change for both of you and the first weeks can seem especially daunting, particularly if it is your first child.
But there are some simple strategies you can employ to help you get through those first tricky transitional weeks and come out still sane at the end of it!
Visit your nursery before you start
If possible take your child to the nursery before the big day and walk around so they can get familiarised to the environment and know what to expect.
Show your child that you – as parents – have a good relationship with the nursery and staff – this will make them feel like it is a safe place to be and put them at ease.
Get your child excited about nursery
If you’ve told your child how exciting and wonderful nursery will be then this will directly translate into how he feels about it. Tell them about all the new play toys and fun friends they will have so they see all the positives in going to nursery and they will be excited to get there when the first day arrives.
Brief the staff
Telling the staff as much about your child is possible is a useful thing. That way they will know your child’s likes, dislikes, food preferences, sleep patterns, what stage of development they are at and so on to offer the best support and environment possible and keep your child happy.
Start gradually and build up
For some children to start them on full-time nursery can be a big jump so don’t feel you have to go full-time right at the start.
There are many nurseries that are happy to offer part-time and half days at first. In this way you can build up to a full day (adding another hour each time if you need to).
By the time you make it to a full-time day your won’t even notice and will feel more settled into the routine.
Make your life easy in the morning
Getting ready in the morning can be a bit of a negotiation but save yourself precious time by putting your child in clothes that are easy to put on and take off – Velcro fastenings on shoes are great!
Let your child take a comforter and familiar objects along
If your child has a particular favourite toy or comforter that he or she is attached to then let them take it with them to nursery as it will help them feel more settled at the start. Other familiar things like bringing their own sippy cup from home can also help your child feel more relaxed in the new environment.
Try to make friends
Making friends with the other mums at the nursery will not only help your child build instant friends and a social life – it will keep you sane as well!
It’s comforting to have other parents around who are going through exactly the same stages of parenthood as you!
Nip fussy eating in the bud
If your nursery is one where they provide the children with lunch then try and nip any fussy eating habits in the bud before they start.
A good trick is to look at the meals offered at the nursery and cook these at home a few weeks before so your child can get used to eating this way so the meals won’t come as a surprise when it gets to lunchtime at nursery.
Practice saying goodbye to avoid separation anxiety
Always be direct at drop-off time and don’t slip away – this will only make them feel more insecure and clingier. Make your goodbye short and if possible leave them with friends or staff they have met before.
Don’t ever feel guilty or sad about leaving them
Remember if your own emotions signal anxiety then your t will see this and respond in kind.
Parents can find it difficult at the start especially if there are tears but don’t ever feel guilty about this! Sometimes you do have to leave your child crying and trust that the nursery staff are there to support and comfort your child.
- Carol Evelegh is founder and owner of The Kindergartens