Taking your child to nursery for the first time or after a long break can be extremely unnerving for the both of you. You are in a routine and used to being together and now the time has come to break that routine and delve into a new system. The new people, surroundings, and routines that you both must adjust to can be very overwhelming. You just want your child to have the smoothest transition possible and be happy when they part from you at drop off time and you so eagerly want to remove those feelings of guilt as soon as possible.
There are several feelings involved when your little one ventures off to nursery, you are excited, happy, somewhat ready to let go but at the same time you are apprehensive, unsure and you know you are going to miss being your child’s only go to person. But rest assured: by being well prepared, ready and in control of your emotions you can surely make this transition as easy and as smooth as you had desired.
We have put some important pointers together to support you on this journey and hope they will help…
Ease into the environment
It is important that your child feels safe and comfortable in their new environment. It can become rather overwhelming when children are around new people and in new and unfamiliar surroundings. By visiting the setting a few times before the child’s start date, maybe for a quick visit or for a few days/weeks of camp you will help your child feel safe. As the time goes on the Nursery is no longer a strange place, it is now a known place.
A very important point to remember is that your child can very often read your facial expressions, your feelings and then feed off your emotions. When you are feeling uncomfortable, or you are anxious your child will be able to sense this and will respond by feeling a similar way. So, coming into the Nursery feeling confident about your decision and interacting cheerfully you will be giving the right signals to your child. They will be safe and happy in the environment you have chosen for them.
Get to know the staff team at the Nursery
Engage in positive conversations with your child’s teachers in front of them as this is an indirect way of reassuring your child that you trust the people you are leaving them with. You are happy around these new people so it must be ok to be here! You will see the confidence in them immediately.
Follow the Nursery’s settling in policy
The Nursery you have chosen for your child will have their own settling in policy. It is important that this is followed to ensure a smooth transition into the nursery life. If you feel the policy does not fit your requirements and you cannot have a build-up of hours through the week as you need to be at work full-time from the first day, please do communicate this with your child’s teacher and the manager. This will allow for a plan to be put in place to support your individual requirements and needs.
Keep goodbyes calm and brief
You may find it difficult to leave immediately after coming to drop off your child at the Nursery as they may be resisting your leave through crying or being upset. You cannot possibly leave them like that right? Well, just to reassure you and help make drop off easier for the both of you…the calmer and shorter the goodbye the better. Reassure your child that they will be having a fantastic day and that you will be coming to collect them later.
It is important that once you leave, you do not turn back, as this can communicate a mixture of emotions to your child. Sticking to the same routine daily will enable your child to feel a strong sense of security, and familiarity. A sense of belonging establishes making drop offs enjoyable and reassuring.
Join your child on their journey
Your child will be experiencing so many new emotions and engaging in new interactions daily. Do ask them about their day, look through their nursery pictures together and ask about what they enjoyed most. Enter their world and celebrate all that is shared, their friends, their teachers, their favourite nursery rhymes, and their favourite books.
Your child will become an independent and confident young learner, and together you will enjoy this new adventure. Please remember that some children can take longer than others to settle; however, so long as you remain consistent, they should settle eventually.