Taking your child to nursery can be extremely daunting for both your child and you as a parent. The new environment and routine that you both must adjust to can be challenging, as you want to ensure the smoothest transition possible for your child into their early years of education.
There are many feelings that are involved when your little one ventures off to nursery, and by being well prepared and in control of your emotions can significantly impact their journey.
This article aims to make you feel more assured and comfortable with the idea and reality of your child attending nursery, giving tips and advice of the most effective ways to help your child settle in the best way possible.
Easing into the environment
Making sure that your child feel’s comfortable in their new environment is extremely important in any situation, especially nursery. By recognising that unfamiliar surroundings and new people can be overwhelming, you as a parent/ carer will begin to understand the journey from your child’s perspective and what it will take for them to feel secure. It is also important to remember to let the settling-in process go at the speed your child is confident with. This will keep the experience positive without pushing your children past their boundaries of comfort.
You as a parent/ carer may also want to get to know the setting with your child so that they can see you are comfortable in this new environment, which will be reassuring for your child.
Settling in sessions
Most nurseries will offer children the chance to familiarise themselves with the nursery in a series of settling in sessions. These sessions help children become more comfortable and secure with their surroundings gradually, allowing them to progressively experience nursery until they are ready to fully commit. By taking your child to settling in sessions, you will avoid any intense feelings of fear, and will instead make the child feel safe instead of throwing them in at the deep end. These sessions also help your child to understand that you will be returning to pick them supporting attachment.
A smooth transition is something all parents/ carers wish for when it comes to your children starting nursery. There are several things that you can do to encourage the transitioning process to be as easy as possible for both you and your child.
Exposing your child to other people rather than their primary carer before they are ready for nursery is an effective way to teach your child how to establish connections with a wider variety of people. Not only will this teach your child how to make friends, but it will also begin to develop their social and relationship skills. By doing this, your child will feel more comfortable transitioning and being surrounding by unfamiliar faces of different ages.
As a parent/ carer, it is important for you to have a good relationship with the nursery team and workers. Good communication with the staff with give both you and your child confidence in settling in at nursery, allowing you to create a smoother transition by doing it together. Your child will have a designated key person at nursery that they can build a strong relationship with to support attachment and the settling in process.
Transitional objects can also be useful for some children, as it gives them a sense of familiarity and comfort in a new setting. By allowing your child to keep their favourite toy or cuddly with them at the beginning, it may support the transition due to their transitional object reminding them of home in the different environment.
Importance of routine
Establishing a routine with your child is extremely important to reduce stress and to develop healthy habits and life skills. When your child recognises a routine, it encourages feelings of happiness and fulfillment, which will then be associated with going to nursery. Routine also teaches the importance of organisation, by creating a regular series of events that your child will begin to learn and take upon themselves.
If you are worried about setting an effective routine, try preparing things the night before to avoid any rush. For example giving your child a nutritional breakfast before nursery can set your little one up for the day ahead of them, and also help with feelings of satisfaction.
Routine is also important when leaving your child at nursery. Try and keep this the same each day even if there are distractions – your child will recognise any differences and it may alter their behaviour!
When talking to your child about going to nursery, it is best to stay positive and cheerful to avoid any feelings of anxiety. It is also important to communicate all the fun things about nursery your child will be excited by to make them be more optimistic about their experience. Make sure not to belittle any fears your child may have and to reassure them that they have nothing to worry about or be afraid of.
Your facial expressions are also picked up on by your little one, so make sure you keep on smiling to solidify the idea that nursery will be an enjoyable and exciting venture for them.
Brief and calm goodbyes
The way you say goodbye to your child could impact how they start off their day. By keeping the goodbyes brief and explaining to your child when you will be back, it will encourage a calm mood that does not trigger them to get upset. Make sure that the drop-off is loving but quick and remember to stay calm as if you stay relaxed your child should follow.
It is important that once you leave, you do not turn back, as this can communicate a mixture of emotions to your child that fall outside of the recognised routine. If you try your best to hide any emotions that may cause your child to appear tense, it will effectively result in a smoother transition to the day ahead.
Ultimately, leaving your child for the very first time at your chosen nursery can be extremely difficult to any parent. However, by preparing and being strong and taking some advice onboard, you will reap the benefits, as will your child by having the very best start to life.
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