Leaving family for the first time to be placed in the care of what seems like strangers can be daunting for young children, especially if they are not used to being away from their grown-ups.
We have seen children in tears when first getting dropped off to nursery, refusing to come and displaying outright fear from being separated from their parent. Seeing your child nervous and anxious is especially hard and can leave you questioning if this is the right time to make this decision.
We have also seen those same children blossom into confident little personalities, chatterboxes and happy to lead their own learning each morning, strolling into session without so much as a backward glance at their grown up.
How does this happen?! At first, the road to this point can seem daunting and long for adult and child alike.
You know your child so well – will they reach that point? The answer is yes!
We have a few pointers for you below to make transition into nursery that much easier for you, and for little one to become familiar and trusting with their new surroundings even when parents/carers are not visible.
So, what can you do? We have provided a wealth of tips below in the hope that you’ll find at least one or two that work for you:
Talking about nursery
If the topic of conversation at home turns to nursery with lots of positive and encouraging language, your child will begin to associate the word nursery with happier thoughts. Once they start, encourage them to talk about their day, what their teachers are like and the activities they got up to. Remember to engage positively with what they tell you, using lots of praiseworthy language and let them know how proud you are of them.
Show them the website and pictures of the team
We have plenty of photos on our website that will allow them to feel more familiar when they first enter the setting. Seeing photos of the team will remind them that their teachers are not as strange as they might think!
Drive/walk past the nursery building
Show your little one exactly where the nursery is and explain how they will be dropped there for a few hours and you will pick them back up later. We really want your little one to know that they are going to be safe and looked after. Show them your positivity and excitement that they will be going to a place where they can play with other children.
Reading books/watch videos about nursery
We recommend getting Used copies of the books below (links provided), and watching videos of other children going to nursery.
Books to read:
Videos to watch:
Have a double of your little one’s comforter kept at nursery
Having something familiar from home they can hold on/refer to when at nursery can do wonders in giving your little one that security blanket, reminding them that they are safe even when their parent/carer is not around.
Take them out and treat them to their new school supplies
Preparing for nursery is an exciting time. Share and encourage joy with little one by taking them out to buy their water bottle and backpack as way to treat them, explaining along how/why they’ll be using their supplies.
Establish a routine
It’s helpful to have a routine that little ones themselves can be familiar with, so it does not come as a shock to the system each time they have to get ready for nursery/school, especially if they attend 2-3 days a week. As an example, the night before they could help you get their bag ready and take their outfit out so they know what to expect in the morning.
Remember, every child is different and what works for one might not work for another. Hopefully you’ll find lots of variety in the tips above and can find at least one tip that works for you!
Let us know how you get on – how was little one before you tried a different strategy and how long did it take to work?