From: Elizabeth Keeling – Baby Room Team Leader
Tip: Getting your child ready for nursery
In my time working at First Steps, I have seen so many children arrive as babies and move through all of our rooms until they reach school age. Many settle in without as much as a peep, others find the experience a little more challenging. So, I thought I would share some tips on how to try and make the process easier for little ones and parents alike.
1. Before your child starts, if they are of an age in which stories are a nightly or daily experience read her/him some books about going to nursery. This way they can think of it as just the next natural step in them growing up. Also, if they have a sibling who is already attending – get them to join in the story and talk about the exciting things they do in a nursery day.
2. Alternatively, you could host a pretend playgroup at home, following the routine of your chosen nursery, so give a drink and a biscuit mid-morning and invite a little friend over to play. You can even pretend to be the nursery teacher with a different name, so your child can get creative and do some role play.
3. We always try and recommend little ones come more than one session a week – and we promise it is not to make you spend more! A week is a long time for a small child and the longer the break, the more anxious they may become. The team here will of course always work with parents on whatever amount of days they choose, but we do find some children find it harder to settle if they are only with us a small part of their week.
4. Some children run straight into nursery without a backward glance, but it’s quite common for a child to want mummy, daddy or grandma to stay with them for the first few times. So, we start with a few hours in which they do stay, then a short visit without, building up to normally a half day with us. This way when their official first day comes around, it all feels a lot more ordinary for you all!
5. It is true that some children cry habitually when their parents try to leave them at the nursery and calm down instantly the moment they have gone. This means the moment of parting is what these children don’t like. We promise, we have lots that do try and make their parents feel bad, but we’re not lying when we say they are off laughing and joking with their friend’s seconds later.
6. Over the years I have found a star or reward chart can be a good idea for a child who finds it hard to say goodbye. Make a simple poster and stick a gold star on every time she manages to not cry when you leave and give her a little reward at the end of every successful week.
Please do ask the team at First Steps for any further help, advice or tips on settling your baby or child in at our nursery. We will always do all we can to make it a happy experience for both you and your child.