Small Children; Big Steps – the Journey to Enjoying Nursery
As with any big change, the start of nursery is a very exciting time. It can be daunting too, in particular the first day at nursery can be scary and overwhelming for both Parent and Child. It is important that as a parent you prepare both yourself and your child for the adventure to come; so that you enjoy this special time in their lives.
Within two weeks you won’t believe the change in them, they will start to bounce into nursery ready for the day, excited to spend the day with their new friends!
At Blossom Early Learning Center we help children and parents through this transition through the following suggestions to parents:
Show your child around the nursery a week before school starts
Getting your child settled is all about showing them you feel confident in the caregivers; get to know your child’s teacher and talk to your child about them at home. Talk to them about the changes that are to come, about what they will do at nursery, such as climbing, painting, playing with new friends and learning new songs.
Ask about the nursery routine in your tour and start to adapt your child to some of the changes at home – for example if the nursery class eats a snack at 10am, adapt your child’s routine to meet this so they already expect this at nursery.
Send them in for a few days before schools starts so they can get to know the environment and teacher before all the other children start. Particularly if your child finds it difficult to settle, as they will have a chance to get to know the caregivers and build a relationship before a new class begins settling in, and find the processes less stressful.
Building a bond with a caregiver is imperative to building a relationship of trust and settling a child
In the first weeks try to bring your child to Nursery every day so they can build up relationships with the caregivers; we allow parents to do this for the first week to help children settle.
Ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep, this has a big impact on their ability to cope with the changes happening in their daily routine.
Bring a comforter to school for your little one such as a dummy or favorite blanket or soft toy for the first week or so until your child feels more comfortable
Be patient – it can take about 2 weeks to fully settle into the routine.
Ask how children are settled into sleep – so you can start the same process at home, and ensure you tell the nursery how your child settles so they know what to do if they are upset
Ask the nursery about their crying policy – how long will they leave your baby to cry before calling you? Under what circumstances should this be adapted? Is that acceptable to you? Agree on a process and when you should be called to meet the needs of your child.
Inform the staff about your preferences for your child and note them in the Blossom Daily Diary, so the staff can be aware of any issues or preferences you have for the care of your child.
Remember the second week is harder than the first as children realize this is not a special circumstance but their new routine.
All the Blossom nurseries have CCTV so you can monitor your child’s settling in process and ensure you are happy with how they are behaving and settling in. This way you can make suggestions about your child’s needs to be relayed to the teacher to help your child cope. WE have found this a great way to help the children settle in. There is a great sense of Peace found in seeing your child playing happily before you leave for the day! We believe in getting to know our families and supporting you as much as possible through the transition, we are happy to check on them for you throughout the day and you can call at any time to see how they are doing.
On your first day it’s important to build the excitement, but keep your child calm. Talk in a cheery upbeat voice filled with excitement! Remind them on the drive/walk to nursery that they are starting nursery today and where they will be and who their teacher will be. Say things like “you’re going to have a great time with ms xxx, you will make friends and play” even if your child is a baby it’s good to talk to them about the changes to come, it eases their mind and yours; you wouldn’t believe what your baby can grasp and understand of what you are saying
Be sure to walk in with a big smile and look confident, your child will look to you for guidance if you look nervous and unsure they will feel that too. So even if you do feel nervous don’t let them see it.
Greet the teacher and tell them a little about your child’s habits and what they enjoy doing.
Alert the staff to any allergies or special requirements for your child.
Introduce your child to the teacher, give them a big cuddle and say goodbye. Leave walking confidently and purposefully away.
Leave any comforter with the teacher so your child has something familiar with them
Linger if your child cries for you. If you do they will think you’re not leaving and will cry harder when you do leave.
Leave them longer then 2-3 hours daily in the first week, it’s a big change for your little one and they need time to adjust and develop stamina to manage the new routines they are facing
Feel shy to call and check up on them or watch them on CCTV if this will help you to feel more confident about leaving your child the in care of the teachers.
Underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep – to ensure your child is well rested to manage the daily challenges of the weeks to come.
Some children take a week to settle and some are still anxious each morning a month into the term, but as soon as mommy leaves they are fine. We have seen children cry only when mommy drops them but they are fine if daddy drops them and vice versa. Remember to monitor the changes in your child at home to. Are they sick? Is this normal behavior for them? It’s important you discuss the situation with the nursery and work closely to settle the child. If you feel unsatisfied then speak to the manager about your child’s needs.
Sometimes despite our best intentions things go wrong and you may decide to take your child out of nursery. Before you do consider, has the nursery met your needs, if not speak to the manager about your concern and find out what they have done to support your child. Don’t rush to take your child out if unless you find they are not meeting your needs or your child’s!
On the odd occasion parents feel their children are not settled but when the situation is discussed with the teachers we find they are happy and enjoying the day. Keep communications open with the teacher and manager, your child’s teacher will be able to tell you what activities your child enjoys. At Blossom we post pictures weekly of the children completing different activities these will show you that your child is actively engaged and enjoying themselves!
Each child is unique and we aim to adapt them to their needs so their first experiences are positive and filled with fond memories. We build secure and stimulating spaces that impact learning and believe that with families as our partners we can ensure the right start for all of our children.