Starting nursery can come with a whole range of emotions for both you and your child. Will they like it, you wonder? Will they make friends? What if they miss you too much?
Worry not: chances are they’ll have a great time and it’ll be you with the separation anxiety! We understand how nerve wracking the transition to nursery can be, but fortunately there’s plenty you can do before, on, and after their first day of nursery to make things run smoothly. Read on for our tips on preparing your child (and yourself) for their first day of nursery.
Communication is key
Your child’s first day at nursery can bring a whole host of new experiences, and this can be a little daunting. Communication is key: let them know what to expect, and create a positive atmosphere around it all to foster a sense of excitement rather than nerves. Read books relating to nursery or watch TV shows, and explain to them what it will be like. Show your child pictures of their new nursery, and talk about their new teachers to nurture a sense of familiarity.
Ease them in
Heading to nursery means they’ll be around more children than they’re used to being around! Gradually increasing the amount of social interaction they have ahead of the big day is a great way to ease them into being around a larger number of people - especially if they’re an only child, and aren’t used to it. Whether it’s taking them to toddler groups, or increasing the number of play dates they have, helping them to get used to spending more time with others of their age is a great way to help them prepare.
Arrange some extra babysitting
If you are able to, and it’s an option for you, arrange for friends or family members to watch your child for a few hours on a regular basis leading up to their first day. This will not only help them to get used to being away from you a little more, but will also help them to get used to other people taking care of them.
Get to know the nursery
Ahead of your little one’s first day at nursery, take the opportunity to learn more about their nursery and the team who work there. Pass on any information you think will be useful (such as your child’s sleeping habits, or their favourite toys), to make sure the staff are ready to help your child settle in. Equally, it’s worth asking what you should do on their first day, too. Finding out how long you can stay after drop off, or what their procedures are if your child struggles to settle, could help to put your mind at ease. Plus, the staff will have seen plenty of children through the process - so they’ll be well placed to offer some experienced wisdom!
Get a good night’s sleep
A good night’s sleep can make all the difference, and while they may be excited, making sure your child is well rested ahead of their first day is a great idea. Take a look at our range of British made nursery furniture and bedding to help them feel cosy, comfy and safe.
Leave plenty of time
Nothing adds stress like rushing to arrive on time. Sure, it isn’t always easy with young children, but on their first morning we’d recommend leaving a little extra time and aiming to arrive early to nursery. You’ll both feel more relaxed, which will make the morning a little easier! And if you don’t make it early? Don’t worry - you’re doing an amazing job anyway.
Make a list of everything you’ll need for their big day, so that when it comes to it, you’re ready to go. From their favourite blanket and toy, to any medicine they may need, if you’ve got everything prepared, you’ll feel more relaxed on the day itself - and in turn, more importantly, your child probably will too!
Make leaving them seem as normal as possible
When you drop them off at nursery, forego an emotional parting in favour of a calm goodbye; and tell them you’ll be back from them later. Making the experience seem as normal and un-concerning as possible for your little one can help them to understand that it’s nothing to worry about. The more they see you worrying the more they will feel scared and concerned.
Keep calm and carry on
Chances are that you’ll also be feeling a little nervous about this upcoming change. Kids pick up on their parent’s moods, so stay calm and positive. And after their first day, don’t worry if there are some post nursery nerves or wobbles. It’s all totally natural. If you have any concerns, the nursery team will be happy to help put your mind at rest; and offer advice on how to make things easier for you both.So, don't panic about your child's first big day away from you. Remember to stay calm and positive, and in turn your little one should have a smooth transition into nursery life!