Leaving your little one in childcare for the first time will most likely be stressful. But ensuring you prepare for the big day will help you and your child feel a bit more relaxed and reassured.
So here are our top tips for getting ready to start nursery! Let’s start off with the big first day itself…
Before your little one starts, you might feel nervous about how they’ll settle in or about how you’ll feel when you leave them for the first time.
But at the same time, you’re probably looking forward to them getting their first experience in independence as well as getting some extra time to yourself - whether that’s to work, study or get through a to-do list.
So here are some things to do before the first day to ensure you and your little one feel a bit more prepared.
1. Point out the nursery when you walk past so that your little one becomes used to the location.
2. Talk about it with your child, the more they know about what’s going to happen the less anxious they will feel about it.
3. Get really excited about it. Children pick up on your emotions much easier than you may realise so if you seem excited, they will too!
4. Speak to your nursery manager and ask questions. Don’t be scared or anxious to ask as many questions as you need to help put your mind at ease.
5. Get your child used to being away from you. If you’re in the position to do so, leading up to the nursery start date leave your little one with someone familiar (like a grandparent) for an hour or so. This will get them used to the idea of you leaving but will at the same time reassure them that you will come back.
The first drop off
The scary moment is here – the first drop-off. And it’s a big deal, especially if you haven’t spent much time away from your little one before.
You may be feeling really nervous but don’t worry, it does get easier over time.
Here are some tips to help:
1. Use the settling-in days
Most nurseries (including ours) offer these leading up to your start date to help introduce your child to the new environment slowly. Chat with the nursery manager to help you determine how many hours will be best for you.
2. Keep smiling
As mentioned above, children can pick up on emotions fairly easily so be sure to look happy (even if you’re feeling nervous) to help put them at ease.
3. Let them know what’s going to happen
On the morning of the first, or even before, chat to your little one about all the fun things they will do that day. Reassure them by letting them know what you’ll be doing during this time and that you will pick them up at the end of the day.
4. Play a game on the way there
Simple games like I-Spy can distract your child and put them in a good mood, especially if you sense they’re feeling clingy or nervous.
5. Allow plenty of time to get ready
Being rushed is a stressful experience on any day, so especially on the first day be sure to get up early if you need to and take as much time as you need to get ready and head out.
6. Keep the drop-off time short
Give your little one a hug and a kiss, tell them what time you’ll be back and say bye-bye. Keep it short even if your little one is having a hard time with this, staying will only make them feel clingier and more upset.
Next, check out our guide to the nursery curriculum!