The transition to nursery or pre-school is a huge milestone and exciting yet nervous time for all of you. Adjusting to new environments, teachers and routines can be daunting, so we’ve put together some tips and advice to help reduce the impact and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone:
Visit the school together first to give them the opportunity to familiarise themselves and see other children having fun.
Read books together about starting school. Try, My First Day at Nursery School, by Becky Edwards Or Maisie goes to Nursery, by Lucy Cousins, both available at amazon.co.uk
Explain what will happen through the day.
Point out friends and family members who have also started school.
Tell them about the fun activities you know they’ll enjoy like painting or story. time.
Try to establish a regular routine before school and stick to it all the time. Children thrive on routine – there’s no confusion, and they know exactly where they stand.
Don’t linger: Do not stay if your child becomes distressed. Nine times out of 10, a child will stop crying after five or 10 minutes. Mum looking anxious only encourages fresh tears. If you are worried ring the nursery after 20 minutes for reassurance that your child has settled. Never feel bad about asking for this – your child is the most important person in your life, and no professional nursery worker ever minds reassuring a worried mum.
Leave something behind: Bring a scarf or a familiar object that your child knows belongs to you. A lot of toddler anxiety is based around Mummy returning, but by leaving a reassuring article, you are reinforcing the fact that you are coming back.
Make sure they know exactly who is going to collect them and don’t be late.
A warm welcome home is essential. Give him some undivided attention – sit down together and share a snack and chat about the day, without quizzing too much.
Reward with stickers : Young children love rewards and stickers can be one of the best ways to encourage a toddler. If they have had a good day give them a sticker and start a chart. If she collects five stars, go and buy her a small treat or do something you know she enjoys.