10 Ways to Prepare your Child for Starting Nursery in 2023
Starting nursery is an exciting milestone for both children and parents alike. It marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with learning, growth, and independence.
However, preparing your child for this transition can be a bit overwhelming. To help ease the process and ensure a smooth start, we've compiled a list of top tips for getting ready to start nursery. Let's explore these tips in detail.
1. Visit the Nursery in Advance:
Familiariing your child with their new environment is crucial. Take the opportunity to visit the nursery beforehand, allowing your child to explore the setting, meet the staff, and interact with other children. This can alleviate any anxiety and create a sense of comfort and familiarity on their first day.
2. Establish a Routine
Toddlers thrive on routine. So, start implementing a daily routine that aligns with the nursery schedule a few weeks before the start date. Establish consistent meal times, nap times, and bedtimes to help your child adapt to the structure they will experience at nursery. This routine will provide them with a sense of security and familiarity, helping them to have a head start.
3. Encourage Independence
Nursery is a place where children learn to become more independent. You can support this by encouraging your child to do simple tasks on their own, such as dressing themselves, using the toilet, and tidying up their toys. At mealtimes, encourage them to be involved in the prepping, or ask them which kids' plate they want (most likely their Munchy Play!). Building these skills will boost their confidence and prepare them for the nursery environment.
4. Develop Social Skills
Help your child develop essential social skills by arranging playdates or attending local toddler groups. Encourage sharing, taking turns, and engaging in conversations with other children. Building these social skills will make it easier for your child to make friends and interact with peers at nursery. But don't worry if you don't get to do this, it's just an added bonus.
5. Talk about Nursery Positively
Create positive associations with nursery by talking about it in an enthusiastic and reassuring manner. Discuss the fun activities, new friends, and exciting learning opportunities your child will experience. By conveying your own excitement, you can help alleviate any anxiety your child may have.
6. Practice Separation
Even the happiest most confident children can experience parental separation. Gradually introduce short periods of separation from your child in the weeks leading up to nursery. Start with leaving them with a trusted caregiver or family member for short durations and gradually increase the time apart. This practice will help your child become more comfortable with the idea of being away from you. However, don't be concerned if your child still cries at drop off, this is perfectly normal when starting in a new environment.
7. Label Belongings
To prevent any mix-ups or lost items, label all your child's belongings with their name. From clothing to lunch boxes and backpacks, labeling will ensure that everything returns home safely. This simple step can save time and stress in the long run.
8. Prepare a Comfort Object
If your child has a favorite toy or comfort object, allow them to bring it along to nursery. Having something familiar from home can provide them with a sense of security and reassurance during the initial days of adjustment.
9. Good Communication with Nursery Staff
Establish an open line of communication with the nursery staff. Share any important information about your child, such as allergies, medical conditions, or specific preferences. Regularly check in with the staff to stay updated on your child's progress and address any concerns promptly, especially with your key worker.
10. Stay Positive (and Patient)
Starting nursery is a significant change for both you and your child. It's essential to stay positive and patient throughout the transition period. Understand that there may be initial tears or resistance, but with time and consistent support, your child will settle into their new routine and thrive in the nursery environment.
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