How to Prepare Your Child for Nursery & New Environments
With nurseries opening their doors to their new students this September, we wanted to offer some first-hand advice on how to make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your little ones. In the following article, we will give you our top tips for settling them in swiftly.
Visit the Nursery Setting
Feel free to visit the early years setting as often as you can before the actual start date. This could mean booking tours, talking to teachers, taking a look around the school grounds or even just making the journey to nursery or school and talking to your child about it.
Familiarising them with the New Environment
Their repeated introduction to the nursery environment will familiarise your child with the sights and landmarks on the way to school, the nursery entrance, gardens, play areas and teachers. It is good for them to recognise as many friendly faces there as possible so in addition to meeting their teachers, allow the children to play before leaving.
Not only will they make friends, but they will associate the nursery as a place of fun and enjoyment; positive emotions which make your child receptive to learning.
Photographs as Familiarity Aids
Taking photographs of your child in the setting is advised, as children tend to be more comfortable with visual information rather than just verbal. Taking a photograph of your child with their new teacher is even better, as they can become accustomed to their face and you can both talk about what she is going to help your child to learn.
Knowing What to Expect
The most important point is that your child needs to know what to expect. Getting familiar with the sights and sounds of the setting helps tremendously, as does meeting teachers and peers. The aim is to make your child feel as comfortable as possible when entering this new environment.
A New Structure & Routine
The structure of their day will also be different, and it can be helpful to talk through what to expect. The more you tell them about their nursery, the better they will feel and the less likely they are to become shocked or fearful.
The First Day
Your child will most likely cry when you leave them – if not in the first few days, then possibly later as the novelty wears off. This is very normal, but it still needs to be monitored closely to ensure it isn’t pure distress. In the nursery, we know that children will settle in easily once the child begins to engage with the items or individuals within the classroom, even if only for a short period.
To promote a calm introduction to “nursery”, we recommend informing your child about what to expect, however, it is best to refrain from telling them such future events going to be ‘exciting’ or similar, as expectation generally leads to disappointment. Your child will enjoy themselves, and they will find it exciting, but this may not happen initially. The first feelings they will experience will be of uncertainty in an unfamiliar new setting and so we prefer them to be allowed to overcome these emotions on their own, and to come to the conclusion by themselves that nursery is, indeed, exciting!
Back at Home
Save big events, such as toilet training, changing from cot to bed, or removing their bottle or dummy, for a time when everything is stable at home. Allow your child to gradually adjust to their new school routine before making any big changes like these.
Sometimes parents may notice their children initially regress at home following their nursery start date, however, it is important to understand that the child has many new experiences to integrate and that with a little extra special time and attention from their parents, you can both reassure your child and help the regression to subside and give way to a more developed and fulfilled child.
We wish you the best of luck with starting your little one at nursery, and if you have any questions now or in the future, please feel free to contact us at Little Land Nursery on 04 394 4471.