7 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Nursery

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Starting nursery can be such a shock to the system - For both the parents and the child. Leaving your child somewhere new can be such a daunting experience meaning it’s important to make the transition as smooth as possible and get it right from the beginning.

My daughter started nursery at the beginning of the year, shortly after her third birthday. For us it was quite a strange time because she was starting nursery, we’d just moved into a new house and we’d just welcomed our second baby. Things were quite disruptive for our eldest. We knew it was going to be a tough time for her which is why my husband and I made a conscious decision to actively prepare her for nursery.

Here are seven tips we used in preparing our daughter for nursery.

Choose a nursery which feels right.

This might sound like I’m quoting the absolute obvious, but you need to find a nursery which feels good & one that feels right. As with anything I’m sure when you find the right one, you’ll just know.

Many factors go into creating that right feeling. Things such as the staff members, the ambience, even the qualifications. The list goes on & I’m sure my list will probably be different to your list. Just because one person says XYZ is a good nursery, you really need to check it out for yourself and make sure that it’s the right one for you.

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Show them the nursery as much as possible.

Starting nursery can be just as much of a shock to the child’s system as it can be to the parents. Showing them the nursery as much as possible before starting will hopefully make the transition feel a bit less alien to them. You could walk them to the gates or perhaps pass the nursery on your way to doing something else making sure you tell your child ‘that’s your new nursery’.

Create a similar routine at home.

It might be worth asking your new nursery what your child’s day will look like when they join. It doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all, but if you can replicate any of their nursery routines at home it will make the move so much easier for your child.

Read books about nursery.

Books are a really simple yet really effective way of introducing new scenarios to children. There are a great number of fabulous books out there which will help ease the pressure of starting nursery for your child. They’ll detail exactly what your child can expect making the transition much more comfortable for them.

Be positive about their new beginning.

Children are like sponges and without realising your anxiety about them starting nursery may be rubbing off on them. Where possible try and harbour your worries and talk to them in a positive way about their new beginning. You’ll probably end up getting excited about it too. Think about all the fun things your child will get to do and all the new things they’ll get to learn.

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Encourage your child to spend time with others.

For many children (especially after covid & numerous lockdowns) nursery will be the first time they’ve interacted with such a large number of people. It may be useful taking your child to playgroups or even enquiring if your new nursery do parent & toddler sessions where they’ll be able to get to know their new school friends beforehand.

Embrace your time together.

It’s true that the transition of your child starting nursery can be just as difficult for the parent as it is for the child. Some may say more so. So spend the next few weeks before your child starts nursery really indulging and embracing quality time together.

Our transition into nursery has been a relatively smooth one. We've had a few hiccups along the way, as happens with the majority of parenting tasks, but overall we have one very happy little girl who loves going to her new nursery. She's made lots of new friends, as have I surprisingly enough. My daughter is a buzz of excitement when she comes out & she can't wait to tell us all about her day, in particular, what type of snack she's had... Because that's the best thing about nursery for her!

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