Entering a new environment can be frightening for anyone, including our toddlers and preschoolers. Below are ten tips I share with my parents when preparing for a new school year.
Visit your new nursery and request an orientation day (or more) before your child’s actual start date.
Helping them to adjust to the new setting while you are there may help with some of the fears that come with entering an unknown environment with new faces. I am not saying that there will not be some tears during the first days, but it will definitely help your child if they had some form of familiarity with the setting.
Develop a routine at least two weeks prior to starting.
Children thrive on being in control and knowing what comes next. If you start developing routines (bedtime, breakfast, preparing to leave the house) it will help them in knowing and being comfortable about what their day will look like. The drop off routine will probably be the most important one of all. Once you say goodbye, leave without further delay and whatever you do…DO NOT sneak off, as this will only add to their anxiety.
Keep a positive mindset and try not to express your fears or concerns around your child.
If parents are uneasy about this transition your little ones will feed off of your emotions too.
Make sure you are aware of the potty-training policy.
If your child being potty trained is not a requirement for nursery, don’t stress about it and don’t compare your child to others. Each child is unique, and they will get it when it is their time to be trained. Putting pressure on them because you think they should be ready or because another child the same age is, will only make this process long, frustrating for all, and messy. Children learn best through play. What seems like meaningless play will actually be the best foundation for your child. Form relationships with your teachers and don’t be afraid to ask questions. When teachers are planning and preparing lessons, they will take every child’s needs and learning styles into perspective. Each child learns differently.
Children learn best through play.
What seems like meaningless play will actually be the best foundation for your child. Form relationships with your teachers and don’t be afraid to ask questions. When teachers are planning and preparing lessons, they will take every child’s needs and learning styles into perspective. Each child learns differently.
Do not send food to nursery that your child has not tried at home.
Nursery is not the place or the time to do this. Not only does it provide unwanted stress on the child but also a defiant child will end up not having enough to eat throughout the day if they refuse. This can lead to behavioural issues or irritability.
Expect your child’s immune system to be challenged.
If it is your child’s first time going to a nursery setting, expect their immune system to be challenged by all types of germs. Help them develop a strong resistance by feeding them a nourishing diet (limit sugary foods), practice good hygiene habits at home, and get them in bed early to ensure they get plenty of rest.
Allow your child some independence at home by having them dress and feed themselves.
They love showing off when they are successful at it and this will only help when they are away from you. Encourage their independence with lots of praise. Of course, this may mean getting up a little earlier in the morning to avoid the rush of stepping in to get things done in the interest of time.
Social readiness is an important skill.
Learning how to get along with others, make new friends, interact with their teachers will be one of the first skills that will be put in place. Make arrangements for play dates with some of the children who will be attending the same nursery. This will help them when they see familiar friendly faces.
Trust the process and allow the nursery you chose time to find outwhat works best for your child.
Some children can do great from the very beginning with full days while others need an adjusted schedule in the beginning. Keep in communication with your child’s teacher and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Elicia Hollis is the owner of Sweet Pea Nursery which caters to childrenbetween the ages of two and four years. She operates the nursery on the belief that children learn through creative and purposeful play. BPM