Settling Your Child into a Nursery
When you first visit a nursery to look around it is best to not take your child as visiting several nurseries could be unsettling for them and it is often more difficult to ask lots of questions and concentrate while you have your child with you.
Make sure when you have chosen the nursery you want that you then take your child for a visit as it is important to see if your child likes the nursery before you book a place for him/her.
Ask the nursery what their policy on settling children in is. This could be a couple of visits of an hour or so with/without a parent present or it may be a full session with a parent there. It is also a good idea to ask if your child is able to bring a comforter for at least the first few sessions to help them feel more secure.
When you take your child to nursery for the first time it is important to find a member of staff or their key worker to chat to your child and try to involve them in play before you try to leave.
When you decide to leave don’t sneak off as your child will get more distressed if they turn around and you have disappeared.
Even though it might distress them it is always best to say goodbye, maybe say you are going to do some errand that your child knows that you often do like shopping as your child knows you always come back from this. A good way to put it is “mummy has to do the shopping and will be back to pick you up soon”.
Once you have said this then you need to go. Make sure there is a member of staff with your child to calm them if they get distressed. If your child cries do not go back again as this just confuses the child as they think you will stay, even if they calm down they will only cry again the next time you try to leave.
If your child cries a staff member will try to distract them by involving in play. Most children cry only for a short while after a parent leaves and are easily distracted. The period of distress usually gets less each time they attend until they stop altogether.
For continuity when starting your child at a nursery they should attend at least two sessions a week and it is not a good idea to start your child just before a break in their attendance like a family holiday or the Christmas break as this will unsettle your child.