Preparation, preparation, preparation!

There are lots of things that we do to help to settle your child into nursery. What can you do to make this as smooth as possible?  Here are our three top tips to help to prepare and speed this vital process:

Preparing your child

There are so many things that we can do at nursery.  We will try them all to help settle your child as quickly and smoothly as we possibly can. There are two things though that we cannot do; breast feeding your child and we cannot co-sleep either!

We are huge supporters of breast feeding but if you let your child fall asleep ‘on the breast’ we can’t! Help to prepare your child for nursery in the weeks running up to starting by teaching your child a different way to self-sooth.

The NHS recommend that you do not share a bed with your baby.  If you do, the Lullaby Trust gives some advice.  The key point here is that your child can get themselves to sleep during the day without sleeping in the same bed with you.  We will spend time understanding your child’s daytime ‘sleep cues’, we have even undertaken training from The Sleep Charity to help support this.

If you can leave your child with a family member, friend, or creche at the gym for short period in the run up that’s great. It will help to prepare your child and quickly learn that you come back again.

Preparing yourself

This might mean

  • Putting a couple of meals in the freezer
  • Working out your new morning routine; your morning timings
  • Reflecting on how you feel to be starting at nursery / going back to work.
  • Some parents ‘get ahead’ with different tasks eg haircuts or refreshing your work wardrobe.

These all help to reduce the stress levels and will naturally benefit you and your child.

Preparing strategies for separation

Be prepared for your child to be upset; and you might be upset also.  This is a very different situation for both of you.  We understand and we are here to help.  It’s important to discuss and make a plan with your key person beforehand.

Communication is key.  Prepare during our home and previsits how you want to manage this with your key worker and so room team.  There are three ways to drop your child when they are upset and only the first two are successful!  One isn’t better than the other.  You know your child and you know what is most likely to work; follow your gut instinct.  Knowing your strategies beforehand and agreeing them so everyone knows their roles is vital.

  1. Come in a play with your child; and then staying for 5 -10 minutes after they stop crying. The benefit of this is that it will teach your child that nursery is a happy place.  Remember to relax your shoulders and keep smiling; your baby is picking up their cues from you.
  2. Drop and go; the benefit of this strategy is that your child will be clearer that this is the place where mummy / daddy leave me and where I have fun with other people. Again, remember to take a breath, relax your shoulders and keep smiling; your baby is picking up their cues from you.  This needs to be done quickly yet calmly.  Quickly and with confidence.

There is no right or wrong way, and of course, if you or your key person think that these could be changed then of course; communication is key!  Whilst tempting, and natural even, the third way is not successful.  This is where you stay at the threshold of the room and say that you are leaving but don’t.  This can then become a cycle and is confusing and distressing for everyone involved.  This can be even more tricky, as there is then rarely a natural a cue to leave.

We understand that this can be stressful and we are here to help.  Please do talk to your room team about this or any other concerns that you might have.