Most pre-school children, under the age of five years old, will attend nursery or playgroup. Whilst some children take to it automatically, others aren’t so keen to stay. Here are some useful tips on how you can help your children get used to nursery and help them settle in happily.
The first step in helping your children get used to nursery is finding the right nursery for them to attend. Depending on where you live (country, town or city) and how far you can realistically travel, there may or may not be a choice of various different nurseries. Where there’s a considerable choice, it’s definitely worth carefully sussing them all out before you decide on one, as nurseries can vary in what they offer.
Personal recommendations from friends, family or the parents of other young children are always good to hear, as the chances are they’ll have recent experiences, but it’s also important to gain your own impressions too. So arrange to visit the nurseries, have a tour of what’s on offer and see some sessions in action.
Talking About Nursery
Once you’ve decided on a relevant nursery and booked your child in, it’s time to get them used to the idea of going. Depending on the age of your child and whether they’re already used to spending time with other people, the chances are they’ll acclimatise well to being at nursery.
Slightly older children who’ve not attended nursery or other playgroups before might not be quite so keen on the idea, but you can help aid the situation by talking about what’s involved before they attend. There are some children’s picture books, for example, that feature stories of children going to nurseries and these can be good to read to get your child used to the idea.
Many nurseries are willing to offer short sample sessions for children who will be attending on a part or full time basis. This is a great way of introducing the nursery environment to your child, letting them meet the people who’ll be caring for him and acclimatise him to the nursery way of life.
It’s definitely worth finding out in advance whether your nursery offers such a service and making the effort to attend. A child may well be happier to subsequently stay in an environment that is at least slightly familiar, than one where he’s never been before.
Going to Nursery for the First Time
When it comes to going to nursery for the first time, you may be expected to drop of your child, say your goodbyes and leave. It can be harder for parents to do this than the children themselves! Some nurseries may allow you to stay for a while, but at others they run under the view that the longer you stay, the harder it will be for your child when you leave. So do be guided by the views of the nursery in question.
Hopefully your child will settle in well to his time at nursery, especially when there are plenty of activities there for him to take part in. If you do have any problems with him settling in, you could always go back to the method of finding relevant books with characters who overcome their negatively of nursery. Reading them to your child and showing him how other children have overcome their fear or hate can sometimes help.
In most cases, children settle in to the nursery routine well. However, if you experience long-term difficulties, for example a child continuously not want to go, then always chat to one of the nursery staff to see if they’ve noticed anything that could shed light on the issue. Sometimes it’s a tiny issue that can be easily fixed, or a misunderstanding that your child has. In the worst case scenario, they may just not get on with some of the staff, and you may find yourself needing to think about changing to a different nursery entirely.