Preparing to send your child off to nursery for the very first time can be daunting. Many parents worry about what they need to do to prepare for the first day and how their child will adapt to a new environment.
Jac MacLean, centre manager at Durrington Sure Start Children and Family Centre for West Sussex County Council has these top tips on how to make the transition from home to nursery go as smoothly as possible:
1. Find out more
It's really important to visit the nursery setting with your child in advance of their first day to get to know the staff and the surroundings. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I always advise parents to come along with a list of questions so they don't forget when they arrive. If possible, try and visit the session your child will be attending in advance so you know what happens on an average day.
2. Get to know the staff
Building relationships with the staff is key, it will help you feel more involved and confident that your child will be happy and well looked after. Often, nurseries assign each child with a designated key person, so arrange to have a chat with them about how they will handle the settling in period and how they will keep you involved in your child's progress.
3. Talk about it
Speak to your child about how exciting it will be to start nursery and what it might be like. Sharing thoughts and stories of your own experience will help familiarise them with the idea of going, and make the first day seem less daunting. This is also the ideal time to start encouraging your child to be more independent by getting themselves dressed or going to the toilet unaided. Little steps like this can make a big difference.
4. Create a new routine
Don't worry if you're concerned about feeling at a loss once your child starts nursery. Plan a routine for yourself so you don't sit around worrying. Schedule in a catch up with a friend or enjoy some 'me time'. If you are thinking about returning to work, education or training and are looking for support with this, pop into your local Sure Start Children's Centre for advice and information.
To find out more about Sure Start Children's Centres visit the Sure Start website or call 0800 2 346 346.