For months on end, my daughter could not stop talking about how much she wanted to go to nursery, that is…until she actually went to one and promptly decided she hated it and didn’t want to go to nursery at all. Of course, a toddler’s expectations of nursery are probably a far cry from reality, namely for the reason they only have their wild imaginations to go on.
A quick scour of forums sees endless numbers of mums angsting over what to do when they child cries in desperation as they leave them at nursery, or worse still, all through out the day when you are gone. Not exactly our finest moments as parents but there are things that you can do, which I’ve found, help a long way to helping your little one feel more comfortable about settling into this new and let’s face it, very overwhelming experience.
1. Talk about it….a lot!
A big part of the unease of settling into nursery is that it is just so different to life as they knew it before, and a far cry from their expectations. Make a point about talking about nursery every day, what happens there, drawing similarities in activities they do there and elsewhere, the people that work there, any other children you might have met.
Try to look up photos on the nursery’s websites if they have one and talk about all the things the children are doing there, whether your child has enjoyed that activity at nursery. Ask others in your family to talk about nursery with your child in a non-pressurising way. The key here is to make it all sound part of normal life, and make it relatable to your little one once they have left the nursery environment.
To support this, you can look up videos of other children going to nursery and reading the numerous books out there about children going to nursery…
2. Make a point to pass by the nursery
As part of trying to make nursery seem like an every day part of life, try and weave it into your weekly routine for the days when your child is not there. If you have errands to run, try making a detour to pass by the nursery, giving it a little wave, and making chit chat about what might be happening in the nursery at that point in time.
3. Focus on something good
This for me was what really turned things around for us with the nursery hating. I knew my daughter did French every morning and had seemed to pick up a little bit, so instead of making nursery about “not leaving me”, I made it all about doing French.
I am lucky enough to speak a little French, and started counting in French with her at home, putting on French songs, and watching French nursery rhymes with her. Nursery then became all about doing something positive that she enjoyed rather than being something to be upset over. It worked a treat! And of course, this strategy can be transferred to pretty much anything.
4. Give plenty of notice
This relates to the point about talking, but I find that prepping little ones for what to come and when goes a long way. Don’t just spring it on them that morning that it’s nursery day…(how scary is that!), but let them know in a non pressurizing way how many sleeps it is to nursery, or that particular days of the week are nursery days and that the day is tomorrow, for example. The more opportunity you allow them to prepare for the experience, and know that it is coming, the better.
5. Have patience
I have to admit, there are time when I have wondered whether I should pull my girl out of nursery. But what would be the point? We would have to start all over again at some stage, and there’s no guarantee she would be any more ready for it them. At the end of the day, most children of nursery age, given the choice, and quite likely want to spend time with mummy over going to nursery – I still find this amazing given how independent my little one is and just think that one day, it will morph into trying to bunk off school with a sore throat!
Did you little one hate going to nursery? What strategies did you try to turn that around? Or are you blessed with a sproglet who just loves going to nursery? Do leave a comment and share your own experience..
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