Starting nursery is a big deal but there’s lots you can do to prepare your tot for her big day
Most nursery staff will tell you it’s parents who are most anxious about their child settling it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a major milestone for a toddler. In the months before she starts, try a few of the following.
Boost her social confidence
Some children will find socialising easier than others. If you can introduce her to the idea of sharing and taking turns before she starts nursery, the experience will be less daunting. Don’t expect too much – young toddlers usually play alongside rather than with each other until they’re over three.
Young toddlers usually play alongside rather than with each other until they’re over three
Spend time away from her
If you’ve barely spent time away from your child, it’s a good idea to get her used to being looked after by other people.
‘Ask a close friend to stay with her for half an hour while you pop out, or take her to stay with granny for an hour while you go shopping,’ suggests psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley. This gradually introduces the idea that when Mummy and Daddy go, they do come back.
Visit the nursery together
It’s a good idea to visit a nursery for the first time without your child but, once you’ve decided you like it and you’re going to send her there, take her there and let her interact with the surroundings and meet the carers.
Books are a great way to help your child understand what is to be expected from her new environment. Try Peppa Pig: George’s First Day At Playgroup (£4.99, Walker Books) or Maisy Goes To Nursery (£4.99, Walker Books).
Talk about it
Never underestimate the importance of talking to your tot, and explaining what’s happening, particularly in the days leading up to the start of the settling in process.
'Even very young children understand much more than you think if you clearly explain what’s going to happen,’ says early childhood specialist Dr Eva Lloyd.