Your toddlers big day is here, starting nursery is a big milestone for both your child and you as a parent. Your little one struggling to settle in? Worry no more! Here are some tips for you to settle your toddler into their new environment with ease and make you and them feel comfortable with the exciting new experience.
Plant a seed together in a pot, then take it into nursery. Every day, ask them how their seed is doing. Your little one will love checking on its progress, watering it and reporting back to you at pick-up time. And as it grown roots, so will they.
1) Grow roots
Dig out an old toy – and it needs to be something they haven't played with for ages – and ask your little one to take it to nursery. Explain that they need to make sure it has lots of fun and makes loads of new friends. They be more willing to tell you all about its adventures than their own, and it’ll encourage shy tots to interact.
2) Rehome a toy
Use the tune of ‘Wheels on the Bus’ to familiarize them with their new nursery routine: ‘Emily at nursery… hangs up her coat/waves bye-bye/eats her fruit/has a nap… all day long!’ Sing it in the car on the way and, once they got the hang of it, pretend you can’t remember the next verse to prompt them to tell you.
3) Sing the routine
Paint pictures together of your youngster’s key worker, staff members and other children. Start by drawing a simple outline of a face, then ask your tot who this is going to be, and write on a name. Then ask your tot what colour his or her hair and eyes are, and if they have long or short hair – and challenge your tot to find out when they are at nursery next time. Make this into a game that lasts for at least a month, to help them learn everyone’s names.
4) Put faces to names
When you say goodbye, blow your little one a kiss and get them to catch it and pop it in their pocket. Tell your tot to keep it safe until you pick your tot up, when they need to give it back to you.
5) Give her a kiss to keep
On the way to nursery, joke about what’s going to happen today and offer increasingly silly suggestions. ‘So, what will you be having at snack time today? Coffee? Wiggly worms? Mud pies?’ They be super-keen to tell you that it’s milk and fruit, silly mum!
6) Ask daft questions
Devise a special goodbye ritual that’s unique to the two of you. It could be a tickly hug or a move that incorporates their favourite animal – try saying ‘Bye bye bunny!’ as you make bunny ears with your hands and do a little hop together.
7) Make a special goodbye
Even though your little one is getting bigger now, buy a book about starting nursery that’s aimed at smaller tots. They will feel extra-safe snuggled in your lap, lifting the flaps and pointing at the pictures just like they did when they were younger.
8) Rewind storytime
M&B loves Spot Loves Nursery (£4.99, Amazon).
The next time you see a squirrel, or a rabbit or a robin, tell your tot on his way to their nursery. Let your inner Beatrix Potter run wild as you describe all the fun things they will be doing – like tree jumping, leaf painting, acorn planting, branch swinging, snacking on nuts and playing with all their bushy-tailed buddies.
9) Tell animal tales
10) Always together
If your toddler is feeling unsure about being away from you, draw a teen-tiny heart on the palms of both your hands before you leave for nursery. Tell them that, if they misses you, all your little one has to do is open their hand and remember that mummy has the same heart in exactly the same place, so you’re always together and connected. And you can do the same!
Written by Claire Tapley
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