Dropping our children off for the first day of nursery can be rather challenging for both parties. We mostly have mixed feelings between being very emotional about leaving our children in a new place alone for the first time, and being so excited for having a few extra hours a day for ourselves, or happily going back to work.
How we leave our children on that day however has a crucial effect on their relationship to us parents now, and to the world later on. The early relationship between parents and their children (especially mothers) has a strong influence on how they will grow up and see the world when they’re older. When we (parents/ mothers) understand our children’s development (physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially), and immediately respond to each of those needs, alongside with giving them a safe space to explore, and are keen on building a trustworthy relationship with them; we will have children who will grow up to be confident, independent, who know their self-worth, who are not afraid to ask, learn and take chances.
What does all of this have to do with easing my child into nursery?
You see, to smoothly ease our children into nursery, it needs to be built on trust. Part of keeping that trust with dropping them off on the first day and preventing them from being left feeling terrified, is to explain to them how the day will go; that we will leave him/her to play in this very nice place with those very nice people for half an hour (that will increase everyday), and that we’ll be back to pick them up shortly. Most children will cry in protest, not wanting to leave their us- which is completely normal. So, would we rather sneak out leaving them feeling abandoned and terrified, or would we rather leave him/her cry knowing and trusting that you’ll be back to pick them up?
Another thing we can do easing our children into nursery, is to always prepare them. We can take them a few times to explore before they actually start attending. If they’re old enough, engage them in buying a new bag and flask for nursery, for instance. We can also talk to them about how much fun they’re going to have there, the toys they’re going to play with, and the new friends they’re going to make.
Moreover, we need to send out the right signals. What I mean by that is that we do not need to look torn apart ourselves leaving them there, after having told them what a lovely place it is. Children are very smart; they can interpret signals and vibes more than they do with words.
Last but not least, we need to be consistent and try to always be on time picking them up. And always engage them in a fun activity when we pick them up, especially in the first week.
What we’ve just talked about shall strengthen the trust between our children and us (and thus the world), will smoothly ease them into nursery, and we will both love the new routine in no time.
Await our next blog post on how to smoothly deal with a toddler’s tantrum.
Have a nice week mommies and daddies!