Watching your two-year old running around, curious, getting into everything, you’re probably asking yourself the following question: 'where did all the time go?'. How can your son or daughter already be old enough for their first day of nursery? You might not feel they’re ready yet. And how about you – are you ready for them to start their nursery education? Going to nursery is a big step for both children and parents. Depending on your family situation, this could represent the first time you’ve ever really spent any time apart. It will be a big change in both you and your child’s life, so you’ll want to make sure – as a family – that you’re prepared. Here is some helpful advice for you and your family as you prepare for nursery time.
Nursery Admissions: Where to Start and What to Consider
If you’re just beginning to research nursery admissions, you may find that others may have a head start. But don’t get too down if you don’t get a spot at your first choice nursery. Although preschool really does lay the foundation for your child’s future education, it should be all about ensuring your child has a positive first experience, rather than pushing them too hard early on. Consider the distance between your home and the pre-school.
If you’re a working Mum, it may be more convenient to have your child at a nursery close to your work place. Also check to see what the nursery has in terms of outdoor space and lighting – your child will be healthier and happier if they get out in the fresh air and daylight regularly and have a good run around. You’ll discover one of the best things about nursery from a Mum’s perspective is that it’s good for your social life, as well as your child’s! The best way to get school or nursery admissions advice and help is by talking to friends and neighbours – they might even have some good tips for making the process easier all round.
And once nursery is part of your daily routine, meeting other mums at drop-off and pick-up will be too. Before long, you’ll be sharing the school run, arranging times for your kids to play together, and developing a solid network of friends for support.
Preparing Your Toddler for Nursery Education
Spending a long time away from Mummy can be scary for kids if they don’t know what it’s going to involve. Begin to talk to your child about nursery sometime before it starts. Encourage your son or daughter to get excited at the idea of having lots of new friends and toys to play with. Read books together like I am Too Absolutely Small for Nursery or Maisy Goes to Nursery – these will be good conversation starters for you and your child.
You might also want to practice leaving your little one with friends or family for short periods of time. If you don’t have family nearby, perhaps arrange a babysitting exchange with a neighbour that you trust, or invite other mothers with children the same age as yours over for tea. Since starting preschool is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, let your child pick out a special outfit for the big day, and a special bag to keep all their things in.
Also, think about putting together a little photo album or making a special small book with pictures of the family for your child – they can keep this book in their bag to look at when things feel tough or if they feel lonely or scared. When the big day arrives, don’t forget to take photos for your family album, too!
Getting into a Nursery Routine
The first few weeks will inevitably be hard. Even those children who seem to take easily to nursery school on day one are likely to have a few wobbles later, as they realise nursery is here to stay. Learning to separate from parents, share with others, take turns, and resolve conflicts is difficult. Be prepared for your child to display behaviour that indicates they’re upset or worried, like waking up at night or generally being clingy.
Nap times can also become problematic: many children are so excited by the prospect of playing with others that they find it hard to settle down. The best response from your side is lots of love and affection. After all, you may feel a little sad, too - all mums worry if their kids are happy at nursery!
Try to project an attitude of confidence, though, and your child will soon start to feel the same way. If possible, arrange things so that you can spend more quality time together once they get home from nursery.
Surf Excel can help you save time and effort when doing laundry – you can trust us to make sure all your clothes and your little one’s school uniforms are fresh and clean, so you will have more time to spend with your family!
As your child gets older and more independent, teach them a morning routine. You can help them create a picture chart with all the basic actions they need to do each morning – like brushing teeth, putting on shoes, and tidying up toys.