Starting at nursery is a significant milestone for both children and parents. While it’s an exciting step towards early education and social development, it can also bring about feelings of separation anxiety in young children. In this blog, we’ll explore practical strategies for helping your child overcome separation anxiety at nursery so they are able to transition smoothly into their new environment.
Foster a Positive Outlook
Before the first day, talk about the nursery in an upbeat and positive manner. Highlight the fun activities, new friends, and exciting things they’ll get to do. Get excited for them, and show them how happy you look when your child heads through the nursery school doors.
Arrange short visits or playdates at the nursery prior to the official start date. This helps familiarise your child with the environment and the caregivers. This is something that this nursery in Fulham introduced to make nursery life a lot more comfortable for young children in their first few weeks.
Establish a Routine
Create a consistent morning routine that includes familiar activities like breakfast, getting dressed and a special goodbye ritual. Predictability provides comfort.
Build Trust with Caregivers
Take time to get to know the nursery staff and build a trusting relationship. When your child sees you interacting positively with the caregivers, it helps establish a sense of security.
Practice Separation at Home
Encourage short periods of independent play or activities in a separate room at home. Gradually increasing the time apart can help your child adjust to being away from you.
Bring Familiar Comfort Items
Allow your child to bring a comforting object from home, like a favourite stuffed animal or blanket. This transitional object can provide a source of security.
Acknowledge Feelings and Provide Reassurance
Validate your child’s feelings of anxiety and let them know it’s normal to feel this way. Reassure them that you’ll be back to pick them up.
Set Realistic Expectations
Understand that it’s natural for your child to take time to adjust to this new environment. Be patient and avoid rushing the process.
Engage in Open Communication
Encourage your child to talk about their experiences at nursery. Ask about their day, what activities they enjoyed, and who they interacted with.
Create a Transition Object
Consider making a small photo album with pictures of family members. Your child can look through it when they miss you, providing comfort and a sense of connection.
Stay Calm and Positive
Project a calm and positive demeanour when saying goodbye. Your child will pick up on your emotions, so showing confidence and reassurance is crucial.
Celebrate Small Achievements
Praise your child for their bravery and efforts in adjusting to nursery school life. Celebrate each milestone, no matter how small, to build their confidence.
Helping your child overcome separation anxiety at nursery requires patience, understanding, and consistent support. By employing these strategies, you can create a nurturing environment that fosters a sense of security and confidence in your child. Remember, each child is unique, and it’s normal for the adjustment period to vary in length. With your love and support, your child will soon flourish in their new nursery environment.