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Tips for a Smooth Transition on Your Child’s First Day at Nursery  

Nicky, our Deputy Manager, has collated a few tips as a guide to help you prepare for a smooth transition on the first day of nursery.

Tips for a Smooth Transition on Your Childs First Day at Nursery

Starting your nursery journey is one of the most monumental, exciting times of your child’s life. The first five years provide the core foundations of your child’s development and open up a world fueled with a love of learning. We understand that transitioning into nursery can feel overwhelming and slightly daunting for both you and your child, which is why we work closely with you to make this experience as reassuring and as enjoyable as possible. With this in mind we have collated a few tips as a guide to help you prepare for a smooth transition on the first day of nursery.

Most parents’ concerns are often surrounding the environment, routines and the people within the setting. Thinking about your child’s mind, these ‘parental concerns’ are often shared concerns or anxieties of the child too. Consistency, familiarity and communication are key contributors in making a nursery transition as smooth and as successful as possible. 

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Familiarity

Talking to your child and exposing your child to the idea of nursery life prepares their minds and understanding of what is going to happen. Avoid using terms such as ‘in a few days’ and ‘soon you’ll be going to nursery’, most children have not yet developed an understanding of time frames so instead, use age appropriate methods, such as visual time scales like crossing off days on a calendar, removal of post stick notes around a door to count down the days. This provides your child with a sense of security and control of understanding exactly when they should be expecting to start nursery. Make this experience exciting and positive by passing an element of control back to your child, give them the responsibility of crossing off days on their calendar etc.  

Make your child feel confident in knowing where they are going. If they did not attend your initial viewing the first day of nursery will be the very first time your child has ever seen the setting which they have yet to flourish and develop in. 

In the months leading up to starting nursery, go for walks around the areas which the nursery is situated in, explore bus journeys to and from your home to the setting, drive past the setting and familiarise your child with the sounds, smells and sights of the entrance of the setting. Wave hello to the manager and workers to initiate distant bonds and early recognition of people involved in your child’s care. Highlight the smallest details such as the Fennies logo and create personalised affiliation with these details. Look there’s the Fennies running boy! 

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Transition books… what are they? 

Transition books are a wonderful way to familiarise your child with their extended homely environment by bringing a small piece of the setting into your child’s secure safe-zone environment of their home. Communicate with the nursery management team or your child’s room leader asking for photos of the environment which your child will be in. Their nursery rooms, nursery entrances, corridors, pegs areas, mealtime areas, outdoor environments etc. 

Photos of the key people based in your room are also a great way for your child to initiate early stages of attachments and recognition of the carers which will soon mean the world your child.  

Communication is vital! 

Communication between you and the setting is vital to ensuring the best outcomes for your child and to make all transitions smooth and effective. Be as open and transparent with the setting as possible, during the first few weeks of your child starting nursery, the nursery team will be asking you a bundle of questions to gain a secure rounded understanding of your child as the amazing individual that they are. Before starting nursery it is a good idea to have a conversation with the setting to understand the basic routine and structure of the day. 

Whether your child is starting in the baby rooms or preschool rooms, routine provides a sense of security and confidence for your child knowing what to expect and when. This is particularly important when starting nursery as routine is a factor which unsurprisingly brings comfort to a child whilst other surroundings are so unfamiliar. 

Make small adaptations to your home routine to mirror that of the nursery, look at the times of the day when your child may have their main meals, sleep times and wake windows. When it comes to care routines during the day such as sleep times, explore how the setting approaches sleep and communicate your child’s likes and preferences when drifting into the vulnerable state of sleep. It is important to us that we value each individual child and make sure we are empowering them to have a voice and to make choices surrounding their care. 

Each child will have slightly different preferences with their sleep routines for example, some children enjoy being rocked in the arms to fall to sleep whereas other prefer to lay on their tummies and drift off independently. Your child’s key person will work very closely with you to understand your child as an unique individual, to make them feel comfortable and to develop full trust in those around them. If your child is used to blacked out rooms and silence whilst sleeping, perhaps consider using white noise machines or fulfilling home tasks such as washing up, watching tele, walking about the home, to prepare your child to be able to rest in an environment filled with sound.  

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Be strong and keep smiling… we are here for you too! 

The settling in experience can be considered as a roller coaster of emotions. One day your child will be excited and happy but then the next day they could feel unsettled or tearful. Trust the process! Children develop separation anxiety, and this is not always a negative thing. It shows how much they truly adore you. Rest be assured once initial bonds have been created with the key person or buddy key person, we promise we will adore them just as much as you do. 

Children thrive from the emotions felt around them so it is important to surround your child with positivity, excitement and happiness even though this could be an emotional time for yourselves. Be strong and make sure this experience is fun and stimulating. Focus on facial expressions if you have a younger child, as they are key communicators and are often one of the early signs or ways which your child connects with you. This could be the glimmer of happiness in their eyes when exploring something new, or the beautiful smiles which each touch the hearts of all key people.  

Keep updated… 

Keep updated with the events which the nursery will be holding. These events are a great way to ‘Meet and Greet’ other parents and families to share experiences, familiarise yourselves with the management team and staff, and to ask any questions. If you feel comfortable and ‘at-home’ then we believe the child will feel the same.  

We hope these few tips are useful in preparing for a smooth transition into nursery and are delighted to open our arms and hearts to welcome you into our nursery family.  

Nicky

Deputy Manager

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