Leaving your child at nursery can be hard. But from lingering at drops-off to sneaking her in when she’s sick, here are 11 things your child’s key worker wishes you wouldn’t do …
As a parent, you always have your child’s best interests as your priority. This is especially true when it comes to choosing the right childcare for her.
And if you opt for a nursery, there are lots of simple things you can do to make it even more fun for your child.
Don’t linger on drop off
Nursery drop offs can be tough – especially if your child is upset when you leave her.
But rather than going back into the room after you’ve left, try not to come back in or linger. Parents suffer separation anxiety probably worse than their children do.
‘For your child to feel more settled it helps to drop her off, say goodbye, and then leave. Even if you can hear her crying, going back in could actually distress your child more, because you still have to leave her again.’
But also, don’t slide away without saying goodbye
If your child is happily playing when you drop her off, it might be tempting to slip away without saying goodbye to avoid her tears. But this isn’t a good idea.
It’s important parents don’t try and sneak off during drop-off when their children aren’t looking.
It might feel like this will make it easier for your child but instead it upsets her even more. One minute her mum is there, the next minute she’s gone – it can make separation anxiety even worse.’
Don’t leave without telling your child’s key worker how she’s been at home
It might be your child has been irritable over the weekend, or not been sleeping well. Any information you can give her key worker each time you drop her at nursery is incredibly useful in helping her settle.
Communication is key. It’s really helpful at drop-off if you can tell your child’s key worker how she’s slept, what she’s eaten and how she’s been.
This is especially important on her first day in that week. Any changes to her routine makes a difference to how your child is at nursery. If she’s been at grandma’s for example, she might be out of routine.
By telling your child’s key worker, they can then be prepared for any changes and help your child get back into routine.
Don’t do drop-off without knowing the routine
It might be you always do the drop-off, but occasionally your partner needs to do it, or vice versa. If this is the case, make sure he knows exactly what to do, to make drop-off as consistent as possible for your child.
It’s really helpful to be consistent in HOW you do drop-off. Make sure every carer who is taking your child to nursery knows the normal routine.
For example, if dad is doing the drop-off and doesn’t usually, make sure you let him know where to go, how long to stay and where to put the bag and coat. That consistency is important.
Don’t feel you have to rush the settling-in period
Every nursery has different settling-in periods for children. And while some may adapt in a couple of days, others can take much longer.
Every child is different. If your child needs more time to settle in, you can ask for that. Your nursery should also suggest it if they can see she is struggling to settle.
Don’t worry if your child doesn’t have a best friend
It’s natural to want your child to make lots of friends. But depending on her age, she might not have best friends yet.
Children are solitary creatures until they are older. They don’t really have the skills to play together. It’s not until preschool age – between three and five – that they start making friends.
Some parents will ask nursery staff for their child’s friends to invite to a birthday party – when maybe they’re too young to have friends.
They interact with each other but there’s not sustained play. They will make friends when they are ready.
Don’t worry if your child needs a comforter at nursery
If your child has a favorite toy that she carries round everywhere, it can be a good idea to also let her take it to nursery.
Letting your child bring a comforter can be helpful. It can help her settle.
A lot of parents worry their child will carry it round all day. But your child’s key worker will build a bond with your child and then she won’t need that comforter. But it’s there if she does need it.
Don’t bring your child to nursery if she’s sick
It’s the day you have a vital meeting at work … and your child has a temperature. It can be really hard, but keeping her at home if she’s poorly.
It’s a really difficult subject as lots of parents work or have commitments. But nursery staff have to be strict. It’s best for the child to be at home if she is sick.
Nursery staff aren’t there to look after sick children – we have other children to care for as well. Some parents might say they’ve given their child Calpol or ask us to keep their child indoors.
If your child needs Calpol or if she can’t take part in all the normal nursery activities, she’s not well enough to come in to nursery.
Don’t worry if your child is a fussy eater
At home, your child refuses every vegetable going and instead insists on a diet of fish fingers, waffles and beans.
So it can be a worry when she starts nursery that she won’t eat a thing. But children will always surprise parents.
They can be fussy eaters at home but when they come to nursery they will sit at the table, eat carrots even if they refuse them at home and stay at the table until everyone has finished.
So I’d advise parents not to worry about their child not eating.
This may be because seeing other kids eating encourages them to eat the same things, too. Win, win!
Don’t put your child’s drawing straight in the bag
You’re racing to nursery for pick up – and your child hands you the picture she’s made that day.
It can be easy to say a quick ‘lovely, well done’ and then pop it in the bag. But it’s the end of the day and you’re probably in a rush to get home. But try and take a moment to make a fuss about the picture.
To the child, you are her world and she will probably have been thinking of you during the day while she made you the picture.
Sometimes a child can feel a bit deflated if you then don’t make a fuss over what she’s drawn.
Don’t rush at nursery pick ups
Just as your child’s key worker wants to hear about how she’s been at drop off, she also wants to let you know everything your child has done that day.
If you can, it’s great to hang on a bit longer to have a handover with your child’s key worker.
It’s up to the nursery to get to know the parents. Some parents just want to get home after a long day at work for example, and don’t want to hang around, which is totally understandable.
However, ideally spending 5-10 minutes talking about your child’s day: what she’s done, how she’s been, is really helpful.’