Sorry if your little one isn’t starting nursery or community playgroup this September, but for those who are, it’s that time of year again... time for tips to help your little one settle in well.
Yes, I know it seems a long way off, but it is actually only about 12 weeks.
These next 12 weeks can make all the difference to helping your child feel confident, happy, ready and able to learn and make friends too.
I’ve worked in nursery schools many times over the years and do know that these simple things you do together at home do make a big, big difference - so please have a go and give your child the best start.
Some of them seem obvious, some don’t, some your child may be able to do (great), some they may not.
Skills and experiences such as these below do take time to learn, to master - this is why now is the perfect time to start!
I’ll be writing a few more over the next few weeks but start with these then, as you go, you can tick these off your ‘helping my child list’!
Oh, but before you start, please, please have patience with your little one, show them, explain to them, help them a little, give them lots of praise for effort.
Remember how hard it is to learn new skills, someone shouting at you, or huffing as you can’t quite manage it is simply going to make you feel bad, sad and give up - it’s the same for your child, so patience, patience, praise and praise!
Coats and clothes - Some parents are guilty of dressing their child every day yet when they go to nursery it is great if they have the independence skills to dress themselves.
Their teacher will simply not have the time to dress and undress thirty children every time they get wet from playing in the water, or when they want to rush to play outside and, of course when they are trying on new outfits in the home corner!
Shoes - No one would expect your child to be able to do laces or buckles this is why velcro fastening pumps, shoes or trainers are fab! Learning to put these on and off (and their wellies too) helps them to feel all grown up!
Toilet time - Years ago, children had to be toilet trained before they went to nursery. Now, some parents might think it’s the responsibility of the teacher, but it’s not! It’s easy to train one child but not a class of 30.
Meals - Having lunch or snack at nursery can sometimes be worrying for your little one.
But if you try lots of different foods, fruit and vegetables at home it can help as they are not then faced with something they don’t know.
Try and encourage your child to use a fork (a knife too if you can), again this helps independence skills.
Play date - Part of the fun going to nursery is making friends and playing with them - why not plan a play date with a child you know will be in their class?
This will help them to feel more confident as they will know someone when they arrive.
Without you - Sometimes children arrive at nursery having never been cared for by anybody else.
Leaving you for the first time at nursery can make the experience more difficult so why not arrange for a friend or family member to mind your little one just for an hour or so each week before they start. Maybe you can combine this with a playdate then you and ‘play dates Mummy’ both get a break too!
Personal - Most children don’t like having a dirty or runny nose (who would!) so do teach them how to use a tissue and how to put it in the bin!
Instructions - Yes, it is important for your child to be able to follow simple instructions, you can practise this at home as you ask him or her to tidy up, put on their coat, help you put away the shopping, take things upstairs etc.
Listen and wait - Such important skills, they link to learning, safety, developing patience, waiting for their turn etc. Do practice these at home.
For waiting maybe you could get a timer - start with ‘just wait for two minutes’ and slowly build up - remember lots of praise and do what you have promised after the ‘waiting time’.
My name and my family - Teach your child to recognise their name (and surname if possible), to know who is in their family (brothers, sisters, granny etc), what their names are and of course their pets too.
And of course... talk, sing, read and play - These are the most important things you can do with your child to help them be happy, confident, a great communicator, have good social skills, be interested in and eager to learn and all it takes is time with you every day to talk, sing, read and play!
Happy learning xxx
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