What to Expect and How to Help Them Settle Fast
I’ve written a few posts about nursery now and I thought I’d share with you some of the things that have helped me be a bit more realistic about sending b to nursery. It can be pretty daunting at first, and combine those feelings with guilt and worries about returning to work, it can all add up to be super stressful.
When b first started nursery, there were a few things which I found stressful and things I didn’t realise. Here is a write up of my experiences and a few things I wish I’d been more realistic about!
Children get ill
I know this sounds like I am stating the obvious but when b started nursery, he seemed to have never ending coughs, colds and high temps. I’d dread my phone ringing at work in case it was the nursery again. Check your nursery’s sickness policy but I imagine most will want your child kept at home if they have a high temperature or sickness and diarrhoea! At first, it used to frustrate me each time I’d get a call saying b had a high temp. At eleven months I imagine a lot of it was teething as well. Basically be prepared to have to pick your child up or keep them off nursery for a day or two.
If your child needs to take medicine or an inhaler while at nursery, take the prescription with you. I was caught out when b needed an inhaler for his cough. I knew he needed it three times a day but without the actual prescription, the nursery didn’t know that. And they can’t rely on me just telling them that. Basically pack the original packaging – don’t chuck it out.
Find out what your nursery policy is around jabs. I remember taking b for the MMR and then on that morning, being told he couldn’t come in afterwards. I was really annoyed as I had a busy day at work and had to rush around trying to sort out grandparent support! Find out in advance what the policy is so you aren’t surprised!
Your child will have an accident
I’m sure someone will correct me here (!) but I imagine most kids at nursery will trip or fall at some point at nursery. It’s what kids do right. Or at least it certainly is with my experiences with b. We’ve had to sign countless accident forms in the past and in my opinion it is perfectly normal for b to have trips and falls while at nursery. It can just as easily happen in my care. If you are worried though or something sounds like it could have been avoided, speak up and talk to the nursery manager.
Biting and hitting
Your child will be bitten or hit at some point. Again, I’m no childcare expert but it seems every book and toddler-focused website will say it is fairly normal for toddlers to go through these biting and hitting stages at some point. It isn’t nice though and a couple of times we’ve picked b up and been told he was bitten or hit by another child. No one wants their children to be subjected to this at nursery but I believe it is pretty normal behaviour. Talk to the manager and the carers and understand what reinforcements are in place to encourage less of this behaviour. I really like the “kind hands” focus at Busy Bees. We started using this at home as well as it works well and is a phrase b is used to hearing from nursery.
Your child may well be the one biting and hitting!
Carrying on from the point above, don’t be alarmed if you pick your child up and are told that he or she is the one doing the biting and hitting. I felt completely gutted the first time I was told that b hit another child. I felt awful because I know exactly how it feels to be on the other side. We did go through a biting and hitting phase with the little man but the introduction of a sticker reward chart at home soon curbed this behaviour. We also tried to be as consistent with nursery in terms of how they name things. For example, they stress kind hands and listening ears. We started using these words and phrases at home and b soon understood that if he doesn’t have kind hands, he isn’t watching paw patrol on an evening before tea time.
Their language will change
Argh this one has only really started since b moved to pre-school but he is dropping his t’s and now his h’s! And I hate it so much lol. The other day he said helicopter and it came out something like “eli-co-er”. Brilliant. For more on what to expect when your child starts pre-school, check out this post.
One of the main things that have helped me understand the general running of the nursery and why and how things happen has been to get involved and to talk to the staff. I figured little man would be at nursery until he starts school – so a good 3-4 years. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the staff and find out more about the people who care for b four days a week. I put my name down for the nursery parent partnership group too. I know this type of involvement isn’t for everyone and at one point in my life it def wasn’t for me either! But it’s as much effort as you want it to be really. I helped out at the Christmas fair and I also pop in and run some fun food classes with pre-school. Take a look at our Mother’s day and Christmas food fun!
Did you have any unexpected surprises when your child started nursery? Did your child go through a biting or hitting phase?