The coronavirus lockdown has changed how we live our everyday lives; especially those of children who routinely attend their nursery on a weekly basis. Whilst we will all find it challenging to go back to our old routines, this will be even more difficult for children; especially those of nursery age who have become accustomed to spending so much time at home.
Yet as we will eventually all have to go back to our normal routines, you may find that your children experience more separation anxiety than usual when leaving you at the start of the nursery day.
This is completely normal and understandable, and we anticipate many difficult goodbyes to begin with. In order to help ease the transition back to nursery, we thought that it would be helpful to put together some top tips to support your child with resettling. The list below may not fix all separation anxieties, but we hope that it can help, even just a little bit.
- Talk about nursery and the transition back. What do they remember most about nursery? What was their favourite part or activity? What are they most looking forward to doing when they go back to nursery? How do they feel about going back to nursery? Try to offer lots of reassurance and if your child is unsure, talk about all the things they used to enjoy and what they will be able to do again – including playing with their friends.
- Talk about the nursery team including their keyperson. What do they remember about them? What is their favourite thing about them? What are they excited to tell them? What activities did they used to do together? Although at most nurseries we will be returning with a limited number of staff, children will see familiar faces which we hope will make it easier for them to settle back in quickly.
- Take a look at our website and social media to remind your child what nursery and some of the other staff and children look like. This might help open up conversations about what they are most looking forward, what they remember the most etc.
- Stay positive. Although things are a little different at the moment, try not to let this affect the way you talk about the transition back to nursery with your children. Keep calm and smile – it is natural to feel a little nervous about sending your child back to nursery given the circumstances – but remember, your child easily picks up on your emotions. Ensure that you are always positive when talking about nursery. If you are positive and enthusiastic, then your child will feel the same way too.
- If your child is particularly attached to a comforter, please do pop it in their bag so that we have it available at nursery; and perhaps leave one with us so that it does not go back and forth from home and nursery. Generally, we have recommended that children do not bring items in from home but we do not want a child’s wellbeing to be impacted by the loss of a treasured comforter.
- When the time comes to say goodbye, try to keep it short and sweet. Children tend to settle quicker if we can minimise the chance of them thinking that their parent or guardian might be staying with them. Always say goodbye – rather than just disappearing – and remind your child that you will be back.
- If you can, try to do some similar activities at home that your child enjoyed doing at nursery. We have put lots of ideas on our website Parent Resources page and broken them down into different categories and age groups. Talk about how they enjoyed doing these activities at nursery with certain staff members or children.
- If you are able to, add some family photos to eyLog/Connect so that when children are back in nursery, the team can share them with the children if they are feeling unsettled.
- Before restarting your child at nursery, make a note of any changes in routine since their last session. Share this with the team so that they can keep things as similar to at home as possible.
- If your child has reached any key milestones during lockdown e.g. learning to walk, saying new words, learning a new song, make sure you share these with the team. These should all be celebrated when they are back at nursery.
It may take time for children to settle again but we know that all of our nursery teams will work with you to resettle the children. Although there will be amendments to the environment, the team will be following children’s interest and engaging them in amazing activities and experiences each day. We cannot wait to see you and your children back in nursery very soon!