Hope was restored recently as the plan to ease lockdown restrictions was announced. For many of us, that means getting the kids ready to return to nursery – which is one thing we can put in our diaries, at least!
The pandemic has been an unsettling time for all of us so the prospect of establishing some sort of routine again may be like music to your ears.
Just as your child adapted to the ‘new normal’ at home without seeing any of their friends or family members, you will be surprised at just how resilient they will be starting up at nursery again. But it goes without saying that this will take time and for some it may take longer.
Here are some top tips which will guide you through the transitioning period making your child’s journey back into nursery that bit smoother…
Imaginative play at home
Acting out their first day back including the kind of things they might get up to at nursery will help bring the idea to life, which could help your child feel less anxious about it. You could try reading stories, hanging up their coat and putting their backpack away to really set the scene of nursery. Asking them what their favourite thing about nursery is and reminding them of all the fun they used to have there will be a good way to ease their worries.
Reading about nursery
There are lots of different children’s books which follow a character’s journey to starting nursery which could be a great way to get your child imagining what it will be like for them when they return. Seeing a nursery on the pages will hopefully put the idea of nursery into context for your child.
Making photo boards of their lockdown memories
You could try encouraging your child to talk about all the different activities and memories they’ve made at home while they have been off from nursery. You could then see if your child would like to make a photo board of all the different things they got up to and encourage them to share this with their friends and teachers at the nursery when they return. This could help build confidence and self awareness in your child as they have something to look forward to upon their return.
Listening to your child’s worries
In the lead up to your child’s first day back at nursery you could try asking your child lots of questions about what they are looking forward to or asking if there is anything that is bothering them. This will be a great way for your child to open up. Expression is such an important part of development but will come easier to some children than others. Making your child feel like they can be open will allow you to reassure them.
Taking note of non-verbal gestures
Children aren’t always able to fully express their feelings, especially at nursery age. Instead, children’s behaviour tends to change during a transitional period which they are finding difficult. Children might become extra quiet, clingy or show other signs of regression. Whatever signs your child might be showing, your patience and understanding is what will comfort your child the most during this transition.
Staying positive and upbeat
It’s important that we as parents stay positive and upbeat as your child adjusts to the nursery environment again. Your positivity will definitely help your child to feel more relaxed. While they would have loved their time at home, before you know it your child will start to enjoy nursery again in their own time.
All of the activities, experiences and memories you have made over this lockdown period will be ones that they you will both carry with you. Best of luck with this transitional period – another crucial but exciting stage in your child’s development!