A few months ago, we wrote a post about Grayson starting Nursery – and how he / we struggled with those first few days there. Well, I thought it was a good time for an update – and hopefully something reassuring for parents who are either going through the same struggles we did, or planning to start Nursery soon and have concerns.
What did we do?
Grayson has now been going to Nursery once a week, for 5 hours, for (nearly) 3 months. Those first few visits were full of tears. He’d wake up the night before he was meant go, in floods of tears, telling us “I don’t need to go to Nursery”. We adopted a few methods to help him realise that it’s not all bad, those were:
1: Positive Reassurance
Reminding him we’ll always come and pick him up afterwards. Whenever he mentioned it, we’d end any discussion with “and Mummy and Daddy will be there when you’ve had your lunch”. A couple of times, we’ve also treated him with an afternoon out afterwards, to see the fish, or to the model village near by. Things that he can look forward to, that help him get through his time there. This isn’t needed now, really!
2: Don’t overload him with thoughts of Nursery
We tried not to over-excite him about it. At first, we thought talking about it might help him, but we soon saw that it made him quite anxious and he didn’t want to mention it. So we cut out the Nursery talk for the majority of the week. Our thinking was that if he wanted to know about it, he could ask. And he did.
3: Don’t give up
There was a time, when Ashleigh finished work, that we considered not sending him again as it wasn’t needed at his age – but we knew this might do more harm than good, so decided to push on with it. It’s great for him to interact with kids his own age, especially after 6 months of lockdown.
4: Share the experience
Of course, we’d always ask him what he did that day, and he’d always say “played with the trains” and that was about it. Our Nursery has an app that they update with pictures of him there and a brief outline of what he’s achieved. We started to show him that, and the pictures, to help remind him that it’s not all bad!
5: Find a routine
We’ve got a solid Nursery day routine now for G – he knows when it is, he knows what we’re doing, he knows what way we’ll drive to get there! All these things help calm him down
Where are we now?
Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that Grayson now loves nursery – like the majority of kids do! We’ve gone from waking up in the night saying he doesn’t want to go, to him asking us “is it Nursery tomorrow?” and “Can I go to Nursery!”
When it’s Nursery day, we drive a slightly longer route to get there. This involves going past some friends house, where he will say “Good morning Dan and Maria!” as we drive past – then past the train station (kid loves trains!), over the Wibbly wobbly bridge, and down the slippy hill, and finally, arrive at Nursery. Throughout this, Ashleigh sits in the back with him and holds his hand (his request, well, he holds her little finger, it’s his comfort!)
When we arrive, he does get a little bit tearful sometimes, but he says goodbye and walks in on his own, grabbing the Nursery workers hand and demanding she plays trains with him!
And that’s that – we pick him up a few hours later, and he’s had a blast. Not that he tells us now, we’ve already hit that age where we ask him what he did and he replies with “nothing” – thankfully the update from the Nursery tells us otherwise 😉
I think (hope) we’ve broken the back on the Nursery issues – and he genuinely enjoys going now – and for that we’re very grateful. However, for some kids, it’s not that easy and they still don’t fancy Nursery – so if you have any tips or advice to help others, please share them in the comments below. Likewise, check out our guest posts from Eddie here about knowing if your child is ready to start Nursery.