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Navigating the Nursery Drop Off
Travel & Adventure Travel & Adventure
Navigating the Nursery Drop Off
November 21, 2017
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Travel & Adventure Travel & Adventure
Navigating the Nursery Drop Off
November 21, 2017
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Is there anything harder than your baby or toddler starting nursery? For me it seemed like the guilt train that stopped at every station. Once I’d finally managed to admit that yes I really did need some time for myself and working evenings after wrangling a toddler all day wasn’t sustainable, then it was how to choose somewhere conceivably good enough. Then, once I’d spent months finding a nursery I believed would care, encourage, educate and all-round cherish my daughter, I thought I’d surmounted the task. Hurrah for me. But no, then I had to work out how to explain it to her.

Looking online I didn’t find much in the way of helpful advice on how to approach the nursery concept with a tiny person, nor the ‘Ten Tips To Making Starting Nursery Easy!’ article I so desired. Now I realise that’s because it would be insane to write such a thing. Speaking to fellow mum friends I was regaled with stories of toddlers who took six weeks to settle and others who took six hours, ones who screamed and cried so much their mums had given up on nursery altogether and others who’d powered through. It was daunting to say the least but I reminded myself that I firmly believe nursery is a good experience for little ones. Not because I’m a pushy mother who wants my daughter to be academically advanced, but because I think she needs as much stimulation and exposure to different social environments as I can offer her. Of course, I want it to be her and I forever in a bubble but I also understand that’s not what she needs.

After working through the scenarios on loop in my head, this is what I decided to do:

  1. A week before her first settling in session I explained in very simple terms what was going to happen. I repeated this every day until the first session came.

  2. I acted super excited all the way in the car and when we got out I was profuse in my ‘wow’s, ‘oooh’s and ‘look at that!’s.

  3. I played with her in the room, exploring it all together and then when I saw she was absorbed in some toys with one of the staff, I slipped out unnoticed.

  4. I drove down the road to Waitrose and sat in the car and cried for a full forty minutes until it was time to pick her up.

A year down the line, she adores her nursery days and babbles all the way home about what she’s been up to and all her little friends. I, meanwhile, get time to focus on work, meet my deadlines and recharge so I’m energised for her.

The issue of whether to say goodbye or not still plays on my mind but in our experience, it’s far more upsetting for her to be forced to say goodbye to me, than if she asks where I am and is told in a cheery tone, “Mummy will be back later”, followed promptly by a Playdough-shaped distraction. Goodbyes are hard when you’re a grown up so why should a two-year-old be able to manage them? It also makes me so happy that when she’s told I’ll be back, she wholly believes it. More than anything, it reassures me that I’ve instilled such confidence in our relationship, it’s inconceivable to her that mummy would ever leave her. And she’s bang on, I never would.

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