At the beginning of September Michael turned 3 and with advice from a health visitor and Michael's speech therapist I decided the time was right for Michael to start nursery. Nursery settings have lots of benefits and as a only child I want Michael to have time with other children. I had a look around a few local nurseries and did some research and eventually chose a chestnut nursery next to the children's centre we most use.
Some nurseries do have long waiting lists but luckily we did not have to wait long for a start date. I was very apprehensive about Michael starting nursery. It is a big thing for me to leave him when he has spent the last 3 years with me. When I have left him it has been with his dad or one of his grandmothers. He used to be awful with separation anxiety, crying if I just went to the bathroom. It has never been too bad leaving him with his grandmothers because they are family members he is used to and you know they will calm him down 5 minutes after you leave but of course it is a different thing handing your child over to nursery staff.
I decided Michael would go to nursery for two morning sessions a week 8am-1pm all year round. He could have possibly gone in for 3 sessions a week term time only but I thought he would find it difficult to adjust after having a break for term holidays. We had toured the nursery with Michael and he loved all the toys, he is very used to playgroups and so the nursery provided a similar setting. One thing we also did before starting was read him books about nursery and play with his happyland preschool toys which helped him understand nursery.
The first day we went in was just for an hour in which I stayed with him. Every child has a nursery key worker and Michael's spent that hour with us asking questions about Michael and playing with Michael so he would feel comfortable with her. The second day it was his turn to stay there without me for an hour. I would like to say it went well but the truth was I think I took too long saying goodbye and he got upset. I eventually left the room leaving him with his key worker hoping he would calm down. I got really upset, it was difficult to walk away leaving him calling for me screaming. I then sat in reception to see if he would calm down.
After 10 minutes he was still very upset and so the nursery workers called me back in to calm him down and give a cuddle. As soon as I was there he calmed straight down and went off to play. One of the nursery workers did tell me I could play with him but I wanted him to play with the other children and key worker and left him to it, just sitting in a corner reassuring him I was there. At one point he spent 20 minutes outside playing with me inside out of his sight and he seemed just fine. I gave him lots of praise for playing without mummy and he didn't want to leave!
Tomorrow he will be there for 2 hours without me, I just have to tackle the goodbye. When we got him home we again played with his happyland preschool and I was using a mummy and boy doll to show that mummy drops his off to nursery, he plays and then mummy picks the boy up. He also watched a episode of peppa pig where George starts preschool so we shall see if he understands more tomorrow that I have to leave but will be picking him up at home time. I also plan to say a much quicker goodbye tomorrow and to say goodbye at the gate rather than go in with him and give him time to get upset. I will of course still wait in reception so that if he does need me, I will be there. Fingers crossed though tomorrow is more of a success!
If you have any tips, please let me know!