Transitions into Childcare or into School are part of a child’s milestones and have a definite effect on their future development. A transition is a time of new opportunities and growth for every child. Getting the transition right is vital for every child, and is a process that involves the child, Early Years Practitioners and parents together.
Some children find it hard to cope with the unfamiliar setting and people around them. The experience can become overwhelming for them, especially if they have not been in Early Education before.
The settling in period is crucial for a child, as it can impact their happiness throughout their time in the early years setting and can affect how the child will view future transitions.
Here are some tips for helping your child settle in to their new environment:
- Awareness and Preparation: Your child may experience separation anxiety, and this can cause problems. Recognise that your child may have separation anxiety, and prepare for the event and turn it into an adventure.
- Attend Information Sessions and Open Days: Try to attend any information sessions of opening days the setting may offer. This will give you and your child an introduction to the new environment, and a good way for you to meet the staff.
- ‘Settling in Policy’: Your setting should have a ‘Settling in Policy’, which will set out procedures for supporting your child as they settle into the setting. Getting familiar with their ‘Settling in Policy’ will enable you to prepare for your child’s transition and to make suitable arrangements.
- Routines and Activities: Try to familiarise yourself with the setting’s daily routines and types of activities they provide. You can rely the information to your child to help them to react positively to going into the setting.
- Read stories about starting Nursery or School: This will help familiarise your child with what will happen when they start.
- Your Child’s Concerns: Talk to your child about any concerns they may have. Reassure and talk to them in a positive way.
- Prepare for Separation Anxiety: If you can, leave your child with a family member or trusted friends for short periods of time, allowing your child to feel more comfortable about leaving your side.
- Stay Confident and Positive: Although it may be a trying time for you, as you may also have separation anxiety, try to be positive about the experiences your child will have at Nursery or School.
- Don’t Slip Away: Let your child know when you are leaving them. Slipping away without your child knowing can lead to your child becoming anxious and become clingier next time you try and leave them.
- Open Communication: Share information about your child with the setting, they will also share information with you. Discuss any concerns you have regarding your child’s transition; they may have heard them before and will help reassure you and put an action plan into place.