Reading 2Before Your Child Joins The Nursery:

We will invite you to introduce your child to his or her new surroundings gradually. You can leave them for short periods to get acquainted with their Keyworker and new playmates.

You should talk about the nursery when you are at home, discuss the activities he/she enjoyed, call the staff by their name, and look forward to the next visit. Please don't worry as we have over 30 years experience of settling hundreds of children into the nursery situation.

Make sure that the staff are aware of any idiosyncrasies; does your child need a certain method of feeding, specific nappies, cream, foods, particular likes and dislikes. Your child's early weeks at nursery may be difficult for both of you. Reassure and support your child in any way you can. At all times be positive about the experience, and accentuate the enjoyment aspect.

Try to get into a regular routine, and make the transition as smooth and quick as possible. Expect tears when you leave, possibly for longer than just the early weeks, but bear in mind that the crying usually stops once you have gone. It is best, by far, not to linger too long, or to leave and then come back.

Take him/her to the same staff member each day, give a quick kiss, say "Goodbye, I shall see you later/after lunch, have a lovely time etc", and leave. Giving your child to the same practitioner encourages a bond to form, before the child has to get to know the other staff.

Try to keep promises you make regarding when you will return, and with older children, give them an idea of when this will be. Above all, if your child cries, don't hover and watch with a worried expression - your child knows they will be upsetting you! Go quickly, and perhaps wait (out of sight), so that you can hear the crying stop, and go home feeling more contented. The staff are always willing to take photos during the day so that, when you collect them, you can see your child settling in and having fun.

Some children may, of course, be very independent, and want to leave you at the front door, and walk in alone. In which case, give them this freedom. Please don't dismiss tears as babyish, reassure your child that it is OK to feel sad saying goodbye, but that he/she will have a good time while you are gone, and you will be back later.

Encourage your child to invent a personal goodbye ritual for both of you, such as pressing noses to the window, or giving a "teddy" wave goodbye. At night, chat to them about their daily routine, the staff and the other children at the nursery, and what they have been doing while you have been at work. Try to make them see it as a part of everyday life, and something to look forward to. The time will come when they refuse to go home when you come to collect them - or stand at the door on a Saturday morning with their coat, and look downcast when you say there is no nursery today!

Always remember that, if your child is properly cared for, they will benefit greatly from the experience, and they will 'catch' the note of hesitancy in your voice, and play on your guilt if you allow the positive encouragement to slip. Children thrive on the stimulation they get from playing and learning in groups. This early experience, and social interaction, will help them settle happily into school.

Learning to trust:

At first, many parents worry about the competence of their chosen carer, and about the physical and emotional safety of their baby or child. This is perfectly natural, but try to remember that every member of staff at Monkton is very experienced in the care of children. You may also worry about your child's personality changing as a result of being with different people. Of course your child will change as he or she grows older, but this is a natural part of growing up - meeting new people will add to his experience in a positive way. In the long run, learning to trust new people with your baby or child will benefit both of you, and as your child learns to trust others, he will become more confident and less dependent on you. In the words of the poet and philosopher, Kahil Gibran:

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not
to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.