Changes can be daunting for anyone, but for small children, a change in routine or daily life can be a real struggle. Whether your child is moving into nursery or school, there are lots of way to prepare your child for their next steps.
When preparing your child for nursery, one of the most important things to do is get them used to being away from you. This can be done by leaving them with trusted family or friends and trained babysitters. By doing this, you can practice a routine of saying goodbye, and letting your child know that every time you will be coming back for them later. It would also be good if they could be left with children around their age, so that they can practice playing and socialising.
It is also important to talk to your child about nursery and what to expect. There are a whole host of books available that you can read for your child that talk about the process and experience of starting nursery.
Furthermore, make the most of settling-in sessions offered by your nursery. These give you and your child the opportunity to experience what a typical session at your chosen nursery would be like; your child can meet their teachers and classmates, whilst you can meet staff and get used to the drop-off and picking-up routines.
When your child is at nursery, they will also face changes when moving between the rooms. At Angels, children will move from halos (six months to two years old), to wings (two to three years old) to stars (three to four years old). It is important to learn the developmental changes that will happen between these stages, and what that will mean in terms of change of routine for your child.
Whilst it is always important to encourage and aid learning, it is most important during the transitionary periods they face. This can be through reading to them, helping them learn the alphabet and numbers, painting and drawing, and constantly communicating with your child. The more you talk to and listen to your child, the more you will learn about where they are in their development and what they need in their next steps.
The final big change young children face is starting school. Whilst nursery can prepare children for school, this only goes so far. School is a very different environment, and will be in a different place to where your child is used to. It can be a good idea to walk your child to school in order to get them used to the routine and route that you will be taking. You can also help practice getting ready for school, by having your child try on their uniform and work together packing their bag.
As with starting nursery, having open conversations about what will happen when they start school is important. Talk to your child about what to expect, and ask them if they have any worries. Discussing these things will give your child more time to prepare. There are also books that will help explain what to expect at school, from the daily routine to the things that they will be learning and fun activities.
Changes can also go beyond academic ones; there are many changes that are unique to individual children. This can be anything from moving house, to getting new siblings. We invite you to share your experiences of guiding your children through life changes, and share advice with other parents in the comments on how you coped with these changes!
What techniques did you find best? How did you tell your child about these changes? Let us know!