Is your bundle of joy starting nursery soon? Here's my top tips and what to expect!

I'm going to kick this post off by being brutally honest with you. Let's jump straight into it. Sending my daughter to nursery for the first time has been the hardest thing in my life. Harder than labour itself lol, and no I'm not even playing !! I mean trusting a complete strange group of women to take care of my entire life's biggest treasure, how? It almost seemed impossible and since deciding she is 'nursery ready' I cried every time I thought about it.

 
How dramatic - I know. Today, 3 months into it, I am confident however it still doesn't feel right without my little bug being at home with me 24/7 like she has been from the day I gave birth to her. But let's not make this post about me. Placing my daughter into a nursery at the age of 2 and a half has been the absolute best decision and thing I could have done for her. She hated seeing my face non stop every single day, she was literally bored of me. No matter how hard I tried. At this age they want to and NEED to explore, learn new things like boundaries for example, and most of all be around other children.

Give yourself and your child time...
Nothing happens overnight, in fact my little girl fell in love with nursery on the first day and I can proudly say that she has adapted almost immediately and the settle-in process was perfect and tear-less !! Well I shared a tear or two but she did absolutely amazing. Remember that you were most probably the only person who have looked after your child from the day of their birth up until now... The separation, even if it's just a couple of hours - can be extremely hard and overwhelming, and it's ok to feel weak. One thing you need to remember is that your little not so little bundle of joy will be looked after by a number of experienced and qualified professionals, around other children their age with the most incredible, creative and fun activities and games that will keep them occupied enough to forget you even exist !! Of course it can be difficult at first, but your job is to stay strong and ensure your child knows that this is only for few hours, and that you will be back...

The 'mummy will be back to pick you up soon' rule...
I dedicated the entire week to ensure she settles in well, of course I was prepared to dedicate as much time as required, however she honestly settled in the first day. I started off by slowly disappearing for 5 or 10 mins, but each time I'd make sure she is aware of the fact that I am leaving the room, whether is to go toilet, make coffee or pop outside to make a phone call and I will be back. I know sneaking out sounds much easier and more convenient but you want to make sure your child trust you and feels comfortable within the environment and the people surrounding her, whilst being aware that you are not around. It honestly sounds harder than it is.

Be the first parent at the door !!
I always ensure I am the first one to line up when collecting my princess from nursery. She gets agitated and stressed whenever other kids get their name called out before her, therefore I always leave 10 or 15 minutes earlier than everyone else to collect my little girl. This way she's almost always the first one to be called out of the room to go home. I love seeing the incredible excitement fulfilling her beautiful face and little body every time she sees me.

Have a snack and a hot or cold drink handy for your child...
How extra !! Not really, at nursery they only have limited 'snack time' and food variety. My child honestly is the most fussy eater and sometimes it feels like she literally lives of milk and oxygen. The only time I see her screaming for food is when I pick her up from nursery. She will have fruit, crackers, breadsticks or milk there - but bearing in mind the nursery keeps her very active, that of course isn't enough to satisfy her tummy. When she first started nursery the weather was still pretty warm and I always ensured I had a chilled water or her favourite juice with me, along with her favourite snacks such as strawberries, oat meal cookies or a sandwich to fill up that tummy. Now that the weather is cold I turn up with a bottle of warm milk or hot chocolate every time I go to scoop her. The walk to our house isn't longer than 10 minutes but I wouldn't like her belly rumbling from hunger.

None stop poorly !!
Jesus! I seriously had no clue how often she will get poorly since starting nursery. Almost every week she caught a bug. I have been warned by other parents and the nursery key workers however in my head 'they're paranoid and over-exaggerate'. False. Be prepared for lots of colds and viral infections in the first months as their immune system is still very weak and with a little time your bundle of joy will be fighting off any infection like a true soldier. Honestly, nurseries are like germ traps. The kids dribble all over the place, use their hands to wipe their snort, put toys in their mouth and God knows what else. Keep your child hydrated, provide good vitamin intake such as fruit and veggies. I would love to write 'balanced diet bla bla bla' or something along those lines, but the way my daughter's appetite and fussiness is set up, and she's still strong and healthy - I won't even put that line here lol. I've also purchased liquid and chewies vitamins that she takes daily on top of milk and plenty of yogurts.

The guilt feeling is real...
Was almost unbearable at first. I remember I rang my friend on the day that I finally decided to come home convinced my daughter was ready to stay at nursery without me being there, and of course I was right... The four words that came out my friend's mouth were 'Have some me time'... Girrrl please! I left my child behind in some place she has only been to few times and you're talking to me about me time? My me time at that point consisted of ringing up the nursery every 15 minutes like a nutter. Just to hear the same thing each time I rang over and over again - 'She is fine, she's playing, no she hasn't looked for you once nor has she cried...' - and those were the most beautiful words that gave me butterflies every single time. Give yourself some 'time' before you are ready for the 'me time' whilst your child isn't around.. And eventually - you will love it, just as much as your little treasure will love the nursery journey and new chapter in their life !!