Thursday 24 March 2016

NURSERY: The First Week of Settling In Sessions

This week I did something I had worried about, lost sleep over and just generally been dreading...Isabella's first settling in session at nursery. As I have now returned to work part time it was inevitable that she would be going to nursery, but the idea of leaving her with someone who doesn't know her very well scared me. I obviously know her so well, all of her quirks/habits/likes/dislikes/routine etc, so the idea of not being part of that everyday was horrible. The week before her first session I labelled everything, packed her bag and constantly spoke to her about making new friends at nursery (mainly to reassure myself than her!)

Then the day came, her first session was 9.30am-11.30am so we were out of the door and there nice and early. I was so worried I'd forgotten something she might need at nursery or that she was just spend the whole session crying. I was getting hotter and hotter with the mix of emotions. We were greeted with smiles from the staff and intrigued faces from the other children. We sat down in the baby room and showed Isabella some of the massive number of toys they have, she was heaven! Within 15 minutes she was crawling off, discovering her surroundings and 'chatting' to the other children, such a relief.

I stayed with her for the first hour, though I did leave her to play on her own rather than sit and play with her. She sat and had snack time with the other children without looking back at me once, she really does love her food. They then got ready to go outside, at which point the nursery staff advised me to leave her for the next hour. She was smiling away playing peek-a-boo outside, so I used the opportunity to sneak away. The main thing I didn't want to happen was to leave her crying, the fact she was so distracted meant that she wasn't even aware I'd left. I had played the moment I would be driving away from the nursery for the first time in my head so many times, imagining tears and extreme sadness. However I felt absolutely fine, very much to my surprise.

Once the hour had passed I got a phonecall saying Isabella had gone down for a nap and whether I wanted to collect her or let her nap. I decided to let her, afterall no one wants to wake a sleeping baby! She slept for 30 minutes, which is less than usual but I was so pleased she had managed to nap during her first session. When she woke up she did get upset, I guess the unfamiliar place/people confused her. They rang me saying she'd woken up and I went to go and collect her. When I arrived she was outside looking at the diggers with one of the nursery staff...with the toy rabbit I'd sent in with her clutched in one hand. She had red eyes from crying, but wasn't actually crying when I arrived. Well, until she saw me and then she started! It wasn't surprising that after waking up in an unfamiliar place that she got upset, in fact I would have found it odd if she hadn't. She very quickly calmed down and was evidently tired still, therefore heightening emotions. We headed home for lunch and another nap. First settling in session at nursery...done!

The next two settling in sessions Isabella had this week went progressively better. I dropped her off and left within 5 minutes, there were less tears after nap time and she enjoyed meals with the other children. Our nursery offered settling in sessions at a range of different times during the day, which meant that Isabella experienced meals/snacks/play/outside time etc. I'd highly recommend requesting this if your nursery doesn't initally offer it. 

Nursery has so many new toys and experiences to discover, other children/adults to interact with and a complete focus on the babies (no chores that need doing like at home). It's the perfect place for Isabella to flourish and that brings me so much comfort. She's going to learn so much and hopefully enjoy it too. For our family I think nursery is going to be such a positive addition to our lives - Isabella will still spend more time at home, but those days at nursery will provide her with experiences I simply can't at home. I'm writing this after her first week of settling in sessions, so we're obviously in early days. But I'm pleased to say that I'm now feeling so much more positive about leaving Isabella for three days a week and I hope that this feeling continues to grow. 

How did you find the settling into nursery experience?

Feel free to leave a comment :)

Helen x
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  1. I loved reading this Helen! Starting nursery is such a huge step and one that I'm sure most of us are apprehensive about. I'm so pleased things went well for you and Isabella and I'm sure she'll continue to love her sessions there!! James has had two settling-in sessions so far and things have gone pretty smoothly! As you said, nurseries offer such a wide range of experiences that it keeps our little ones busy! Xx

  2. I'm so glad it went well, I think it's easier when they're younger. As I work evenings and weekends I'm at home during the day to look after Ben so he didn't start till he was just over 2 and a half. I really wish I had started him when he just turned 2. As when we visited his spent the whole time crying! Not a good start! And when we returned for his first session he started crying as soon as we walked in. The manager had to take him from me so I could get away! Then the following time it said he didn't want to go, which then upset me so we were both crying! Anyway after that he now loves it thank fully. He was just very clingy towards me, now he isn't so bad.

    It is horrible leaving them, but it's good for them to be around other children and away from you!

    Anna xx


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