Your child's first day at nursery can be an emotional one for parents and children alike. For the child, they are being left in a new environment and for the parent, they are anxious about whether their little one is going to be okay. It's a fact that as a parent, the way you also act and behave on your child's first day can have a direct impact on how your child will react to being left at the nursery for the first time.
One of the best ways to prepare your child is to start the process of leaving them with family for short periods of time weeks before they actually start nursery. The process of leaving them with someone who is familiar but without you around, helps them learn that it's fine to be away from you and that you will always return when you say you will.
As your child grows more comfortable with the idea of you not being there, you could even leave them for a short period with close, trusted friends who have had experience looking after young children.
You can also start the routine of getting up early, getting dressed, heading out of the house and going somewhere well before your child starts nursery. Again, once this getting ready in the morning routine becomes normal to them, they are less likely to feel anxious about doing something new on their first day.
When you do leave them at nursery, leave them with things that they are familiar with. Toys, bags, bottles or spoons, even handkerchiefs that remind them of mummy or daddy. You can also have your child draw a picture of your house and family, and put it up on the wall at nursery, so they can always look at "home".
Remember to always say goodbye to your child with a happy, enthusiastic voice. Let them know you look forward to seeing them shortly. "Have a lovely day, I'll see you soon and you can tell me everything about your day!"
Read more tips about preparing your child here.