by - 02:14

Jack has been at Nursery for four weeks now and with half term quickly approaching, I thought I'd reflect on the last few weeks and how we as a family have transitioned to having a little boy at school.

Up until four weeks ago, myself and Jack had spent most of our time in each other's company. Monday through to Friday I stayed at home with him and we filled our days with crafts, soft play and parks. I've always felt the social interaction that Nursery would provide would be really beneficial for Jack however the costs of childcare meant that we just couldn't afford to send him, not even for a few half-sessions a week. Jack turned three in April meaning that this September he qualified for 30hrs free childcare a week. We decided to only send him in for 15hrs a week and have really found that to be a good balance.

Jack's nursery is absolutely lovely. With wonderful outdoor areas, a lovely forest school and toys galore, I immediately felt really positive about sending him. He settled in very quickly initially and in actual fact I'm certain that on that first session I was the only person to shed any tears. The first few weeks were absolutely fine and then suddenly something just changed. Separation Anxiety started.

Jack suddenly became very clingy. He didn't want me to leave the room that he was in and even cried when he was dropped at his Nan and Grandad's house. After talking to family and friends and using Google to try and find an answer, I realised he was in the midst of a phase of Separation Anxiety. After one horrific school drop off where he screamed and cried as I left him, I decided I needed to take action. On that particular day he had to be consoled by the teacher as he had got himself into a huge state about me leaving. As a parent, it's never nice to leave your child in that state and I remember just about holding it together in front of him but crying as soon as I was out of sight. A week on from this traumatic drop off we seem to have emerged from the other side. Jack has stopped telling me he doesn't want to go to school and with a structure in place goes into Nursery quite happily. This phase could at some point return but I feel I can now combat it. 

I'm sure that some of you reading this may have already gone through this with your child. I honestly felt at the time like I was the only one but after speaking to other parents, I realised I was not alone. If your still going through this then I really hope your child settles soon. I've listed below some of the things I did to help Jack settle. 

Tips For Overcoming Separation Anxiety at Nursery
  • Be positive - I have made a real effort to use very positive language when talking about Nursery. I've talked about the amazing toys at Nursery and have focused in on the things that Jack loves doing.
  • Use your key worker - For us, communication with Jack's key worker was key. I actually started sending in arts/crafts that we did at home into school with Jack so that he could share these with his key worker. This really worked for us as Jack had less time to focus on his Separation Anxiety as he was sharing his work with his teacher.
  • Say goodbye - Myself and Jack now have a routine in place in terms of saying goodbye to each at Nursery. We high five, hug and make sure that we tell each other that we love each other and then we say bye-bye. This helps Jack know exactly what to expect when I drop him off.
  • Make sure that they are getting enough sleep - I moved Jack's bedtime to a slightly earlier time. Going from a 7pm bedtime to a 6:30pm bedtime has made a real difference to Jack's mood in the morning.
  • Make your child a special helper - Jack helps me a lot in the morning. Getting him involved in making breakfast and packing his school bag has kept him really involved and busy in the mornings.

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