New Milestone: Starting Nursery – It’s Tough (On The Parents).

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I’ve bought the uniform, the name labels (although I’ve put them in a safe place and they are currently m.i.a.), new shoes, a backpack. 

If it’s on the list, she has it. 

We are ready.

Or at least, one of us is.

Every time someone mentions nursery, and it’s surprisingly often these days, Mark and I share a look… of utter terror.

I know this is often the way; that bloggers with children starting nursery or (shudder) actual school will be writing similar posts this week or next. 

It’s comforting, sort of.

But it doesn’t stop The Fear.

While some change is inevitable, Mark is worried that we will lose our happy go lucky little girl – we rather like her, it would be good if she stuck around. He also wants to carry on shielding her from emotional or physical harm (forever), which we obviously can’t do if we are not there (and which we realise is part of growing up, to some degree).

For me, it goes further.

I hated school.

Ok, maybe not all of it. Definitely high school, for all sorts of reasons, and my mum says she had to take me out of play school because I upset all the other children by sobbing my heart out each week, even if it was only for an hour.

When I think about Freya starting nursery, the weight of my unhappiness presses down on me like a physical thing. 

What sort of mother am I to start her on that path, to consign her to 13 years, at least, of misery by making her go to nursery – even if it is only two mornings a week, at first – when she doesn’t really need to? 

And then I stop.

I think.

What I have to remember is that Freya isn’t me (or Mark). 

Whatever my feelings about it I have to be entirely positive for her sake. 

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And the thing is, she is ready. 

It won’t come out of the blue, I have been preparing her. Hoping to ease her into it, giving her the skills she needs to thrive.

We’ve been walking by the nursery since she was a baby and often stop and look through the fence and watch the children play for a few minutes. The teachers even wave at her. We talk about how much fun it would be to be in there. I’ve been excitedly telling her more recently that it won’t be long before she will be allowed to stay and play with them.

When we went to the open morning she didn’t want to leave.

She is desperate to make friends. At the park she will try and play with other children, any other children no matter if they are five years older than her (and often not interested) or too young to play the games she wants. At nursery they will be her age and probably interested in the same strange, often unfathomable  games she wants to play.

We go to different places, we meet new people. I encourage her to ask questions, not to be shy. I’ve gently been teaching her about being mindful of others but to stick up for herself where appropriate.

She might not have been out of my care (or that of close family) before but I’m hopeful that, once she’s used to a new routine, she will be in her element.

I have to be confident she will.

Now, whenever anyone mentions her starting nursery, instead of bursting into tears, as I want to, I repeat a mantra in my head.

She will love it.

It’s only for a couple of hours.

She will be fine.

Plus, if she doesn’t settle after a period of time, we can try again next year.

I’m not a powerless child now, I’m an adult, a mother, and I will make it as enjoyable, positive and meaningful as I can for her.

Any other tips for surviving nursery for an anxious mum (and dad)?

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15 thoughts on “New Milestone: Starting Nursery – It’s Tough (On The Parents).

  1. Well if she’s anything like my two grandchildren, you’ll be lucky if she even waves bye when she goes running in. They both loved it and are assigned an ‘auntie’ who is responsible for just a few children all through the year so they grow quite attached. I’m sure Freya will be fine. Love that ladybird bag 🙂

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  2. I hated school too, right from the first day, and was terrified about my girl going, especially as she was very quiet and sometimes anxious. But she was fine pretty quickly, and where adjustments were needed to make her feel more comfortable, the school made them. The major factor I think is that schools are child centred now in a way that they really weren’t when I was there. They were excellent at working out what she and each of the other children needed, and putting it in place. Plus Freya LOOKS ready!
    Good luck. As you say, there are always choices.

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    1. Thank you, Caz, that so good to hear. I hadn’t really thought about how much they had changed over the years but of course they have. Her teacher even said they don’t allow children to cry for prolonged periods and if she needs to have me there for a bit of time each day to help her settle that’s fine. Hopefully it won’t come to that but it’s good to know they have her interests at heart.

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  3. I would feel exactly the same as you, as I hated school with a passion, but as you’ve already said Freya is most definitely her own person, and from all I read and see a very confident, happy and adventurous little soul! 🙂 As Caz has already said, school seems to be very different than back in ‘our day’ (how old does that make you feel! :D). I think Freya will have a blast, and you and Mark won’t be able to keep up with all the stories she’ll have to tell you of her adventures! 🙂 I look forward to reading all the tales you share! 😉

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    1. Thanks, Mands. Yes, I really hadn’t considered how different things are now. I think she will be fine and it’s only me who will struggle. Hehe. I’ll keep you posted.

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  4. You have done all the right things and said all the right stuff and she will flourish! I remember I did all those things too, telling myself the same thing, and on the first day I dropped my oldest off at preschool (nursery here in the States) I sat in my car and cried for 10 minutes before I could drive home. All the other moms walked by with nods and knowing looks. I can tell you it does gets easier and he had a fabulous first day. Although, even though that child is a 21 year old young man now, I still worry a little anytime he is out of my sight. It’s a mom thing…😊

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  5. Hi Tara, my heart goes out to you as I can still remember taking my two to their first day at nursery/ school as if it were yesterday and for my son it was sixteen years ago. It sounds as if you’ve done a good job and that Freya is more than ready to make new friends under the watchful eyes of the nursery teachers.

    The one thing I did learn (and I’m sure other parents will say the same), is that nothing is ever quite so bad for our children as we seem to imagine. It is us, the parents who are left wondering/worrying and it is the children that set our minds at rest when they come back beaming… Or at least in one piece.

    If only our children knew what they put us through!

    xx

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