Lola’s first day at nursery was worst than her second

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From tears to running in without so much as a wave

Every parent dreads the first day when they have to leave their little one in the care of someone they don’t yet know and in a completely new environment. These little humans are about to discover a whole new world filled with other little humans, games and new experiences.

To say I was overwhelmed by the whole process would be an understatement. When we went to look at one potential nursery near our home, I burst into tears on the way home after just an idea of having to leave her there. It was a lovely setup, but something just didn’t feel right.

Then we went to look at another option and there was an instant feeling that this is the perfect space for her. We wanted a nursery that nurtured, challenged but was mainly fun.

First steps

I spent weeks mentally preparing myself for the first school gate, knowing that due to COVID-19 restrictions I won’t be able to hang around while she settles in. I also read books to Lola about the joys of going to school and she was genuinely excited about it all.

On her first day, she eagerly dressed in her uniform of navy tracksuits bottoms and jumper, layered over a blue polo top, grabbed her water bottle and hopped in the car. When we got there she was keen to explore but was suddenly aware that I wasn’t going inside with her.

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Hesitation was quickly followed by tears and after talking her through it for several minutes, the teachers suggested I stepped away and they’d take her in and show her the toys. I cried all the way home, but the staff were so understanding and gave me a phone number I could call to check in on Lola throughout the day.

They were impressed by how quickly she settled in and started engaging with activities and storytime (they have a classroom in the woods for reading and it’s so cute). When I picked her up, she was beaming from ear to ear.

Now

From the next day onwards, she virtually skips out the door ushering me to hurry up and take her to school. Every day she learns something new that she proudly tells me about when I pick her up and I couldn’t hope for anything more right now.

In fact, I now feel guilty on the days when she doesn’t have school and has to spend them with me.

Of course, every child is different and I have seen many of them hesitate every day at the school gate and I’m sure Lola will have her moments when she doesn’t want to go. What has worked for us is telling her about school beforehand, explaining that mummy and daddy are leaving but will come back to pick her up and she always has her favourite toy in the car on pick-up. Plus, I know for a fact that daddy treats her to a cupcake or a biscuit when I’m not there.

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