Going to nursery for the first time?
With these tips, your baby will soon feel at home in the group.
Your baby will soon be going to nursery for the first time. This is a big step for both of you, a few hours or whole day without each other! It is a huge vote of confidence in the nursery of your choice, as well. We have a few tips to help make this transition as pleasant and smooth as possible. The first months together with your new-born are very special; it’s a time for bonding and showering your baby with lots of love and attention. Perhaps you kept your baby’s world small to give them a good start. Your baby needs your help now to make the transition to group day-care as easy as possible.
Getting used to new sights, smells and sounds
Being at nursery can take some getting used to for a baby. The senses are stimulated more than at home. There are different smells and more ambient sounds. Contact with other children may also cause more stimuli than they are used to. We would like to guide you in how you can prepare your baby at home in the run-up to nursery, so that the transition will be a little less overwhelming and your baby can get adapt quickly and pleasantly.
When your baby arrives at nursery, they will often have their own feeding and sleeping times. It can take some time, but together with you we develop a good rhythm that works both at home and at nursery. Because nursery is a different environment from home, your baby’s rhythm may change somewhat. They may be tired or want a bottle earlier than usual due to the extra stimuli, for example.
At Hero, we work with a child-centred approach. This means that we adapt to your child’s needs as much as possible. Recognising and following their needs ensures they feel safe with the people around them: they see what I need and they give it to me. By paying attention to a child’s signals and acting on them, the child will trust us to be there for them.
Example: If we see that they are getting tired, we respond by putting them to bed. The same applies when a child is hungry or no longer wants to play. We may then choose to give a bottle earlier than the scheduled time. In the first year, the staff will be in close contact with you about this. We believe that, as partners in parenting, we care for your child’s wellbeing together. In consultation with you as a parent, we try to find the balance between child-centred work and the parents’ wishes, with the main aim of making the child feel seen and heard.
Within the group, we try to give children as much undivided attention as possible. This means that the staff member has many one-on-one moments with your child throughout the day. This ensures that a child can recharge to be able to play independently on the mat or in the playpen. Playing independently and lying on their back is an important step in successfully adapting to nursery. When babies are awake, we sit on the floor right next to them to keep in touch. It is therefore a good idea to practise playing on a mat or in a playpen at home so that your baby gets used to it.
TIP! Practise playing on a mat or in a playpen
Put your baby on their back and sit next to the mat or playpen. Does your baby find it difficult at first? By talking to them, singing or offering them a toy, you can extend the moment and make it more enjoyable. This will also give your baby a chance to move more and allow them to develop. Think about learning to roll over; this is only possible if they regularly lie on their back or tummy instead of in a rocker or sling. Hero does not use slings or baby carriers. For a baby who is used to being carried in a sling or carrier a lot during the day, the transition to nursery may be bigger. Try to alternate carrying and independent play on their back or belly.
Offering a bottle
If your baby is used to exclusively breastfeeding, suddenly switching to the bottle can be tricky. To make the transition easier, we recommend starting with this at home a few weeks before their first nursery visit. Regularly pump and offer your baby a bottle, or have someone else offer it for you.
Sleeping and swaddling
The children at nursery sleep in beds in the bedrooms. Because several children sleep at the same time in the same bedroom, there will be more stimuli and falling asleep independently will be different than at home. With regard to swaddling, we are bound by safety guidelines. This means that children are not allowed to be swaddled and/or in any way confined to a bed at our facilities. If a child is used to sleeping in a swaddle at home, the transition to sleeping without can take time. Getting used to independent play, the bottle and falling asleep on their own at home in advance will make the transition to day-care a lot easier for your baby.
TIP! Practise independent sleeping
If your baby does not yet sleep in a bed (during the day), it’s a good idea to start practicing this at home. It can be helpful to start phasing out rocking and swaddling at home as well. In a familiar environment with familiar sounds and smells, it is easier for a child to get used to something new, like sleeping without a swaddle in a bed. At nursery, sleeping in a bed will then feel more familiar and the transition will be easier.
Looking for expert child-centred care for your baby?
The first 1,000 days (from conception to two years of age) are very important for your baby’s development and attachment. This is why we at Hero invest in the expertise of our educational staff. As caregivers, they can significantly contribute to your baby’s development of a basic sense of safety (I am safe and the world around me is safe). We frequently make use of video images during training sessions and consultations to examine the connection and interaction between staff member and children, and a lot of attention is paid to knowledge about babies’ development.
Hero has around 85 day-care locations in Haarlem and Spaarndam, each with its own unique atmosphere, so there is always one nearby that will suit you. Take a look at our website for more information and to find a day-care centre near you. Still have a question? Feel free to contact the location of your choice.