Baby girl's been going to nursery for about six weeks now. Childcare is a very personal choice and although I am very happy with the (same) nursery we have chosen for our son and baby girl, I totally understand that this environment won't work for some families.
Having settled two children into nursery now, I've had different experiences. I found it easy with our son, and harder with baby girl; so I thought I'd share some hints and tips about what worked and what didn't both times round.
These are just my opinion... and I'm sure there are others out there too. I'd love you to leave a comment if you have any others.
First thing's first, you have to be both committed to leaving your child and happy with your nursery choice. Without either of these, the whole transition thing will be LOTS harder, and your child I'm sure, will know that your resolve is not fully there.
Get everything ready the night before. Make sure nursery bag has a
change of clothes, nappies, wipes, cream, sun hat, favourite cuddly etc
the night before. Try and remove as much stress as possible from the
morning, to avoid stressing baby too.
Spend time at nursery with your baby. I made the mistake of thinking
that during the first settling in session I should leave quickly - it
didn't work. At all. Spend time there and show your baby the toys and books,
they will feel happier settling in for at least a little while, with
Could someone other than the primary care giver (in our case, me) drop your child off? I'm not suggesting Dad's don't love their children just as much as Mum's, but sometimes they are less affected by crying (especially at 2am when they don't even wake up) and find it easier to walk away. In our case, baby girl's Dad tends to be much quicker at handover and there's less time for baby girl to realise and get upset about being left.
If there's space on a wall to display one, take along a family picture of you with baby so that baby can see you all, even if you're not there. They'll appreciate seeing it in the (at least initially) unfamiliar setting.
Hand baby over to someone, or something. Before you leave, make sure they're engaged in an activity - eating breakfast, reading, anything.... there's nothing worse for parent or baby than a child sobbing over a gate watching you leave.
If you're feeling wobbly when you leave, take a deep breath and try and zoom out to the bigger picture. Our son went to nursery full time for nearly four years. He can't remember ever crying, falling over or being disciplined at nursery (and he definitely did all three!). He smiles whenever he talks about it because he made some great friends, had loads of fun and learnt loads there. Oh, and he got lots of coughs and colds out of the way before school too. They won't remember this phase - I promise.
Enjoy your hot drink, adult conversation and going to the loo in private while they're at nursery. And then, give them a massive hug when you see them again. It's all good.