Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Attachment when a child first starts a childcare setting

This was a guest post I wrote for Monster Mummies
Before I became a parent I was a nursery nurse in a private day nursery and observed lots of different reactions to a child starting at the setting. Only now I can see both the parents point of view as well as the staff's.

All children are different and we never really know how they will react until they start. What is great about a child care setting is that there is approximately two visits prior so the parent can stay with their child if they wish. The visit sessions are there to give both the children and their parents an insight into the daily routines in that setting as well as getting to know the staff, children and the environment.

In nurseries and preschools a child will be given a key worker who will get to know the child well. They will form a warm relationship which will make the initial separation each session easier for all. The key worker is the person who the parent can speak too if they have any issues or concerns about their child. From my experience as a key worker sometimes the child can choose their key person as they feel safe with another member of staff. As a nursery nurse I had certain children that would happily come to me from their parents arms and not to another member of staff and vice versa.

When starting a new setting children can have a mixture of emotions. They can be shy, scared, happy, sad or excited. It is great when they settle quickly but this doesn't always happen which is common. I have witnessed children run into the nursery like the child had always been there and other children that did not want to leave their parents side. This is a natural reaction as a baby or child has been with their parent and family for all their life and there care and attention is all they know Attachment to the parent is a very strong and precious thing. As we have to learn independence, going into a child care setting is what a child needs to grow and learn for his or her own development.

Parents naturally have an attachment to their child also. As a nursery nurse I did not understand this, why would I. I thought I did at the time but unless you are a parent you do not have any personal experience of the love a parent has towards their child and how special their child is. I have watched parents be confident and drop their child off and most of the time that child was confident also. However I have seen parents burst into tears as they didn't want to give up their precious time they have with their child and unfortunately they had to go back to work. I did notice that the children took a long time to settle, this is just from my personal experience.

When my daughter was due to start preschool I had heard so many great things about the local setting and I took a look around. I did compare it to where I had worked and her dad thought I was just being picky but I had a gut feeling that I wasn't happy with the environment and staff. On her first visit I did not bond well with the staff and I felt like my daughters needs at the time were not going to be met. I was unhappy all the time she was on the visit and was anxious with her in their care. I did have an attachment issue but for the right reasons. I did move her to another setting and both my daughter and I are happy. She loves the staff and the children and I feel relaxed that she is well cared and looked after.

To help with any attachment issues my main advice would be to find the right nursery for you and your child. Go and visit as many settings that are optional for you, do you like the environment? Does you child seem relaxed? Do you both warm to the staff? Does you're child happily walk off or play with toys or other children? You have to like the feel of the environment as more often than not your mother/father instincts are important and right. Try and ask as many questions as you can when you first look around the setting, this will help you decide.

A parent can help their child learn how to be social by taking the child to the local baby/toddler groups, the sure start centre's or other groups so you're child can learn to interact with other children and adults. If a child is about to start preschool a great idea is to borrow a book from the library about a child starting preschool too for the first time and talk about how fun it will be. Books are great to help children understand new experiences.

My advice for the first day at the setting is to make sure the child understands that the parent will return. The child may not react well but when the parent does return the trust will begin. If a child has a comforter, taking it with them to help ease their anxiety, having something that reminds them about home will help the separation. When arriving at the setting if the parent can be calm and confident this will help as the child will pick up on any sadness and worry and react the same. The key worker will come over to the parent and child and will give the child a cuddle or sit down and interact with them as well as making sure the child understands the parent will return. The parent could wait outside the room and wait until they know they are happy which makes the parent feel relaxed. If a child is upset 9 times out of 10 within 20 minutes they are enjoying there time. A key worker or supervisor should say they will give the parent a call when their child is happy or ask to call if the parent want to check how your child is doing.

Attachment for both the child and the parent is natural and once everyone is used to the new environment and the new people a child care setting is a great place for a child to be part of to grow and develop. Life is all about learning new experiences.

1 comment:

  1. My 2 year old is due to start nursery in September so I found this really intresting :)


We Love comments and always reply! If you leave a blog link or twitter name I will come and say hello.
Victoria xx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...