Starting nursery is going to be daunting for you and your child but there are ways to ease the separation anxiety – here are 10 questions to ask your child’s key person
It can be a daunting process sending your child off to nursery. And you’ll likely have concerns over what and how your child is doing while they are away from you. But luckily there is a framework in place to help put your mind at ease.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5-years-old. It takes into consideration all aspects of development from communication and language, to literacy, mathematics and personal, social and emotional skills.
Part of the framework ensures that every child is appointed with a key person. And this individual will provide tailored care and support to your child. Plus, they will provide regular updates about development and activities.
We’ve put together the following list of questions to ask your child’s key person. Hopefully, they’ll help put your mind at ease when they do finally head off to nursery.
1. What is your role?
When your child starts nursery, you will be introduced to their key person. This is the time to start to get to know who they are and to ask them what they understand their role to be. This way, if you have any concerns you can raise them with the nursery manager before your child becomes too attached.
2. How many other children are you looking after?
According to the EYFS, each key person should have a maximum of three children under two, and four children over two. So this way you can be sure the nursery is following the correct procedure and your child is getting the appropriate amount of attention.
3. Is she settling?
If you find your child is upset at drop off regularly, try not to worry. There will be instances when your child will cry as you hand them over but as soon as you have left the building they settle in to eating a piece of toast or playing in the sandpit. Your key person will be able to share this with you and also provide photos of your child enjoying activities.
4. What is her daily routine?
Your key person should complete a daily activity report for your child. This will be a detailed run down of exactly what your child has been up to during the day – it will have everything from toys they have enjoyed playing with to group activities, meals, toilet trips and even little quotes they have said throughout the day. Not only does this give you piece of mind, it helps guide you when asking your child about their day.
5. What foods is she eating?
It’s not unusual for a young child to be fussy at home, so when your key person tells you she has eaten everything on the menu with no complaints – from broccoli to chicken pie – you might feel a little dubious. But children have a tendency to forget all those food woes when they get into the environment of a nursery. Ask your key person what foods they are particularly fond of and then try and introduce these at home too.
6. Does she mix well with other children?
You can drive yourself crazy thinking about how well your child is fitting in at nursery – from how many friends they have to whether they are sharing toys and participating in group activities. Your key person can tell you exactly how they are mixing with the other children. Don’t be alarmed if they like to play on their own as well. It’s actually a good thing to be content playing solo as well as with other children.
7. What are her favourite things do at nursery?
Ask your key person what your child enjoys doing while they are at nursery, so you can try and create some of the activities at home too. Do they prefer circle time singing songs and clapping hands, or are they eager to get outdoors and play in the soil making mud pies? You might find they surprise you with the answers. It doesn’t mean you don’t know your child’s likes and dislikes, but the nursery environment gives them the perfect opportunity to explore new activities every day.
8. Will there be a parents’ evening?
Most nurseries will hold one or more parents’ evenings at some point during the year. These may be run as drop in sessions during the day or as out of hours appointments. They offer a really detailed insight into your child’s development so it’s good to know as early on as possible when they are likely to be so that you can plan them into your own schedule.
9. Is there anything we can do at home to support development?
Your key person will be able to suggest activities at home that you can do to aid in your child’s development. While nursery is important, it is much more successful if you support their learning at home. Ideas might include reading, drawing sessions, crafts and cooking.
10. Thank you
This isn’t a question, of course, but your child’s key person will spend a lot of time nurturing and caring for your child. They will support them on everything from toilet training to speech and social skills, so saying thank you is a nice way to show your appreciation.