Settling your child at Little Stars
We want children to feel safe, stimulated and happy in the setting and to feel secure and comfortable with staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children’s well being and their role as active partners with the setting. We aim to make the setting a welcoming place where children settle quickly and easily because consideration has been given to the individual needs and circumstances of children and their families.
Visiting a few times before actually leaving your child is essential. It allows your child to become familiar with the new surroundings and get to know the staff. When a child starts to attend, we explain the process of settling-in with his/her parents and jointly decide on the best way to help the child to settle into the setting.
We allocate a key person to each child and his/her family before she/he starts to attend; the key person welcomes and looks after the child and his/her parents at the child’s first session and during the settling-in process.
We can arrange an ‘all about me’ meeting with the child’s key person within the setting, to ensure all relevant information about the child can be made known.
Give it Time
We have an expectation that the parent, carer or close relative, will stay for most of the session(s) during the first week, gradually taking time away from their child, increasing this as and when the child is able to cope.
While it is important that you should stay during the first visits, aim bit by bit to physically distance yourself from your child by, for example, wandering to the edge of the room and picking up a book or talking to another parent. You might start by telling your child that you want to go to another room for a couple of minutes and then return. Then keep building up the amount of time.
Taking the Cue
Children are programmed to pick up on your reactions. If children notice that parents smile and are relaxed in the company of staff, they will take this as a cue that it is fine to stay.
They will also notice if parents are anxious and may respond by becoming fearful and clingy.
Try hard to remain calm and positive as this will rub off on your child.
Going at Different Speeds
Most parents wonder how quickly they can leave their child – it depends on the individual child.
Younger children will take longer to settle in, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home. Children who have had had a period of absence may also need their parent to be on hand to re-settle them.
Children who are used to being left with relatives and friends may be quicker to settle but it is not a race.
Sneaking off if your child is happily playing may seem like a good idea but in the longer term it can cause quite a few problems.
When parents leave, we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back, and when. Having a ‘goodbye’ routine lets your child know that you are going, but they can be confident that you will always come back.
We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child’s distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting.