Starting or Returning to Nursery After Lockdown
Sending your child to nursery when their first couple of years in life have been in lockdown with little to no social interaction with other children might be a challenge. But Rageena Tahir, Head of Education at Fennies Nurseries has some tips on how you can spot possible signs of anxiety that can help you help your children.
Lockdown is something that no one could have predicted and whilst it’s been great to be able to spend some extra time with our families, in some cases the pandemic has meant that our mental health has taken a hit. This can be especially difficult as restrictions are now lifting and life is slowly returning back to some form of normality. Whilst you could be finding this difficult to navigate, it’s important to remember that our children may be feeling exactly the same and just how important it is to be spotting signs of anxiety in your child early on.
It’s important to remember that a variety of different things come into play in terms of dealing with anxiety in children. For example, you may have two children from the same household who deal with returning to normality a completely different experience. We’d like to share some of the signs to look out for and some of the things we did to support children as lockdown ends.
Your child becomes easily overwhelmed during tasks
If you notice your child is becoming overwhelmed by tasks, they would usually complete with ease, this could be a symptom of anxiety and stress. Look out for signs of fidgeting, unexpected reactions, or becoming upset.
If you see this happening regularly, it’s important to offer reassurance through speaking calmly or offering assistance. This will comfort your child and create a space where they feel as though they can express and communicate how they’re feeling. Also keeping routines at home similar to your child’s nursery routine can be beneficial as the consistency can ease uneasy feelings or agitation.
At Fennies, key people spend time with each of their children enabling them to form secure attachments. This relationship provides children with a sense of safety and stability, giving them a base they can go to for reassurance and support should they feel overwhelmed at any point.
Changes in behaviour
Changes in behaviour can manifest in the form of hyperactivity, aggression, and lack of motivation or enthusiasm. You may notice your child can become withdrawn during activities or when interacting with their peers.
This behaviour can often arise if a child doesn’t know what to expect and you can prevent this by talking to your child about nursery in a positive way. During lockdown, Fennies made sure to keep a link with children and families who were at home by arranging video calls with them. This ensured that children remained familiar with the nursery environment, staff and their peers who were still attending.
As well as this, parents were asked to share their child’s interests with their key workers so that they could develop learning activities inspired by this. These activity ideas were sent home for the children to enjoy with their families and also helped maintain their enthusiasm for when they were coming back to nursery. This proved to be a great way to minimize the potential anxiety they may have been feeling when they were due to return.
Throughout lockdown, babies and toddlers have spent almost all day everyday with their parents or carers therefore as things start to go back to normal and you return to work, this may be a big adjustment for your little one. Dropping your child off at nursery could be making your child anxious even if they’re not displaying obvious signs of being upset.
We’ve learnt that sharing pictures of the children’s environment and activities with parents to show their child before they arrive at nursery can build their excitement about returning.
Our parents were asked to share what they’d been up to outside of nursery so that key people could chat with children about this on their return. Children love this and have excitedly shared stories of their ‘adventures’ at home which has instantly put them at ease when returning to nursery.
To find out more about Fennies or to book a tour, visit: https://fennies.com
Author- Rageena Tahir, Head of Education