Welcome to our column which looks at nursery education and child development written by Kate Plews – an experienced Health Visitor and MD of Sunbeams Nurseries. Kate will use her wealth of knowledge and experience working with families and children to bring advice to our readers on many different topics. This month, she gives some tips on Separation Anxiety – leaving your child at nursery for the first time.
Understandably, this can be a stressful experience for parents, but a good quality nursery will make sure it’s not. Leaving your child, particularly a baby, for the first time can be heart-breaking to a new mother and father. You will be experiencing all sorts of emotions.
Many parents are also deeply concerned about finer details, many of which they don’t feel comfortable discussing with their chosen childcare provider. Concerns that we have come across previously from parents are:-
• “My child only sleeps when he’s being cuddled’
• “My baby is only calmed when she’s carried in her sling’.
• “My toddler hasn’t really got a routine; he just naps when he’s tired’.
• “My baby is breastfed and won’t take milk from a bottle’
Research has shown that separation anxiety in a baby occurs at around 7-10 months old and children are more susceptible to parents’ feelings before they become verbal. .
You can help the process of separation by
• Practice separation. In the months or weeks leading up to your child’s first day at nursery try leaving your child with a family member or friend just for brief periods to start the introduction to both you and your child of the separation.
• Schedule separations after sleep times or feedings. Babies and young children find it much more difficult to separate from their parent when they are tired or hungry. If your child is content they will settle much better. Bear this in mind when booking your settling in sessions with the nursery.
• Develop a “goodbye” routine. Routines are reassuring and can be as simple as a special wave through the window or a goodbye kiss.
• Leave without fanfare. Tell your child you are leaving and that you will return for them, then go —don’t stall – this stalling will give your child mixed signals and break them from their routine.
• Try not to give in. Reassure your child that he or she will be just fine.
• Use a transitional object – Transitional objects are great and are often used to help the child settle. Transitional objects can be any type of comforter from home that the child has formed an attachment with, for example a blanket, a teddy bear, a muslin square.
Our staff at Sunbeams are experienced enough to realise that your feelings are very real and valid, and we try to acknowledge, rather than try to silence them. Only then is it possible to move on to the ultimate goal – that of a truly happy child and parent.
Sunbeams is having an open day at our newest nursery Thorpe Park on the 5th & 6th of this month you are welcome to come have a chat and let your child experience our Nursery. If you are unable to make this we are as with all our nurseries happy for you to call in anytime.
For more details on our nurseries Sunbeams, visit or our Facebook page.
Address and Telephone numbers for all our 4 nurseries are as follows :
Sunbeams (Halton)
17 Field End Gardens
LS15 0QD
Tel: 0113 260 6957
Sunbeams (Leeds)
Austhorpe Lane
Austhorpe Leeds
LS15 8TP
Tel: 0113 264 0779
Sunbeams (Harrogate)
Ainsty Road
Tel: 01423 526204
Sunbeams (Thorpe Park) –
Opens October 2016
Barrowby Carr Cottage,
Barrowby Carr Drive,
Leeds, LS15 8FB.
Tel 07738 948475 or 07738 948477.

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