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4 tips to prepare your toddler for nursery

There is a magical time in all churchgoing parents' lives when their children turn 18 months old. Now they can officially go to nursery.

For some parents, this is easier said than done. Sometimes getting a child to go to nursery is a real struggle.

With a few simple preparations, you can have your child ready for the nursery.

1. Talk about it beforehand

Just like you would for any big life event your child enters, it is important to discuss going to nursery before taking her. Have her look inside the nursery window as you point out all of the fun things the kids are doing. If you have older children, have them talk about how much they liked it, making sure to use the word "nursery" in a positive light. This will help your child have a positive tie to the word, even if your child is not yet verbal.

2. Prepare yourself

As much as you've looked forward to this day, you've likely also had a high level of anxiety, and sometimes it's the stress you bring to the situation that causes your child to be apprehensive about going.

Make sure you are calm with a warm smile both at drop-off and pickup so your child will sense this is a safe place to be.

3. Be present

No, this does not mean that you need to stay at nursery with your child. It means you shouldn’t treat the nursery like a baby-sitting service. Don’t drop your screaming child off and leave. If your child is having a hard time and is not consolable, the teacher needs to be able to reach you.

Nothing will traumatize an entire nursery more than a child who is upset and feels trapped with nowhere to go.

Being present can also mean being aware of what is going on in the nursery. Most nurseries should have windows you can look in without your child noticing. If not, don’t be afraid to ask the teacher how your child is doing so you can make the right adjustments to ensure nursery is a good experience.

4. Don’t force the issue

While the church has designated 18 months as the time a child can enter nursery, it doesn’t mean that she has to. Some children just aren't ready at that age, and that’s OK.

According to the "Behold Your Little Ones: Nursery Manual," the nursery is a place to serve the children and provide a safe, organized environment where they can learn, play and have a happy church experience.

Arianne Brown is a mother of seven young children who loves hearing and sharing stories. For more of her writings, search “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. She can be contacted at Twitter: A_Mothers_Write.