Our boys have started going to nursery school.
They go two mornings a week and so far it seems that everything is going very well and they love it. The one care giver wanted to know which school were they going to previously because they just fit in so easily. I’m so proud of my little boys and I’m glad that going to school is a fun experience for them.
I think the fact that they are twins helps a lot because they have each other.
Having an easy transition to going to school required a little preparation. Here are a few tips on how to make going to school a little less stressful.
- Deal with separation anxiety right from the beginning. I read that the best thing you can do when leaving your baby is give them a quick hug and kiss goodbye, tell them that you are going out but you will be back soon. Keep your tone light and cheerful even if they start crying, and then leave without any extra fuss. I also do this when I leave the room. I let the boys know where I’m going even if they are happily playing and absorbed in what they are doing. This means that they never suddenly become aware that I have left the room and freak out because I’m suddenly gone. It was hard in the beginning but now they are a lot less clingy and will let me leave the room without them following me (sometimes). Don’t get me wrong, the boys will sometimes still grab hold of my pants and demand some attention whether I’m leaving the house, going to the loo or walking to the kitchen. In cases like that I find the best way to deal with it is to sit down right where I am and let them climb into my lap for a quick hug and cuddle. Usually within a minute they are happy again and then wander off to go back to playing. I am not advocating that you remove your love and attention just because you are leaving but rather that you develop a good bye-bye routine. DON’T ever creep out of the room or draw out your goodbyes with a whole song and dance. Keep it short, sweet and happy.
- Get your little one into the school routine before they start going to school. We got the school’s daily routine and synced our boys’ routine with what they do at school. We did it for about a week before they started school so that by the time they started school they wouldn’t have to deal with a change in routine, environment and people all at once. This includes things like buying them a plastic table and chairs and moving them out of their highchairs because that is how they eat at school. Make the transition from home to school as seamless as possible.
- I arranged that their first day was on Wednesday because they have music lessons then and I know that the boys love music. I think they were so overwhelmed with all the new sights and sounds and people and things to do that they didn’t have a chance to freak out. Now this might not work for everyone, especially not it you have a touchy baby or baby with tactile defensiveness. I am lucky that our lads are pretty hardy and deal with changes in surroundings well. I think that it may also be as a result of the fact that we have exposed our boys to lots of different people and environments from very early. We have been on holiday and stayed in strange places, we left them and Angel Nanny at Ouma and Oupa for a weekend, we spend time with DW’s entire family including 6 adults, 4kids and two dogs, we go out to places where there are lots of other kids (like Irene Village Mall and let them play in the fountain) and spend time with our godsons and other kids. I really do think that early socialisation helps.
- Don’t transfer your own anxiety and reticence onto your baby. Just because you are freaking out inside at leaving your little one in the care of complete strangers, doesn’t mean that it will be horrible for them.
- Finally…research, research, and research! Find a school that you are comfortable with and research the hell out of it. Check up on teachers qualifications, check reviews of the school, check their website, check the school premises, check the teacher/helper to child ratio, check the condition of the toys, play areas and carpets, check that it is clean, check the kitchen if they will be providing food for your kids, ask your friends and neighbours for recommendations, stop and chat to the other twin mom with kids about the same age as yours in the Pick ‘n Pay, and once you are sure that is where you want to send you child go spend a day there with your little one and see how they fit in. And then finally if like me you have twins… ask them for a twin discount or if they will drop one of the twin’s registration fees. 😉 (I ask for a twin discount on absolutely everything!)
The price of day care in our area is exorbitant but I am very happy with the school that we found. I really think we found a school with great value for money that provides a full curriculum and range of fun activities. It also helps that the school is bilingual and are a few blocks from our house. They have a different building each for the babies, toddlers and young children all the way to grade R. I can see our boys staying there until they start big school.
Mommy also loves the couple hours of baby free time. Is it wrong to admit that? I find that I am so productive and get more done in those two mornings a week than I do the rest of the week when the babies are at home. Mommy loves nursery school as much as the boys do. Win win!