Hellos and goodbyes for the start of nursery school

The start of nursery school is often as traumatic for the parents as it is for the child… And moms and dads don’t have new friends and toys to distract them! As difficult as they can be, hellos and goodbyes are an important life lesson for your child. It teaches them how to separate from and reunite with important people in their lives.

Someone once said, “Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes”. For many children, the first day of  nursery school is one of their earliest experiences of trying to understand what this really means.

“Learning to say hello and goodbye to people we love is a process. It’s not a goal to be achieved in the first week, month, or even year, of your child’s school life.” The Creative Curriculum for Infants & Toddlers.

In fact, hellos and goodbyes will be a major part of your child’s life, today and always.

“Teaching your child about hellos and goodbyes from an early age will not only ease their anxiety on the first day of nursery school. It prepares them for a lifetime of building and maintaining long-term relationships,” says Liz Senior. Liz is the Occupational Therapist and Founder of Clamber Club.

No matter how much practice we’ve had, saying goodbye can be very upsetting and stir up deep feelings. “These feelings, combined with your child’s stage of development and other factors such as being hungry or tired, can make saying hello or goodbye difficult at times.” The Creative Curriculum for Infants & Toddlers.

“For some children, the transition from leaving mom and dad and going to school can be quite overwhelming. For others, it’s a lot easier and they happily wave goodbye,” says Michelle Mendonça, Klerksdorp franchisee of Clamber Club Toddlers and Playschool.

She offers these tips to help prepare your child for nursery school
  • Practise separation. Leave your child with others for short periods of time. They will soon learn that you will return and adjust to being apart from you.
  • Familiar surroundings. Try to enrol your child in a school where they already know some of the other children.
  • Get to know the teacher. Take your child to meet their new teacher, explore the school and play in the playground.
  • Reassurance. Reassure your child that it is okay to be scared… But promise them that you will be there to pick them up in a few hours. Explain that the teacher will always be available should they need to ask for help.
  • Be positive. Always speak about school in a positive manner. Never use school or the teacher as a threat or punishment.
  • Personalised suitcase and lunchbox. Choosing their own suitcase can help get them excited. Fill their lunchbox with food you know they like. Pack everything they need is in their bag An extra set of clothes, their special blankie or toy, pacifier, etc.
  • Create a hello and goodbye ritual: This may be as simple as walking to the door with your child or giving them a giant hug before you leave. Having a ritual offers you both the comfort of knowing what to do.
  • Quick goodbyes: Give them a quick hug, tell them you love them, and then leave them in the hands of their new loving teacher. Even if there are tears, don’t linger, it just makes it more difficult for parent, child and teacher.
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” – Ann Landers.

*You can find more excellent articles from Clamber Club here.

*To find out more about Clamber Club, click here.

2 Comments
  1. I have 2year old twin girls that going to creche this year and I’m greatfull for all the tips thank u for sharing 🙂

    1. Best of luck to you mama! At first, you will feel bad and it will be hard, BUT that little bit of time away from you will be so good for you all. I can’t believe this time last year I was in tears leaving her and now I cannot wait for the schools to go back 😉

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