Q My three-year-old son will be returning to crèche whenever the green light is given. I'm worried how he'll cope as he has loved being at home for these months. Have you any advice on how to prepare him?
David replies: Three-year-olds live in the moment, so there is not a lot of advance preparation for change that you can give them. I think it is best to wait until close to the time, when his return there is definite and imminent, before you tell him about actually going there again. Between now and then, you might want to talk in a very general, but positive, way about the crèche, especially if he has happy memories of it, and remind him of the fun he used to have and the friends and carers that he knew there.
Perhaps the greater level of preparation is for you. How are you feeling about his return to crèche? Maybe it is exceptionally positive for you, if the burdens of work and childcare at home have been heavy. Maybe, though, it will be tinged with sadness if you know you will miss him all the more, for the time you've had with him over the last three months.
Either way, there may be a period of separation anxiety (for him or you!) that will be entirely normal and to be expected. Planning for the separation involves communicating with the crèche staff in advance, such that you can be confident they are ready to comfort and reassure him, and you can be reassured he will be well cared for if he gets distressed.
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