Returning to work

Preparing yourself and your family for your return to work

Returning to work can be a daunting prospect so it is best to make careful preparations that will make the transition smooth. In the weeks leading up to your return to work gradually aclimatise your child to being with others for increasing time periods. This could be with grandparents, a friend or a baby minder. Take them to mother and toddler sessions or to visit friends so they get used to the company of other children.

This will help your child adjust more easily when the time comes, and help you to be more confident about leaving them in the care of others.

Two weeks before returning to work

Ideally, you should book your child into the nursery/school for their taster sessions, followed by their first scheduled week of attendance. The later should take place a week before you intend to return to work.

In these weeks you should accompany your child. Initially this may mean that you stay with them on their first day, taking part in the activities of playing with them. Gradually reduce the time you spend with them as the week progresses.

By the end of the second week, you should have reached the point where you can spend a whole working day away.

Coping during those first few weeks

Preparation is key.

Assemble their bag and your work things the night before, the least stress felt each morning the better. Settle your child in before you leave for work by giving yourself extra time, speak to your work place and try to organise a later starting time for the first week. Ask for a progress update from the early years practioners / Montessori teachers to reassure yourself of your child’s comfort level with their new environment.

Call if you have a particular concern during the day.

Try not to let your child see if you are upset. Children are sensitive to your feelings and quickly pick up on your apprehension, this may well cause them to become distressed and insecure after your departure. Always explain to your child that you will be back shortly to take them home, give them a reassuring hug but do not linger, always keep your goodbyes brief.

Lastly, try not to be too hard on yourself, your feelings are a natural reaction and it will take a time for you to adjust to balancing work and child / family responsibilities. Most parents feel a mixture of guilt and relief about returning to work. Remember that our school and nursery practitioners are experts in supporting children with their transitions. Use the My Montessori Child parent pages to log in and see your child's latest observations and photographs; these will give you reassurance and above all make you smile!