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Nursery child playing with teacher

How To Help Settle Your Child Into Nursery

19 February 2024

As a parent, handing over the responsibility of your little one to someone else is a huge step, and whilst you can research and find the perfect nursery suited to your needs - one where you feel secure and welcome - the reality of actually leaving your child can be overwhelming.

It is important to realise that you are not alone and everyone feels a degree of nerves when taking this huge step. Although we can often see the benefits weeks down the line, the prospect of the first few days can be anxious, raising many questions as to whether they will be ok; what happens if they cry; whether the setting will provide consistent care, and so on.

In most cases, the emotional build up to the first day at nursery is much tougher than the reality of it.

The key to developing a strong, successful relationship with your nursery and the practitioners is open communication and mutual respect. This will enable a trusted relationship to develop, allowing you to feel comforted by the setting and the choice you have made.

Your relationship and that ‘feeling’ should be evident right from your first tour. Some liken finding the right nursery to buying a house; ‘you just know it’s the one’. It is important to take your child with you on nursery tours, as seeing how they react to a setting will be invaluable in choosing the right nursery for them and you.

It is also important to ask all the questions you want - no matter how silly they seem, as it is this knowledge and the reassurance that comes with it that will help you to feel fully involved and understanding of how the nursery operates.

Settling-in sessions prior to a start date should be scheduled ideally no more than a week before, ensuring that your child is still familiar with the environment on their first day.

Settling-in sessions are your opportunity to share information about your child. Things like;


Following the same routine at nursery and home will allow the child to feel secure and settled as they will be able to anticipate what is coming next and this will provide familiarity and reassurance.

Favourite Activities

Sharing an insight into what your child likes and dislikes will aid a smooth transition as practitioners will be able to provide these activities and experiences at nursery, strengthening the bond between the child and the practitioner.

Current Development Milestones

Entry tracking is completed at settling-in sessions which allows the practitioners to gain an insight into where your child is developmentally, so ensuring they can plan activities and experiences that are exciting and achievable.

How They Like to Sleep/Be Comforted

This key information will provide a link between nursery and home and allow your child to be comforted and reassured during key times.

When sharing information, it is important to remember that if you are thinking about it, ask about it; being open and sharing your fears or concerns will reduce your worries and increase their comfort.

Parents and practitioners have a shared interest in settling and reassuring children, and by working together the experience can be a positive one.

Once you have found the nursery for you, be sure to share this with your child; talk about all the wonderful things they are going to experience and get them excited about what fun awaits them. Encourage your child to be part of the process, involve them in getting a new nursery bag or the items required.

Most nurseries have a website which will showcase the setting, the classrooms, the gardens and the staff. By sharing this with your child, they will become familiar with the nursery and know what to expect.

Leading up to the big day, it can be useful to do the journey a few times to build up a sense of familiarity and allow them to understand their surroundings.

During those first few days, it is important not to show your concerns, as your child will pick up on this. Instead, try to focus on the exciting times ahead. In the beginning, children’s nerves may be channelled through tears, shyness or excitability; all of which are normal; realising and experiencing these emotions are all part of growing up and understanding who we are as individuals.

The benefits of attending a nursery that provides invaluable early years experiences, far outweigh any initial teething troubles; seeing the smile on your child’s face when you collect them is the biggest reward of all.

Do You Require a Nursery or Preschool?

Are you looking for a nursery or preschool near the following areas; Kenley, Sanderstead, Coulsdon, Warlingham, Riddlesdown, South Croydon, Whyteleafe or Purley? Get in touch with us so we can discuss your requirements; we’re here to answer any questions you may have.