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How can I help my child adjust to starting nursery?

Most children transition to nursery easily, though on occasion, settling into a new routine with a new caregiver in a new environment can be challenging.
Here are a few ways to help your child adjust:  

  • Have him or her visit the nursery several times for short visits before the first day. The more comfortable your toddler is with the nursery the smoother the transition is likely to be.
  • Point out structure and routine at home—for example “now it’s lunchtime, you will be eating lunch at nursery too”.
  • Teach your child simple chores that may be useful at nursery, such as packing away their toys.
  • Putting a regular bedtime in place prior to starting nursery can also be hugely beneficial to your child’s transition.
  • Read books with your child about starting nursery, and explain to them what will happen during the day at nursery.
  • Talk about friends or family who go to nursery or school and point out how much fun they are having.
  • When it is time to leave your child at nursery, reassure him or her that you will return at a specific time such as after lunch. It is perfectly all right to give your child a hug if he or she is distressed, but it may be necessary to be firm that you have to leave.

Kimberley Sheedy
CEO/Managing Partner, Starfish Lane Kids

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