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How To Settle Your Child Into Nursery School

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

The thought of your child starting nursery school can be daunting for both you and them. It’s a big step in their lives, as they begin to learn how to socialise with other children and start their educational journey. You want to make sure that they are settling well into nursery school, so here are a few tips on how you can help them do just that.

How can I encourage my toddler to settle in at the nursery?

Talk to your child about nursery

One of the best things you can do is talk to your child about nursery school beforehand. This will help them understand what to expect and get them excited about going. Explain to them who their teacher will be, what sorts of activities they’ll be doing, and anything else that you think will be helpful. Also, arrange to visit the nursery together before their first day so that they can get a feel for the environment and see all the fun things that await them there. The Flowers Day Nursery offers settling in sessions for your baby, toddler or preschooler. They normally start with you being with them for an hour, you then leaving them with us and then a session or a couple of short sessions where you drop them and go. At The Flowers, our aim is to ensure you and your child feel happy when they are with us and have no worries or concerns when they first start with us.

Prepare the night before

The night before their first day, help your toddler select the clothes they want to wear and pack their bag with any items they will need, such as a change of clothes or nappies. This will give them a sense of control and ownership over the situation. If they have a special toy or comforter then pack that with them so they know it is there for them if they need it.

Discuss them starting nursery

It's important to talk about starting nursery in a positive light with your child so that they are excited about attending. Tell them about all the fun activities they will get to do, such as painting and singing songs and all the friends they will make. Try to avoid mentioning any potential negatives, such as being away from you or having to follow rules.

Visit the nursery together

Visiting the nursery together before their first day will help your child feel more comfortable and familiar with the environment and the carers who will be looking after them. The nursery will show them where they will spend their time inside and outside, show them where they can put their bags, and where the toilets are, and introduce them to their carers and some of the other children there if they are at an age that they understand, as well as let them explore a bit on their own. This will help ease any nerves they may have about the first day as they will remember it and it won’t be an unknown to them.

Stay calm at dropoff

If you're feeling anxious about dropping your baby, toddler or preschooler off at nursery then try and hide this as it will only make the situation more difficult for them. Try to stay calm and positive, letting them know that you'll be back to pick them up later and that they will have a good day. Often if children are upset at drop off they calm down in no time and it is the parents or carers that are left worrying or wondering how they are all day.

Encourage socialisation

One of the best things about nursery is that it provides an opportunity for socialisation with other children. Try to encourage your toddler to participate in activities with their peers, such as playing games or singing songs by asking them about their day, what they loved and what they’d like to do again, and who they played with that day.

Praise their efforts

Even if your toddler isn't settling in as quickly as you thought, praise their efforts and let them know that you're really proud of them. This will help boost their confidence and motivation. Talk to their key worker who will be able to let you know how they think they're doing and what they are doing whilst they are there to support them to settle in.

Always say goodbye with a smile

On the first day of nursery, and every day, it's important to say goodbye with a smile and reassure your child that you'll be back later to pick them up. If you linger for too long, it can only make the separation more difficult and drawn out for them. Give them a hug and a kiss, tell them where you are going and that you’ll be back in a couple of hours to pick them up, and then say goodbye and leave.

How To Settle Your Child Into Nursery School

How to cope as a parent if your child isn't settling in at nursery?

If your child isn't settling in at nursery, it can be really tough as a parent. You may feel like you're failing or that you made the wrong decision in sending them there. However, it's important to remember that this is normal and that most children go through a period of adjustment when they start nursery. Here are a few tips on how to cope:

First, try not to take it personally. It's not about you, and it doesn't mean that you made the wrong decision. It's simply a process that your child has to go through in order to get used to their new surroundings, people and routine.

Secondly, always talk to the staff at the nursery. They may have some insights into what your child is going through and how you can help them to adjust and settle.

Finally, be patient and keep positive for yourself and them. It will take time for your child to settle in, but eventually, they will find their place at the nursery and will love going.

How long will it take for my child to feel settled at nursery?

This is a difficult question to answer as every child is different and will adjust to the nursery at their own pace. Some children take a few days to settle in, while others may take a few weeks. It's important to be patient and keep a positive attitude and know that eventually, however long it takes your child will find their place at the nursery.

While most children will settle in without any problems, some may experience more difficulties. Ensure you talk to the nursery carers every day to see how their day has been and if you are at all concerned about your child's wellbeing, it is important to speak to their nursery staff and monitor their behaviour closely. With support and understanding, most children will eventually find their time at nursery a positive and enjoyable experience.


Starting nursery is a big adjustment for both toddlers and parents. However, there are things you can do to ease the transition. For parents, it's important to stay calm, talk to the staff, and be patient. For toddlers, encouragement to socialise and praise them for their efforts will help them feel more comfortable in their new environment. With time and patience, both parents and children will find that nursery school is a really positive experience and time in their learning journey both socially, mentally and physically.

We offer flexible childcare solutions so if you are looking for a nursery place for your child in Swansea contact us today on 01792 46 44 45 and we can answer any questions you may have and arrange for you to come and visit us.

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