Cast your mind back to starting something new...

Posted by JancettNurseries on February 9, 2018


Can you remember your first day at nursery? Perhaps you're a parent who has already experienced settling their child into nursery, or maybe you and your child are about to embark on this journey?




Your child's first day at nursery is an important milestone for you as a family. A 'settling in period' enables a child to attend nursery for a short amount of time to start with, for instance a few hours a week. This can then gradually build up to attending one or serveral days a week, or to a full time place, depending on your family's needs. The settling in period is also an important time for our nursery staff who are looking forward to welcoming your child and to making the process of starting nursery as positive and natural a transition as possible for you. 





Mariam, whose daughter attends our Gaytime Day Nursery explains how she found settling her daughter into nursery in the beginning:


"My daughter started at Gaytime Day Nursery for one day a week when she turned 2. In the beginning she was naturally confused and upset about why she was going there, and I found it very hard to leave her, especially if she was crying when I dropped her off. I spoke with other mums who'd gone through this too though and reminded myself I was doing it to benefit her and help prepare her for starting school further down the line. Dropping her off in the morning was tough but I told myself to "mum up!" and knew she would be safe with the nursery staff and have lots to do as soon as I had left. Between November and now, I can already see a change in her - she is speaking more and has learnt new words. It's all positive progress, even though there can still be tears at drop-off."


On this website, Child Psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson offers the following practical tips to parents to ease settling in:


  • "Stay calm: even if you're tense on the inside at morning drop-off, try your best to appear relaxed. Your toddler can pick up on how you're feeling. So if you stay calm, he should follow suit."


  • "Talk about nursery positively: chat about nursery as much as you can at home. Tell your toddler that he’ll be safe, that the children and staff all like him, and that he’ll have great fun while he’s there."


  • "Tell your toddler that you'll be back: you know you'll pick him up at home time, but that may not be obvious to him. Explain this in a way that he can understand, such as "I'll be back after story-time"."


  • "Keep goodbyes brief: when you arrive at nursery, make the drop-off loving but quick. Find a member of staff, give your toddler a kiss and a hug goodbye, then leave. The briefer this exchange, the better."

Mariam practises the above tips and actively talks about nursery with her daughter - for example when they're in the car or at home. This way, her daughter knows when she will be going back to nursery again, and Mariam can reinforce what she is already enjoying and has to look forward to next time she goes. 


Another of our nursery parents reassures fellow mums: "the tears at drop-off are because you are there. As soon as you go, the nursery day can begin and your child will play with their friends, have fun exploring and learning, and be cared for by the nursery staff."


Every child is special and unique and, as a parent, you are the best judge of your child. Talk to your nursery key worker or manager if you have any questions about them settling in, or if you would like reasurance about how your child (or you) is feeling or coping. Staff will be happy to answer any questions and to work with you to offer advice and suggestions. 


Does a child's age make a difference to the settling in process?


One of our nursery parents, whose son is now at school, believes starting him at nursery when he was 6 months old benefitted the settling in process for both of them: "Because he was 6 months old at the time, he didn't experience the separation anxiety older children can sometimes have. A baby doesn't have the same concept of time passing as an older child has and he settled quickly into his new environment."


Having said that, every family knows when it's the right time to consider starting their child at nursery and there is never any right or wrong age to start your child. At Jancett, families can apply for a place at any age between 3 months and up to 4 years and 11 months and we can offer flexible days or sessions to work around your family requirements. 


Settling your child into nursery will be a big moment in your child's development but the transition for both of you can be made easier by following the helpful steps above that Richard Woolfson and many other early years and child experts encourage. In addition, offers a long list of practical tips for settling your child into nursery which is well worth a read, and we include information about the Settling in procedure at our nurseries in our Nursery Parent handbook. 



It can be helpful to remind ourselves that every time we embark on something new - whatever our age - there is going to be a period of adjustment. Our marketing officer can still recall the day she started primary school and how, feeling over-whelmed, her granny reassured her: "Just picture yourself a few weeks from now and how used to it all you'll be by then." 


Please do feel free to share this blog with a friend or family member who you know are about to start their child at nursery.  



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