Your Essential Starting Nursery Checklist: Setting Your Child Up for Success

5 Apr 2024

Your Essential Starting Nursery Checklist: Setting Your Child Up for Success

Embarking on the journey of sending your child to nursery can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. To ensure a smooth transition and a positive experience for both you and your young child, we at Grandir UK are here to guide you through the essential steps with our starting nursery checklist. Whether you’re preparing your child for their first day at nursery or seeking reassurance along the way, this ultimate checklist will help ease any uncertainties and set the stage for a successful nursery experience.

Preparing Your Child Emotionally for Nursery

Introducing the idea of nursery

The first step to prepare your child for nursery is to gently introduce the idea to them. Do you remember your time at nursery when you were that age? Talk about nursery in a positive light, as something exciting and enjoyable. Tell your child fun stories about your time at nursery – the fun games you played, the activities you enjoyed and all the special friends you made. A good way of familiarising your child with the concept of nursery and a nursery environment, is to read them a story about starting nursery for the first time. If you can, it is a good idea to get a storybook about nursery a few weeks before your little one starts, and make it part of their bedtime routine. Find some suggested books here.

Familiarising with Routine

Beforeradually introduce routines at home to help your child feel more comfortable with the structure they’ll experience at nursery. Wake your little one early and get them ready for their day, try get them out the house, set up play dates with other children, and set up a schedule for snack times, nap times, and play times, and try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency will help your child feel secure and prepared for what’s to come as they begin nursery.

Addressing Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is common among young children, but there are strategies you can use to help ease your child’s transition. Start by practicing short separations at home, gradually increasing the time apart. move on to small play dates with family members and friends and pop out to the shops, make these little outings a little longer each time. Reassure your child that you’ll always come back for them. Talk about the fun activities they will get to do at nursery.

Organising Essentials

Children playing when starting nursery

What to wear

Make sure your child wears clothes that you are happy to get dirty during any outdoor or messy play (and maybe add a spare change or two!), and make sure they wear comfortable shoes. Your little one’s day will be jam packed full of adventure, and you wouldn’t want their best clothes to be destroyed in the process so make sure you have selected nursery clothes perfect for these situations.

Packing a Nursery Bag

What do you need to pack for a day when you start nursery? This will depend if you are sending your baby or toddler to school. Either way, the perfect way to start your day is by being organised to avoid any unnecessary stress in the mornings. You will need a nursery bag with all the essentials, think about what you take on a day out. It’s a great idea to make it fun. Pack one of their favourite bags with all the items they will need, clothes, a fun water bottle to stay hydrated, outdoor shoes or wellies for outdoor play, sun cream and a sun hat in the summer. Make sure your child takes something to comfort them, a blanket, favourite sleeping bag, special toy or teddy. Check the list with the school as every nursery school has different requirements depending on what they offer but here is a basic list to get you started:

  1. Bag
  2. Spare change of clothes
  3. Spare pants if your little one is toilet trained
  4. Nappies and wipes and nappy sacks if your child is not toilet trained
  5. Outdoor shoes
  6. Sun cream and sun hat for hot weather and sunny days (more about sun safety)
  7. Raincoat and wellies for rainy days
  8. Warm coat in winter
  9. Special toy, comfort blanket or favourite teddy (only in the beginning)
  10. Food and snacks
  11. Sterilised bottles and measured formula if required

Some nursery essentials, such as nappies, wipes, food and snacks, are supplied by nurseries so check this with your nursery or preschool. You may also want to pack your own food, snacks if your child suffers or your own wipes if your child has sensitive skin. Some items may seem obvious but making sure you are prepared and organised creates a stress free environment and makes it easier for everyone. There will be items in your child’s bag that you need to pack daily, seasonally for winter or summer months, and other items that can always remain in the nursery bag. Speak to your nursery and find out if you could store some of these items at the nursery, rather than having to carry them up and down every day. This may not be the ultimate checklist but most items we think you need to pack, so discuss all these requirements with your new nursery or preschool to make sure you do not forget something your little one may need to pack.

Communicating with Nursery Staff

Open communication with nursery staff

Establishing Open Communication

Building a strong relationship with nursery staff is crucial for both you and your little one. Be honest and open about what your child will need, and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or additional assistance. Whether this be special needs, allergies, or concerns, it’s important to discuss them with nursery staff upfront. This will allow the staff to make any necessary accommodations and ensure that your child’s needs are met. Find out how your child’s nursery communicates with parents, how do they share information about the school events and specifically about your child.

Attending Orientation Sessions

Encouragement to attend nursery orientation sessions to familiarize yourself with staff, policies, and procedures.

Attending Open Days/Booking a Visit

It sounds obvious, but we recommend you book a visit, not only is it good to meet people in the flesh, but it also makes things a lot easier on both you and your little one during the transition period, by seeing a familiar face and place when you drop them off for their first day.

You also can peek into all our different rooms and play areas! From our babies, toddlers, and pre-school rooms to our gardens and kitchens.

By coming along for a visit, you get to take in the environment and envisage the place where your child will develop and grow over the next few years.

You can also to speak to our helpful parent engagement team on 0800 028 4500 any time between 8.30 am – 6.30 pm. Or you can send them an email on [email protected] with any queries, or if you would like to book a visit.

Creating a Smooth Transition

Setting in session at nursery

Settling In Sessions

Any good nursery will offer settling in sessions which take place over a few days, we highly recommend these sessions. They offer a slow introduction into a nursery day which is only an hour or so at a time, and will help your child get familiar with the setting, they will get to know their key worker and even make a few friends. This will ensure that they are not overwhelmed by a full day to start. Chat to your child’s nursery about what they offer and how best it will suit your child.

Establishing a routine

Celebrating Milestones

Celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how small. Whether it’s their first day without tears, making a new friend, or mastering a new skill, make sure to acknowledge and celebrate their successes. This will boost their confidence!

Managing Your Own Emotions

Parents feeling anxious with child start nursery

Coping with Parental Anxiety

It’s natural to feel anxious about sending your child to nursery, but try to focus on the positives and remind yourself that this is an important and big step in your child’s development. Remember that you’re not alone – reach out to friends, family, or other parents for support and encouragement.

Seeking Support

Don’t be afraid to lean on your support system for help and reassurance. Whether it’s talking to other parents who have been through a similar experience or seeking advice from childcare professionals, reaching out for support can make a big difference in how you navigate this transition. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it and there are many parents in a similar position.

Change is hard for everyone, and especially for children. Many children and parents struggle when their little ones start school as it is a big change and a huge milestone. Your child’s first day can leave everyone feeling stressed and anxious, but don’t worry it is completely normal to feel this way. As your baby or toddler becomes more familiar with their daily routine it will get easier for them and for you.

Trusting the process

It is completely normal to feel a mix of emotions, for both parents and children. Some days will be good days and some days will be more difficult while your child takes their time to settle in their new school. Take it day by day and trust your nursery and the staff and chat to them about any concerns you may have.

Grandir UK is here for you every step of the way.

Grandir UK is the home of multiple nursery brands across the United Kingdom and has been delivering outstanding childcare solutions to families with babies, toddlers and preschool children for over 25 years. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our nurseries, we are here to support you so find our contact details here. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

Explore more about what we offer, including our carefully crafted Education Programmes and Book a visit today.


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