8 Top Tips to Help Ease Your Little One's Transition in to Nursery

Ethan doesn't attend nursery yet, though it's something that Adam and I have recently been discussing. We're so fortunate in that we're able to make money from home as well as in our part time jobs, as it means that we're able to look after Ethan between us at home. The only day he's not with us is during the day on a Friday when he goes to his Grandmas, but even then we feel fortunate that he's with family. 

Ethan is two years old now and has got to an age where he really seems to benefit from social interaction with other children and more than that - he really enjoys it. He's got to an age where as parents, we feel it's very important for him to know that it's perfectly normal and okay to do things without his Dad and I there one hundred percent of the time He thrives on a week full of routine and pre-planned activities.. Ethan loves nothing more than attending weekly playgroup and his weekly swimming lesson. He loves going to his Grandmas on a Thursday night and doing things with her on a Friday during the day. He loves the outside world and being on the go, we take him out pretty much every single day and literally may as well move in to our local park. 

I've spoken to a number of parents who have little one's in nursery and every one of them has told me how much of a benefit they think nursery is to their child - especially so for those around Ethan's age. For Adam and I, the one thing that appeals the most to us about the idea of nursery is the social aspect for Ethan. There's a big part of us though that sort of wants to hold on to these last months with him before he does start nursery at three. We're also, of course, we're very conscious about putting him into nursery just as baby #2 comes along as we don't want him to feel pushed out whatsoever. Right now, I think the plan is to see how things go and go ahead with nursery when we all feel the right time presents itself. 

The transition to nursery for some parents and their child or children is a positive and smooth process but for others it can be a little more challenging. These are eight great tips that I think will help make the transition to nursery a little easier!

1. Visit several nurseries to find the best fit. 
This is more for you! You’ll feel more comfortable leaving your child in an environment where you have faith that your child will be well cared for. Look at the qualifications of the care workers, tour the facilities, and find out about the day-to-day schedule to put your mind at ease. Once you’ve made your selection, bring your baby or toddler into the nursery for a few visits with you to get her familiar with the place. 

2. Write down information for the staff. 
You’ll probably be asked to fill out a questionnaire on the first day to help staff with your child’s routine, but if not, provide this information for them. It’s helpful for the nursery staff to know about your baby’s nap schedule, daily routine at home, and her likes and dislikes. If your toddler’s potty training, share how this is going and any other pertinent information that will help them! 

3. Talk about it. 
Take some time to talk about nursery as a positive experience – getting your child pumped up with stories of fun games, songs, and outings. You can walk by nurseries or primary schools before the big day, showing your child what to expect. Give your child time to ask questions to put his mind at ease. 

4. Follow nursery policy. 
You may have your own ideas about settling in, but the nursery workers are experts. They’ve most likely taken childcare courses via training.com.au or similar sites, have additional hands-on education, and the experience of settling in dozens of children each year. They understand you and your child’s anxiety and probably have a settling in policy to make life easier. Trust them and listen to any advice they have!

5. Provide a comfort item. 
Does your little one have a favourite blanket or soft toy he cuddles with at home? Let him take it in to give him a reminder of home when you’re away. 

6. Keep goodbye’s breezy 
The first day may be even harder for mum than it is for baby! But don’t linger with extra hugs and cuddles – just smile, say when you’ll be back, and make a calm exit. There may be tears, but rest assured that they’ll probably end when you’re out of sight. 

7. Keep communicating. 
Check in each day and if you have any concerns be sure to bring them up with the staff. They want your child to be happy in the new environment and should be keeping notes about the child’s progress and achievements. 

8. Make new friends. 
Finally, nursery can be a great opportunity for both of you to make some new friends, so don’t be afraid to arrange a playdate with other mums during this transitional period. There may be other newbies who are just as eager to make some new nursery friends and swap stories of settling in! 

If you have a little one that attends nursery, do you have any tips or bits of advice additional to this that you could share?


  1. My little girl has just turned two recently and we have been having the same discussion, as we are unsure if we should put her in nursery or not. I am a stay at home mum for now as i am still on maternity leave but i think she would love the interaction with other children and it would be a good introduction for her starting proper nursery when she is three. However i also still think of her as my baby and feel she is too young and i want to spend as much time with her as i can whilst she is small xx

  2. Matthew is attending nursery since the age of 5 months. I would recommend to do a trial for a few hours 1 or 2 weeks before starting the full time nursery hours. Other than that keep goodbyes short like you said. There will be tears at some point. just leave. He'll forget in no time.
    The nursery also has to feel right. Matthew has made so many friends and loves the minder.

  3. I've just qualified as an nursery worker (although I'm carrying on with my studies just now!) These are great tips. It can be a scary thing for the child and the parents but being prepared can really help. Also going to a playgroup once a week can help your child get used to being left for a few hours. We sent my daughter to playgroup before she started nursery and it was great for her.