Settling Your Toddler Into Nursery

September equals settling in

It’s already September, which means even busier parents and teachers. It’s time for a change, to change classrooms or to change nursery. Either way, it can be pretty exhausting sometimes and stressful for both adults and children, so I decided to share some helpful tips on how to settle your toddler into nursery.

When I was working as an Early Years Teacher and it was time to say goodbye to my class, I would always get so emotional and cry over the children’s photos with my colleagues. We had conversations like this: ‘Do you remember when Freddie started to sing that pop song?’ or ‘Lilly was so picky at the beginning but after some month she eat more than Dani’ or ‘Ahh, not so long ago they could not even run properly and now they can’t stop riding their bikes.’

We would think back to how we started the year and what we have achieved together. We would feel very sad about letting ‘our children’ go, but we would be incredibly happy for them at the same time.

There is usually not a lot of time to be nostalgic, especially when you are working in a private nursery/school because when one class goes another comes straight away. We have to start to think about the future: we have to welcome our new children and their parents. It’s time for settlings.

5 things you must tell your toddler’s new teachers

When your child moves from one class to another within the same school, teachers, normally, give handovers to each other. It means, that every child should have a file, a report that the other teachers would read and study.

But even then, to be on the safe side, I advise you to share at least these following five things at the beginning of the new school year:

Tell your teachers if:

  1. Your child has developed allergies to something.
  2. Your child got a new medication, cream or soap prescribed.
  3. You are in the middle of moving or you are going to move soon. It is good if teachers know about it beforehand as it is a big change in a toddler’s life, and it can affect her/him in different ways. Knowing this information, teachers could provide better help to your child.
  4. Something happened in your family that you think it could affect your child’s behaviour. Again, teachers could help your child cope with any difficulties that change might cause.
  5. There are any changes in your child’s health or behaviour.  

What to ask teachers before settling into nursery?

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If you already know the class your child is going to join, whenever you have time, you can introduce yourself to the new teachers and even to the new parents, whose children are going to be the classmates of your little one.

There is usually an event organised for parents and teachers to get to know each other and talk about the new school year. It is a very good opportunity for you to ask questions, share any important information about your child and share your concerns.

At that event, teachers usually talk about the class’ daily routine, the goals they want to achieve and talk about their behaviour management strategies.

If the teachers don’t cover all of your questions, you must ask them there and then to make the settling easier and safer for everyone. I gathered some very important questions for you to ask:

Ask about the process of settling.

To make the settling in as smooth and easy as possible, the first question to the new teachers should be this:

  • What is the settling in process in the nursery?

And then:

  • How can I prepare my child for settling into the new class?
  • How can I help to make it easier?

Ask the teachers about the process and if you have any questions, concerns or ideas, let them know. If you work together, the settling in should be going nicely and smoothly, even if your child screams and cries in the morning for days or even for weeks… yes… weeks… but if there is nothing to be concerned about (teacher’s or others’ behaviour towards your child) then your child will settle after a while.

Ask about the daily routine:

  • Morning drop-off

This is one of the most important parts of settling in. Your child will more likely to have a good day in the nursery if the drop off goes well. Ask your teacher’s recommendation and share your opinion and ideas. You must work together and have a routine you agreed upon and carry that out, plus consistency is key.

  • Afternoon nap

Many toddlers still need their afternoon nap. If there is an afternoon nap session in the class, ask the teachers how they do it, where, and for how long they let the kids sleep. 

  • Picking your child up

Ask the teachers from what time you can come and pick your child up. It might sound silly, but it is important to know, because if you time it wrong, it can interfere with their routine, making it harder for teachers and children the ‘going home time’.

Ask about activities:

Ask your teachers about the goals of the class:

  • What do you wish for the children to achieve by the end of the year? What are you going to focus on?
  • How can I help at home? What activities should I do if I want to improve …(this and this skill)
  • Are teachers going to use an app to take photos and record videos of activities and if yes, how can I have access to those?

Ask about the key person:

  • How do you assign key children?
  • Who is my child’s key person?
  • What are the key person’s responsibilities and duties?

Usually, teachers wait until they get to know the children, which can take one week or even a month. Although, there are nurseries, where children will be assigned to teachers before settling in. 

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Hi, it's Eva and I am an Early Years and Parenting Consultant. Here, I am sharing my knowledge about child development and experience in teaching. Have a look around and follow me on SNS to keep in touch!

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