Eight tips to avoid tears (theirs and yours) when starting nursery


See you soon, sweatpea – me

So Miss J (16 months) is settling well into nursery – in fact she seems to love it – but being away from home so much hasn’t been easy for any of us.

A little while back, I put a call out to the Parent Blogging community for their advice on how parents can support their little ones starting nursery. Here’s what they came back with – every child is different, of course, but there’s some great stuff in here.

  • If they don’t want to go…make it a game. Missie Lizzie has written a brilliant post on how to create a treasure hunt to make the walk to school or nursery more bearable. If you’re facing problems, it’s well worth a look.
  • If they’ve started a busy new chapter…remember to have quiet time. 3 Children and It says, “Make sure the afternoons are quiet and not too much activity. I used to make sure that I spent at least 30 minutes every afternoon doing something they enjoy doing just with me eg puzzles or playing games.”
  • If they’re not used to being without you…ask to stay for the settling in sessions. Chez Maximka says, “I think with my older one they asked me in the nursery if I would like to spend a few days with him, each time leaving earlier. There was another mother, doing the same. And when he changed the nursery and started commuting, I did the same to help him settle in.”
  • If you’re missing your time together…make the time you do have count. Mummy..Mummy..Mum! says, “Give them something to look forward to on days at home. Like extra one on one time. Or Z and would go for hot chocolate sometimes.”
  • If starting nursery seems scary and mysterious…try reading about it together. Dorky Mum says, “We read lots of books about it – Maisy goes to Nursery, George Pig goes to Playgroup etc which definitely helped prepare him.”
  • If they’re not sure how they’ll cope…try role play. Marianne Whooley aka Maris World has a great post on her blog about how ‘playing schools’ help when preparing her twins for preschool.
  • If they’re feeling insecure…stick to a reliable routine. Dorky Mum says, “We have a routine that we still do, nearly two years after T first started going, where I put a kiss in each of his palms at drop off, and then if he’s missing me during the morning, he’ll put his hand to his cheek so he’ll ‘feel’ my kiss and know that I’ll be back soon.”
  • If you feel too far apart…start a photo album. HPMcQ says, “When Ronnie started, I made a small photo album with pictures of us in which was kept in his bag. I travel a fair deal with work so they used it lots when I was away. Now he has a giant world map and we have Velcro airplanes which move closer to home as every day passes.”

Thanks to all those contributed tips. What would you add?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge


  1. says

    I have sobbed every single time I’ve left one of mine at school or nursery for their first day….never in front of the children though. Mummy has to be strong until they’re out of sight – which is far easier if they are noisy than if they are quiet…..
    I’d add to explain to your children, prepare them so that they know what’s going to happen and before you leave them discuss what you’re going to do when you fetch them at home time, what you’ll have for tea etc. You WILL be coming to get them later.

    I love Dorky Mum’s ‘Kiss on the palms’! :)

  2. says

    Some great tips! Thank you for the mention! We have applied for a nursery place for our little man from September, and I would need all the help to settle him in, as he’s s used to being with me all the time. I just hope being very social, he will enjoy being among people, especially children of his own age.
    Galina V recently posted…A taste of summer: Five Valleys CordialsMy Profile