Preparing for nursery

Working from home is a blessing, but now that Max is 1 and a lot more active it is getting harder to find the time to fit in a few work hours. On top of this, I feel he would benefit from some social interaction with children of his own age, and so we came to the decision that Max will do 2 mornings a week at a local nursery.

A lot of preparation has gone into this. Max has had a few weeks of settling in sessions, gradually extending the time he stays with each visit. At home, we have been talking to him about nursery, showing him pictures and involving him as much as possible in packing his bag – letting him choose which cup to take and so on.



I am not going to pretend it has been easy so far – it hasn’t. Max really doesn’t like being left, and will cry and cling on to me when I leave him. He does stop crying after I have left, but the nursery have told me that he is still fairly unsettled. I know it will take time, I know that in a few more weeks he is likely to be fine. But that doesn’t make it any easier to leave a sobbing baby in the arms of someone else when all he wants is me. It’s really, really hard. 

I have been given lots of advice. There are some tips I can really identify with, such as working with the nursery staff to create a visual timetable for Max, detailing what will happen during his day, and exactly when Mummy will be back. I also really love the idea of creating a photo book for Max to keep at nursery – this will have photos of me, his Daddy, his brother and sister and other special people in it, and he can look at this during the day whenever he feels like he needs us. 

Other advice has been more conflicting. The issue of saying goodbye seems to divide the masses. Some people say that I should never ever leave without saying goodbye to Max, even though I know this will make him cry. Other people have suggested sneaking off when he is settled and occupied in an attempt to minimise the disruption. I tend to favour the saying goodbye method – no matter how hard it is, I personally think it will be more traumatic for him to suddenly turn around and find me gone. So, I say goodbye, I tell him I will be back after lunch, and I leave. 

It’s really hard, but I know that in the long run, nursery is the right choice for us.

Do you use childcare? Do you have any tips for settling in?



  1. Karen Ltfc Robertson
    June 11, 2014 / 3:16 pm

    definitely say goodbye and then just go…don’t drag it out…., they soon get used to it and you will find no more tears after a while…they will wave goodbye and won’t even notice you have gone!! Did this with my 4! It’s great when they meet new friends in nursery and they certainly develop new skills in leaps and bounds!

  2. June 11, 2014 / 3:03 pm

    I would be in favour of saying goodbye, I think they have to learn from a young age that saying goodbye does not mean forever and that you will be back, rather than just sneaking off because it might give the impression you are just dumping him, if that makes sense?x

    • kate
      June 11, 2014 / 3:17 pm

      Yes I tend to agree, I just hate the idea of him turning round and realising I have gone. Would break his little heart I think lol

  3. June 11, 2014 / 3:16 pm

    Both mine have been with childminders and playgroups/nurseries and both mine had separation issues. My 6 year old screamed so much for the childminder that she told me she couldn’t have her any more. This made me cry and from the next day she was fine. Going to playgroup she was clingy right until her baby brother was born then again overnight she stopped. My 3 year old was better with the childminder but has recently started nursery and was having problems with settling. They tried the sneak mummy off approach but that went worse than the goodbyes. It took a few weeks but now we have a quick goodbye and he is fine. xx#MMWBH

  4. kate
    June 11, 2014 / 3:17 pm

    I need to master the quick goodbye! I can’t wait for the day he waves me off and happily goes to play with his new friends.

  5. June 11, 2014 / 3:40 pm

    We’re starting nursery soon I’m little one will be just over a year, I’m preparing myself for lots of tears, as he’s super cling. I find just now if I have to leave him with my mum or anyone it’s best to let him come to the door and say goodbye, I sometimes find just leave makes it worse once he works out I’m gone. Good luck with getting him settled in 🙂

  6. June 11, 2014 / 4:53 pm

    I don’t have children but I remember hating nursery myself and my mum never let me forget it! My nephew loves being at playgroup and nursery, he was anxious for the first week by settled in quickly 🙂 Good luck

  7. Fiona @ Mama's Little Baby Loves
    June 11, 2014 / 8:18 pm

    Took me a whole term to settle Isaac, well I say a whole term, we hit the summer holidays and he still wouldn’t let me leave (and nor would the staff – they said he was too upset and they wern’t happy to let him ‘cry it out’ which I was fine with!). Oddly enough, first day back after summer, mummy filled with dread…he ran straight in without a backwards glance and has loved it ever since…think he just wasn’t ready when I first tried! Good Luck on the rest of your settling sessions!

  8. June 12, 2014 / 7:33 am

    LP went to a childminder for 6 months on the times/days that Hubby and I were both working. It worked out as about 20 hours a week. She cried every single time I dropped her off and it was heartbreaking but the childminder always text me to tell me she was fine – Usually by the time I parked up at work. LP was 13 months and so I think getting upset at being left is a normal thing but still not nice at all. It made me feel crap every single time! x

  9. June 12, 2014 / 9:16 am

    My little one is starting nursery soon, and I’m really dreading it. The thought of it is really breaking my heart. I keep telling myself it will be good for him mixing with other children. I hope it gets easier very soon for the both of you! #MMWBH

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