Start of daycare: Tips for successfully settling-in

Maybe you feel stressed by all the change, or maybe you are pretty relaxed? No matter how you feel- all feelings and anxieties are allowed and sound. We want to give you tips and suggestions regarding the start of daycare, to make it as relaxed as possible for you and your child.

The preliminary talk with the nursery

Before the first day of settling-in at daycare starts there’s usually a preliminary talk between the parents and the nursery staff. This first meeting is handled individually, and the content varies within each institution. Most important is to sort out all your questions, so prepare if you like and think about which topics you would like to talk about.

Possible topics could be:

  • How will the settling-in take place? Is there a model for orientation? Is there a chosen childcare worker who is responsible for the settling-in?
  • Which meals are being eaten together? What should be brought by each kid (e.g., the breakfast), what is supplied by the nursery?
  • What kit is needed? Changing of clothes, rain wear, slippers, toothbrush and paste, cuddly toy, name tags? In most cases a detailed list will be provided by the nursery.
  • Will your child nap at nursery? Then it might need sleeping things like a sleeping back, sheets or a pyjama. And how will it be handled if your child doesn’t want to sleep?

The preparations

Let your child be a part of the preparations. Talk to your child about the beginning of nursery and try to shed it in a positive light. Because if you feel anxious or unsure about it, your child might pick that up.

Our tips:

  1. As soon as the nursery gives you the list with all things needed you can work through it and for example pick out new things together – how about the first proper backpack?
  2. If during the first year the parents were the key carers, now the nursery staff will also step in. If there is the possibility, maybe try to ease into that situation trough a babysitter or the grandparents? Then the separation from the parents will already be familiar.
  3. Suddenly there will be a lot of children around your child. This can be unusual, loud and bring a lot of new impressions. Maybe your child is already familiar with these situations from trips to the playground or parent-child-meetings?

The actual process of settling-in: Take your time.

It is fundamentally important for your child to build a strong relationship with its carers. This can be best accomplished if the getting to know each other and adjusting is handled gently. A “quick and easy separation” like it was practiced in the past is not attachment orientated and leads to stress for all involved. We recommend to not leave your child alone with the new carers at the beginning. Take your time to get to know each other and to let trust build. The laying down for a nap requires the most amount of security and should not be tried out too early.

Note: Every child needs its own time for settling-in. It often takes longer than expected, so rather plan more time, so that you can accompany the process relaxed and without the pressure of a deadline until which the settling-in must be successful.


The communication with the nursery

Remember to schedule enough time for the handover of your child and the communication with the nursery staff. Especially if there are problems or concerns or the behavior of your child was unusual or noticeable.

  • If your child is still small and can’t yet talk, speak to the staff about what was eaten and drunk, if your child slept and how the mood was throughout the day.
  • Is your child already able to communicate, ask about the day still in the presence of the nursery staff: what has happened? What was for breakfast/lunch? The carer can add to the experienced with the missing information.
  • Stay in intense contact with the carers. They are now the key workers for your child and an inherent part of its life. Let them be part of the important moments and inform them about changes (e.g., an arriving sibling, a separation of the parents or else)

Ihre Elternzeit neigt sich dem Ende entgegen und Sie halten die Zusage für einen Platz in der Kita oder bei einer Tagesmutter in den Händen? Vielleicht freuen Sie sich schon darauf wieder an Ihren Arbeitsplatz zurückzukehren, vielleicht wird Ihnen ganz mulmig zumute, wenn Sie daran denken, dass Ihr Kind nun „fremdbetreut“ wird, vielleicht fühlen Sie sich gestresst durch all die Veränderungen, die bevorstehen oder Sie sehen alles ganz gelassen? Egal wie Sie sich fühlen – alle Gefühle und alle Ängste sind erlaubt und sind absolut in Ordnung. Wir möchten Ihnen Tipps und Anregungen geben, um den Start in die Kita für sich und Ihr Kind so entspannt wie möglich zu gestalten.


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