Nursery: The essentials to pack and ponder!

My 10 month old son, affectionately referred to as the Little Lord is starting nursery (pros and cons of nursery [here]) and has even had a settling in session. The emotion behind my son’s first day will be explored in a further post [here, warning, not for the faint hearted]. Today, we are going to focus on the practical side of nursery- as it’s been a tough day witnessing his first settling in session, the emotions are firmly closed behind a cast iron door. Explored [here]

I had many questions about my son’s first day, in a practical sense, what do I bring?! So… here is a handy list that you may want to consider for that all important first meeting for baby’s and young toddlers. Please get in touch if you have any other nifty items to add!

What to pack:

  • Bag- changing bag or even a school bag/backpack
  • Nappy cream
  • Nappies (if not included, my nursery provides these)
  • Wipes (if not included, my nursery provides these)
  • Entire change of clothes (just encase any accidents occur)
  • Coat
  • Wellies
  • Sterilised Bottle
  • Sippy cup
  • Milk (breastmilk packaged according to nursery requirements or formula)
  • Sunhat
  • Suncream (if not included, my nursery provides these)
  • Bibs for a teething dribbler (quite a few in my case- he is a teething hulk baby, see [here])
  • Rubber/friendly PVC food bibs that can be wiped down for meal times to save clothes
  • Blanket/sleeping bag that baby uses for naps
  • Favourite toy/comforter
  • Dummy (if used, my Little Lord completely refused dummies when he was younger!)
  • Muslins
  • Health book/red book, it’s helpful to run through any health/development points with your child’s key worker
  • Labels- remember everything needs to be named!

Have a think about the following to discuss with your child’s key worker:

  • Daily routine- naps/meals
  • Weaning journey- consistency of food, Baby led or spoon fed? Perhaps both?
  • Allergies, dislikes
  • Emergency contacts
  • Behaviour, with other children, adults
  • Ways to comfort
  • Favourite activities
  • Toilet routine/habits
  • Areas to work on/be supported on
  • Any other key bits of information that you feel is important

How to leave your child in nursery:

I’m not sure if there is any correct way, I agonised over this. Here are the options:

  1. Let your child know you are leaving, say a brief goodbye hug or kiss (try not to appear sad) and get up and leave, don’t turn back
  2. Leave without your child knowing, sneak out of the room and check in a period of time with nursery about how they are doing
  3. Play with your child in the room for a period of time, trying to coax your child to further their distance away from you, then let your child know you are leaving and say a brief goodbye hug or kiss, re-affirm you will return at a stated time
  4. Play with your child as above, once your child is mixed with other children or adults and you feel he will not miss your presence, leave without your child knowing.
  5. If you have time, and a lot of settling sessions, you can start by playing with your child and leaving at short periods which gradually get longer, this is if your nursery is happy with this approach.

What I did:

I’ve read a lot about this, I chose c. but it didn’t make it any easier and it’s hard not to prolong the goodbye too much.

Why I decided on this option:

I didn’t want my son to panic when he realised I suddenly wasn’t there, and I didn’t want him to get anxious at home or in another setting if he started to associate me leaving a room with potentially ‘disappearing’ from him.

Is this the right approach? Do what you, as a parent, think is right for your child. Every child is different and to be honest, some children can be a bit dramatic and can pick up anxiety from your goodbyes.


In front of my son, I didn’t want to make a big deal about the situation, it was all very calm, light, (nearly business like to try and keep a door closed on those emotions). I gave him a small brief cuddle, a big beaming smile (to evoke a gummy/toothy smile from him) and say really cheerily, ‘see you at *insert time* buddy! Have a good day!’ I leave immediately, no delay. If I turned around and seen that bottom lip quiver I’d melt in a second. But, whatever way you choose-

Remember- It’s harder for us than it is for them.


Diary of an imperfect mum


7 thoughts on “Nursery: The essentials to pack and ponder!

  1. […] Nursery: The essentials to pack and ponder! […]

  2. This is such a great list as you don’t know what to take. I had to learn fast. I would have gone for option c too. As a teacher I know that a lot of young Kids stress about what time there parents are coming back. So I am always clear about time. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  3. Great list – it’s a minefield knowing what to take and what to leave behind! x

    1. I couldn’t agree more, I had half his belongings with us on the first day, looked like he was heading off for a week instead of a day at nursery, now we’ve slimmed that right down thankfully!x

  4. Oh this made me cry! It’s less than two months before I have to go back to work for financial reasons but already the thought of not spending the day with my wee man upsets me!

    1. I’m not going to lie- it’s tough. But already after just a few settling in sessions it’s becoming more routine. It’s not easier- but I’ve come to accept it. It hasn’t went smoothly with my son unable to sleep at nursery at the moment but like anything- I’m hoping time is a healer. Enjoy those final months and when it comes to that first day- massive hugs but you’ll get through it!

  5. Without my wee man I mean! 😰

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