Settling In

Preparations at Home

Joining a new kindergarten is a big change for children and also for their carers. In order to make the settling in process smoother and easier, families can support this process by doing some preparations at home beforehand:

  • Get to know the settling in process in the kindergarten and what will be expected of you during the starting kindergarten process

  • Explain the process in a simple way to your child. During the initial meeting you could ask for the kindergarten’s timeline and use this with your child

  • Involve the child in the preparations. Keep the mood light and positive. Go shopping together for anything required when joining the kindergarten like a backpack, water bottle or a new stuffed animal

  • Breastfeeding: create a rhythm that your child no longer needs breastfeeding during the hours they will be at kindergarten.

  • Prepare anything else your child may need to make them feel secure in the setting. You can bring a family photo from home and a sleeping toy/security blanket that can help with settling in.

EASING TRANSITIONS DURING THE KINDERGARTEN DAY
Drop off and developing a farewell ritual with your child

When you bring your child to the kindergarten in the morning, try to be calm and relaxed even if you are feeling a bit tense. You should always say goodbye to your child in the same way each day. For example, with a hug, a kiss or a positive message such as, “I’m leaving now, I’ll pick you up later. Have a great day!” It is important the child knows that when parent returns, it is not to play, but to say goodbye and go.

Picking up your child from kindergarten

When you pick up your child from the kindergarten, it is important you are fully present and give them your full attention. For example, try to avoid talking on the phone when you are picking them up. Ask about your child’s day from the educator and give your child positive feedback about their day.

At home

Ask your child about their day and mention anything positive that their educators discussed during the end of day feedback. Don’t put pressure on your child to share information but give them the time and space to share any information, concerns or successes they had during the day.

Settling your child into a new kindergarten is a big step in your child's life as it may be the first time a child is going into an institutionalised social setting. Even within a child's own cultural setting they will notice many differences in routines at home compared to those in the kindergarten. These differences may create insecurities, and the settling in process is designed to support you and your child through this.

Every child's needs will be different, and every family’s situation will be different. While some children may be confident to walk in independently, others will benefit from a more structured and supported start. The main objective is to create an open dialogue with your kindergarten educators to find out what works for you and your child. Working together with the educators in the kindergarten will ensure your child has the best chance to have a happy and successful transition into the new setting.