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How to prepare for, and manage, starting nursery/pre school

Starting nursery or pre-school is such a huge milestone in your little one’s – and your life too! There is a lot of excitement and much to sort out regarding your routine before and after nursery and making sure children have everything they need each day. Sleep is very important for them, especially when there’s a lot of learning through play and growing to do. It is only during the deep phase of sleep that growth hormones are secreted, together with the hormones that tells your little one whether they are full or hungry. On top of this our immune system needs sleep in order to produce proteins to fight infection, which are extremely important when your little one goes to nursery and picks up all those new bugs that they have not yet become exposed to. Sleep is also critical for your child’s development. If your little one does not sleep well, the brain cannot ‘press save’ on what was learned that day, which, as you can imagine, is absolutely vital!


Managing nursery days

When your little one arrives home from nursery, they are likely to be ‘tired but wired’ because they will have had a really busy day, and may not have napped quite as well as they do at home. There are some things you can do to prepare for this and also manage your little one’s overtiredness once they come home.

  1. Ask your nursery to stick to their home routine and also ensure there is somewhere suited to sleep for them. You could consider sending in the sleep sack they use at home (and definitely don’t forget their favourite comforter) so they can settle well with familiar smells. Top tip, if your little one has a favourite comforter, buy another and rotate them weekly so one can have a wash!
  2. Ensure they have another dinner offered to them once they get home (we used to call it a ‘dinner snack’ – it can be all about the marketing of meals!) Not too heavy but you don’t want your little one waking in the night hungry because they were too busy during the day to eat!
  3. If at all possible, especially in the early weeks, try to pick them up a little early so that they have enough time to eat and relax at home before their bedtime routine. You may find they struggle to wind down otherwise. 


So, how can you help your little one get lots of sleep 

  1. First, a bedtime routine can be really helpful for children. Make sure this includes some 1:1 time with you to reconnect, some quiet and relaxing time before bed and it can also include a gentle massage to calm the overtired and wired nervous systems.
  2. A bath will also help your little one wind down and relax, together with the benefits of their body temperature dropping.
  3. Avoid sugary foods or drinks before bedtime. Instead, you could try a banana, natural yoghurt or a bowl of (low sugar) cereal if your little one wants a snack before bed. 
  4. Make sure your child’s bedroom environment is as dark, calm and relaxing as possible. Having a lot of toys or distractions in the bedroom will make it harder for them to switch off and go to sleep. 


About Little Dreams Consulting

Little Dreams was set up in 2016 by ex-solicitor Jenna Wilson, a mom of three, and has now grown into a business with franchises across the South and Midlands having helped over 1000 families get a better night’s sleep.

If your little one is having trouble sleeping Little Dreams offer a free 15 min introduction call with one of their highly trained consultants to discuss possible issues and solutions. 

Baby and Child Sleep Consultant Services| Little Dreams (

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