Things you need when your child starts nursery


Our little one started a private nursery at the ripe old age of eight months old, as that was the available childcare for our circumstances at the time of me returning to work. However, whether you’re planning for your child to attend nursery as an infant, or from their state-funded place at age three, there are a few items it’s essential to have ahead of time.

We’ve learned the hard way by losing dummies, having jackets switched and more, so here are a few things that I’d recommend you look to have in time for your child starting their nursery journey.

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission on any purchases made. For more information on this, please see my disclosure policy.

Fabric pen
It’s essential to put your child’s name on their clothes in case coats, hats etc get swapped or mixed up. Chances are, if you think something is cute for nursery, then so does some other kid’s mum and dad.

Labels/label maker
In fact, it’s essential to write their name on everything, because things will get mixed up or go missing – from juice cups to sun creams. whilst a label maker might be a bit pricey, handwritten sticky labels do the job just as well.

Sturdy bag
Your child may be too small for school but you’ll need a school-sized backpack to house all the things you’ll need to pack for them. It’s like packing for a holiday every morning.

Water bottle/juice cup
It’s good to have one bottle or cup designated for nursery to ensure your little one drinks enough throughout the day. Remember to label it so it doesn’t get mixed up or put away with another child’s things – or alternatively you could buy a personalised bottle like the one above to save you the labelling labour.

Indoor shoes
It’s a good idea to keep some soft indoor shoes for your child that you don’t mind getting dirty. There will be sand, paint, glitter and play-doh amongst other messy items amassed on and in the shoes from nursery so it’s a good idea to leave the expensive trainers and smart shoes at home, no matter how well they might go with the outfit.

If it wisny for yer wellies where would yi be? (If you’re not Scottish, please feel free to Google that song. You’re welcome.) Similarly to the indoor shoes scenario, there will be times when there will be day trips to parks and woods, or they may even just get caught in the rain on outdoor adventures and play, so it’s always best to have wellies rather than ruined shoes and a toddler with the cold.

Spare clothes
In a given day, there could be umpteen reasons why your child might need to change clothes. If they are an infant it could be sick or a nappy related accident. They may have gotten wet or dirty in messy play or playing outdoors. Paint or lunch could have stained clothes, or it could simply be that it was chilly when you dropped them off, but actually shorts are more appropriate for later in the day. This is where multi-pack clothes or mix/match offers can really be worth it.

Seasonal extras
It sounds obvious but suncream, sun hat, sunglasses etc should be on your checklist for nursery in summer months, and gloves, hats and layers for the cooler months (or all, plus waterproofs if you have the joy of four seasons in a day like we do!)

There are probably some nursery essentials we have missed, or maybe there are some things which your nursery requests differently to the one our little man goes to. As long as you’ve got the basic essentials of the nursery checklist (which you’ll probably use in or out of nursery) and label all of your child’s nursery items, you can’t go far wrong!


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