DD is starting her settling in on Monday. I've only just started talking about it, as I'm not sure how much she understands about the future as a concept, other than 'soon' and 'tomorrow'. (I usually say in the morning what we're doing that day).
Any helpful tips? Things to do/ say ahead of Monday, and on the day?
I would stay for a little while and enjoy an activity together before briefly saying goodbye and reassuring her that you will be back, then leaving quickly. I would leave something of yours with her. When you return, stay for a while. Talk about it frequently and positively, mentioning the names of the other children and staff.
Maybe start off just leaving her for an hour. Make sure you say goodbye and tell her that your are coming back.
Ime, most children cry for a couple of sessions while they go through the process of learning that you are going to come back.
I agree that you should give her something of yours to remind her of you and also so you can say look after that for me till I get back, this helps with the understanding that you are not leaving her forever.
Good luck and if you need a cry try to hold on until you get outside
If she's used to you not being around all the time, with work or family etc, just drop her off, kiss goodbye and walk away. No fuss, let the staff do their job. Unless they want you to stay and be shown around etc. On DDs first day at age 2.5 they asked me to stay to fill in paperwork and just to be on hand in case, but she was quite happy and after 30 mins said if I wanted to go, fine! She has never once been upset, in fact she runs off without a backward glance. But then she is used to me going to work and she stays with daddy at weekends, and is in general a very unclingy child. You know your LO best, I think you probably know deep down if they will be upset or not. See how it goes, don't worry if there are tears, even the most upset child does settle with time. Good luck!
Before this week I was confident she'd be fine, but she's suddenly going through a clingy phase again I always say goodbye if I'm leaving her with MiL, rather than sneaking off like SiL does so hopefully she'll be ok in a new environment too.
I had quite a lot of difficulty with my child crying each day, but it soon settled down. There's some good advice at www.theonlineheadteacher.webs.com I've become a member and it's got some good info on settling your child into nursery.