Childcare… it’s a minefield! Stay at home? Get a nanny? An au pair? Or choose a nursery?
There are pros and cons of all the options. We have chosen a nursery but Mr Small is yet to start to no validation as yet as to whether we have made the right choice!
So, why did we chose nursery?
Going back a few months… Right from when I found out I was pregnant I didn’t know whether I was going to want to go back to work full time after 6 months, or would be dragging my heels at the end of a year of maternity leave and not wanting to go back to work. As it panned out I spent 10 months of maternity still unsure what I wanted to do, and then suddenly around 11 months something changed, suddenly:
- Friends with babies the same age as Mr Small started to go back to work … and enjoy it
- The baby groups I went to started to shift to more nannies than mums (don’t get me wrong I know lots of lovely nannies but it does change the dynamic when it’s someone’s job vs another mum who lives round the corner from you)
- Mr Small’s 2 hour lunchtime naps (which took a LONG time to achieve) were still a great chance to get things done but also the flat started to feel a little bit claustrophobic
- Following a night out with work colleagues I realised I missed them, and I missed the buzz of being part of work and all that it comes with
- And also Mr Small started to engage more with other babies and I really saw the benefit when he had free play with other children and not just one on one sessions with other babies or organised classes
So all of this made the return to work a logical and comfortable (if a little scary) decision but automatically prompted us to make decisions about childcare. Also, we are not one of those lucky families that have local parents who are on hand for a rota of daycare!
For us the options were:
Prices aside (because I think you can get expensive nurseries or expensive nannies, although a childminder may be a more budget friendly option) we chose nursery because:
- Of the interaction with other children and multiple people
- Of the fact that a team of adults are responsible for the children (I’ve seen great nannies in action and also nannies who don’t necessarily treat their charges with the same attention as I would as a mum)
- The children get exposure to music/stories/messy play/outdoors all as part of the nursery set up and you don’t then have to pay for or organise additional activities for someone else to take your baby to
Then came the decision of which nursery…. We were lucky to have recommendations from friends and in the end we chose one that met these criteria (in no particular order):
- Happy children
- Outdoor space for each age group – with freeflow (weather permitting) to these outdoor areas
- Natural light
- Fresh homecooked food everyday
- Extended hours of 07.30 – 18.30 (I don’t want Mr Small to do days this long but having the buffer for emergencies is reassuring)
- Clean with a variety of well kept toys and different areas for relaxing/messy play/music
- Friendly staff
- Separate sleeping room for babies who still need a nap
- Instilling good habits like eating together, washing hands before meals etc
- A gentle settling in period over a couple of weeks as a very gradual interaction
- Flexibility to do part time and add additional days or half days adhoc if needed
- Open all year not just term times
We are all signed up and ‘settling in’ starts next week… fingers crossed it’s a smooth journey! I’ll keep you posted…