As quickly as maternity leave arrives, its over within a blink of an eye, suddenly you find yourself emailing work with your back to work dates, re configuring the work wardrobe and catching up on the office gossip…Fasted 9 months ever!!
With the back to work planning also comes the hard task of finding someone or somewhere such as a Nursery to look after your little human whilst you earn the pennies.
We knew that for 2 days a week we had help with childcare in the form of grandparents, which has been an amazing god send saving us a substantial and painful bill; Of course also meaning Sonny gets a real bond with his Grannie and Nanny, enjoying being the centre of their attention whilst we can rest in the knowledge that he is in safe and experienced hands.
With a third day to cover and we had to look into nurseries and other childcare options. I was really keen for Sonny to experience a nursery environment, to socialise with other babies in a larger group setting, to get used to people outside of the family and learn new skills from a specially formulated curriculum, a great step before we fast forward to school.
The nursery search was a very daunting task, I never even thought about this whilst pregnant, I’ve never noticed nurseries nearby or even discussed the topic before so as soon as it hit my raider, google was the first port of call followed by facebook and finally mums that I knew who used nurseries.
I kept hearing the same advice over and over, book appointments to view 3ish nurseries and you’ll know as soon as you walk in how you feel and which is the right place for you. Another sound piece of advice was prepare some questions to ask, don’t be afraid to understand exactly how the nursery is run, after all its an important decision for you!
As soon as I stepped foot into the nursery that Sonny now attends, I knew it was the one for us, the staff were so friendly, it was large with a variety of rooms to suit the different ages but also had that intimate friendly feel. The detail and care plan of each session was impressive and the menu well, it looked delicious (Moroccan lamb cous cous followed by homemade jam sponge in addition to breakfast, lunch and snacks…beats my cold packed lunch at the desk!)
One of my key tick boxes was that the nursery had outside space and this one did, plenty of space with chickens and a vegetable patch or as they like to call it an outdoor kitchen (chic). Another factor was that Sonny’s sessions are documented for official Ofsted paperwork so I was safe in the knowledge that everything was as professional ‘as it should be’. We also get a little book detailing what Sonny enjoyed doing that day, photos and also paintings, all very sweet! I love sitting down to read what he’s been up to and the new experiences he discovered that day!
My advice and list of things to think about when embarking on this daunting task include:
- Definitely book a few places to visit and you’ll know once you step how you feel and if its the place for you and your little one.
- Plan some questions to ask, do you have payment breaks for holidays? does the fee include food, nappies etc? Sickness policy etc, Each nursery is sooo different
- Think about the location, is it easy to drop off in rush hour and close to you in case of emergency?
- Do they have long enough opening hours for you to manage a drop off and pick up easily whilst juggling a work schedule?
- Is the security policy strong enough and puts your mind at ease?
- Do they take government childcare vouchers or schemes if eligible? This can save some much needed cash!
- Check the settle in plan, Sonny’s nursery introduced him slowly to the sessions and planned it all so he (and myself) would feel comfortable, even texting me in the early weeks to let me know how he was doing!
There are a ton of things to think about but you’ll know what you need from a nursery and the most important thing is go back as many times to make sure you feel comfortable!
I am so happy with his placement and the whole decision around attending nursery, the biggest thing I notice is that he is such a social little boy and fine to play amongst a crowd, hes not clinging at all but a happy little monkey!
I hope if your looking into nurseries you find some nice places but if you have any tips or questions feel free to share in the comments!
Love Harriet x