Going back to work or simply wanting a break because you find you have no time for yourself and finding the right childcare is a situation many parents are faced with. If you donâ€™t have the choice, it can make your decision harder but either way there are a number of things you will want to be aware of, particularly if you are a first time mother. Â If you can afford it a nanny or family member is the ideal choice so your child doesn’t feel abandoned and can form a strong attachment to a primary figure.
I believe this is the best option for a child under 2 who is mastering new words and developing more each day. It is more costly however and so therefore many parents look for a child minder or a nursery which offers a much bigger environment with a larger number of children of differing ages.
Finding a good nursery can be tricky and many will be booked up well in advance, so here are 10 tips to help you with your early childcare decisions:
1. Â Start looking when your baby is born or even before!
2. Â Visit at least three nurseries to get a feel for the different settings
3. Â Ask about the age of the staff looking after your child, the older the better
4. Â If using a child minder, ask what ages the other children are? Make sure your child doesn’t get put in and out of a buggy with school pick ups etc. disturbing sleep patterns etc.
5. Â Enquire what extra costs you pay for?
6. Â Find out about holiday arrangements/payments in advance
7. Â What happens when baby is sick/illness?
8. Â Have a contract and read the small print
9. Â Make sure the person whoâ€™s looking after your child follows YOUR parenting ideals
10. Use your instinct or better still, a friends recommendation
If you are thinking of childcare I have worked in nurseries, schools and private homes so can give you an unbiased view of childcare and what to watch out for or how to make the transition easier rather than lying awake at night wondering if youâ€™ve made the right decision or worried about your childâ€™s change in behaviour.
The early years are the most formative, so you will want to ensure your child has the best you can afford even if you have to make a few sacrifices. Donâ€™t be lulled by beautiful pictures and artwork, it is the staff and the environment that counts most. Check the place is clean and has a good hygiene policy, germs spread quite easily when at nursery and if you have to take time off because your child sick it will cost you more money.
If the principal seems knowledgeable and is happy to answer all your questions and works well with the staff, this is a good sign. You may want to enquire as to whether they have had any bad incidents in the past and how they were caused. Look for somewhere with outside space, some nurseries take the children to the park however if you have a boy it is certainly good to have a nursery with its own garden as well.
Make sure your child is happy in childcare and if not, donâ€™t leave things to linger week after week your childâ€™s behaviour with you, will be a good indication of how happy your child is with any new arrangements.
Contact me for more advice.