Eight Things to Consider When Choosing Child Care and Picking a Nursery

My Eight Tips For Choosing the Right Nursery childcare kindergarten

My Eight Tips For Choosing the Right Nursery

I don’t know about you but when I had a baby, I knew I’d be going back to work. I just knew I wasn’t cut out to stay at home until b went to school. I enjoy working and I wanted to go back for me. I write more about being a working mum here.

My Eight Tips For Choosing the Right Nursery childcare kindergarten

I was worried though about what would happen with b and as soon as he was born, the prospect of returning to work was fairly daunting – even though it was almost a year away! I knew that some nurseries had waiting lists and I wanted to give ourselves enough time to visit a few and consider all our options. Did we want to go with a nursery or did we want to go with a child minder? Should we pick a nursery close to where we live or close to where I work?

So many questions!

child care options nursery or childminder things to consider

Nursery, Child Minder or Family?

For us, having family look after b was out of the question. My parents live in Hertfordshire and Mr D’s parents had just retired. Although I know they would have considered looking after him, they just didn’t need to be tied down a couple of days a week. It’s time for them to enjoy retirement and make the most of their free days – not be stuck looking after a toddler all week!

I also wasn’t keen on the child minder option. I preferred the idea of a structured nursery setting. And with all that in mind, we started looking around a few nurseries in the Weston-super-Mare area. I wanted to get a feel for as many as possible and understand the differences. What does a good Ofsted rating mean when compared with excellent? I honestly had no idea. My only thought was, how do I know the people working at the nursery will care for my child properly?!

First Impressions

As with most things, first impressions count for a lot – being greeted with a warm and friendly welcome when you enter, and seeing straight away that the nursery is secure- always a bonus.preparing a child for pre school nursery toddler busy bees wsm

We visited a few nurseries in the area and in the end we decided to go with Busy Bees in Weston-super-Mare. We really liked that the facility is a purpose built nursery rather than a building that has been adapted to fit a nursery. We also felt that because they are a national chain of nurseries, they had a lot more to offer than local nurseries in the area.

Here are some things that helped us when we were making the nursery choice:

  1. Look around a few different nurseries and explore your options. How does the nursery feel when you walk in – welcoming and professional?
  2. Read the Ofsted reports but also take them with a pinch of salt. Keep in mind that these reports are based on a one day observation. In my opinion, as long as the nursery was getting a good, I was happy with this.
  3. Be sure to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something worries you are something doesn’t make sense. For some reason I was obsessed with b choking to death so I wanted to understand what first aid training the carers had received. In the end I figured they’d had more than I ever had, and I stopped worrying.
  4. Observe the children in their surroundings – are they happy, what are they doing? I remember walking round when we visited and the pre-schoolers were all having lunch. They were so well behaved, clearing their plates and tidying up!
  5. Don’t be afraid to visit again if you need to.
  6. No question is a stupid question. Just ask away. A good nursery will want to answer your questions.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to some of the parents to get their opinion too. If your nursery run a parent partnership programme, feel free to enquire about speaking with those parents.
  8. Also, when your child starts nursery, try and be realistic. I’m going to pop another post together on this but I should have realised early on that he WOULD have accidents – minor of course – but it is NORMAL for kids to fall over or trip!

Our Nursery Journey

All in all, we have been super happy with little man’s happiness and development at Busy Bees. He has bonded with so many of the carers and not just his key people. He has made friends and he genuinely likes going to nursery. I also think it helps that he goes four full days a week and has been since he was eleven months. This is a constant for him. You can read more about our nursery journey here, where I chat about our move from the toddler room to pre-school. Or you can take a look at how I get involved at the nursery here, doing some fun food with the kids.

So there we go, my tips for finding the right nursery for your child. What experiences have you had? Good? Bad? What childcare options did you choose or do you stay at home?

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what to consider when choosing a nursery for my child nursery or child minder day care

15 comments

  1. great tips. I am on my 3rd and 4th kid- entering preschool (as we call it in the States) so entering that stage looks so different from when I started that journey with my first daughter. Byyeeeeeeeee twins!

    #bigpinklink

  2. For our family, it was the first impression and how the environment felt, the vibe of the place. I also watched how the children responded to the carers. I found it hard to choose and decided at the end to go by personal recommendations. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

  3. Fab tips! My little one is just settling at nursery and it took me months to decide on a nursery. We are blessed with several excellent ones in the area so I visited more than once to come to my decision. It\’s such an important one so important to get it right 🙂 #anythinggoes

  4. Good tips! I will be needing to do this shortly, as now I am a single mother, I need to return to work earlier than when the kids start school as I had earlier planned. #MarvMondays

  5. Oh it\’s such a difficult decision. We looked at a couple and also had to worry about whether they\’d do shifts or not as all the ones we came across had to have them in set days a week which we couldn\’t do. It\’s a relief when they finally get settled and you know they enjoy their time there. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  6. […] I remember when little man started nursery. He was 11 months and just seemed way to small and precious to be left all day. I was full of dread and apprehension and on top of that, I felt super guilty. I wanted to go back to work though and nursery was the best option for us. I also believe that being at a nursery can be a really positive step for little man’s development. We had a number of reasons why we decided to go with Busy Bees in the end. You can read some of our reasons here. […]

  7. For many children, preschool is their first experience in a structured setting with teachers and groups of children. It’s an opportunity to learn to share, follow instructions, and begin the foundation for learning that will occur in elementary school.

  8. When you’re visiting a potential site, pay attention to how the staff interacts with the children. Ideally, a caregiver should be on the floor playing with the kids or holding one on her lap. In their early years, babies need close, loving, interactive relationships with adults in order to thrive.

  9. Until your baby can talk, you will be relying on what the caregiver tells you about your child’s day. Make sure you can communicate comfortably with each other. When you first hand off your child in the morning, you should tell the caregiver how your little one slept the night before, if he is teething, and whether he ate breakfast.

  10. Studies show that children who are in daycare early on have higher intellectual abilities, especially because they have opportunities for observation, parallel play and socialization.

  11. This is some really good information about child care. My sister needs to find a daycare for her son soon. So, I liked that you pointed out that first impressions of a daycare are important.

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