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How to get the best out of your childcare

Monday, 12 December 2016  | 

 

Most parents when they return to work after maternity leave, have to find some form of childcare for their children. It's daunting and something so many of my friends have spoken, cried and worried to me about. It is hard to know what to expect when you book Nursery visits for the first time, even if you have relatives or friends that have their children in a nursery, that doesn't mean it will be the right place for your child. I've listed a few things to bare in mind and questions to ask when you make those first visits, as I am a nursery nurse myself, I feel I've learnt a few things along the way.

1. What is going to work best for your child? Does your little one love being outdoors and you struggle to get them away from the park, or do they prefer reading and quite activities. Bare this in mind when scouring your local nurseries, understand what environment your little one will need, be that a huge garden to run wild in, or a large story corner with beanbags and an endless supply of books.

2. Ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions, in my eyes, there is nothing more important to me than my children so it's vital I know they're taken care of well. Some questions I'd suggest; Is the food freshly prepared on site? What happens if my child is misbehaving? How often do you go outside with the children? Do they go on trips at all?

3. Make sure everyone on site is PAEDIATRIC first aid trained. It's so important, if not all staff are, will there be someone in each room who is at all times? Paediatric first aid is a whole other kettle of fish compared to basic first aid, so don't be fobbed off with 'All our staff are first aid trained' ask what kind of first aid, and how often it's refreshed. You really can't take a gamble when it comes to things like this, and something that would be a deal breaker for me when looking.

4. Do you have school visits? Quite a few nurseries will have teachers come in when your child is almost ready to make that leap to school, to familiarise them with the school they'll be attending. It's such a good idea and makes that whole process of starting school a little less daunting. It also lets you know that the nursery has good contacts and relationships.

5. Check their ofsted rating, don't just see the score and think nothing more. Read the full report, they're never very long but can give you a good insight. A nursery might be 'satisfactory', but when you read the report it can be the 0-1 year side that has let them down, which isn't important to you if you're little one is two.

6. Turn up unexpectedly. Don't book an appointment. Think of it as viewing a house, if you book an appointment I'm sure as hell it's going to be at a time most convenient to them, when the noisy neighbours are out and it's dark so you can't see the huge cracks in the guttering. You get my drift. Turning up randomly will make sure you get a true reflection of what the nursery is like. If they turn you away or try to ask you to rearrange, don't bother.