A thread for parents to ask nursery nurses questions they wouldn't ask in real life?

(59 Posts)
Wishuponastar011 Wed 16-Apr-14 20:57:44

Thought this would be a good idea because I'm sure there are some questions that you would like to know the answer to that you can't ask in real life!

Waggamamma Wed 16-Apr-14 21:26:55

Do you have favourite children?

What things annoy you most about parents?

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Wed 16-Apr-14 21:28:06

Would you childcare yourself.

Friedbrain Wed 16-Apr-14 21:29:54


Do you play with the children all the time? Or do you get bored (and a bit irritated) by them?

misssmapp Wed 16-Apr-14 21:32:03

What do you really think of parents who leave young babies in for long days? Would you choose that for your children?

Friedbrain Wed 16-Apr-14 21:35:55

I worked in a nursery for 5 years..

I will try answer some questions for you..

obviously everyone feels different but these are what the people I worked with felt... (around 50 nursery workers)

Yes we feel sorry for babies who are in nursery long days but understand sometimes there are no other options

Yes we have our favourite children

As a whole someone who gets bored or irrated with children shouldn't be in childcare

We do not play with the children all of the time, there's paperwork and so much other stuff there is to do angry

Friedbrain Wed 16-Apr-14 21:37:48

Things that annoy nursery workers most:

(As.a whole, in my experience)

The parent that walks in 2 minutes before the nursery closes and wants a full blown conversation about there child

Wishuponastar011 Thu 17-Apr-14 06:22:52

Yes we have favourite children, but keep it to ourselves!

Most annoying things about parents are when they expect the child's routine to stay the same when they start nursery to when they were at home.
Also agree that parents who pick up 2 minutes to when we finish who want a full blown handover, or late and argue about paying the late fee!

We don't play with children all the time, they have to learn to initiate their own play. And there is so much else we have to do throughout the day!

I wouldn't leave my child in a nursery, would choose a childminder every time!

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Thu 17-Apr-14 07:23:46

I've heard that a lot from nursery workers....why would you choose a cm over nursery? Would you still do some pre school when bigger?

NannyPeach Thu 17-Apr-14 07:30:03

I have heard that from nursery workers too, so chose to use childminder for my dc and the preschool nursery from age 3.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Thu 17-Apr-14 08:20:50

(Do cm conversely say use a nursery?!)
I'm curious to hear why a nursery nurse prefers a cm. I think I would too but curious to know what an actual childcare professional thinks as opposed to my ponderings!

Interesting thread. I hope it doesn't upset any parent who through sheer necessity have to rely on nursery care.

That said though, our ex nanny started off as a nursery worker. She always said she'd choose a CM over a nursery, an au pair over a CM for older children and a nanny over a CM/au pair for younger children.

She said children are very safe in nurseries, but that they are "cared for, but not always in a very caring way"

She was a big fan of early years (3+) education, but said she'd favour non profit making nursery provision (surestart, school nurseries) over private nurseries.

Friedbrain Thu 17-Apr-14 10:38:24

I was a nursery nurse for 5 years..
I would say;

Nanny for under 3's....

Preschool care for over 3's...

rallytog1 Thu 17-Apr-14 11:22:59

Interesting thread... wouldn't you say though that a good nursery is better than a mediocre nanny or childminder?

My 11mo dd is in nursery three days a week and absolutely loves it. We tried a childminder but she wasn't happy and seems far more comfortable in a bigger group. Is she unusual or is it likely to be a reflection on the quality of the different settings?

AGnu Thu 17-Apr-14 11:30:44

I trained to work in a nursery or as a TA. I did 3 placements in children's centres & one in a reception class - one CC & the school were held up as standards of excellence in the area. I've never applied for a job in either but have done a little nannying.

I now plan to home-ed my children as a result of my experiences!

HappyTalking Thu 17-Apr-14 13:14:47

rallytog I would think it may be to do with the quality of the settings.

I work in a nursery, i would choose a good nursery over a childminder but i do have high standards. I went to visit 6 nurseries with my sister for her DS before i found one i was completely happy with.

I do not play all day long, part of my job is to help children to learn how to initiate play themselves and to play alongside and then with other children.

I would never judge parents for sending their children, people have to work.

I wouldn't say i have favourites but there are always children who have that extra special bond with you.

blacksheep2014 Thu 17-Apr-14 18:32:56

signed up just to follow this thread, been lurking for a few weeks lol. I've worked in nurseries for 7 years now and peoples experiences of group childcare fascinate me.

We have children who are extra special to us but the great thing about that is, in my experience, they are different kids for every one of the team so every child has a close bond with someone.

My pet hate is parents who ask us to support them with toilet training, provide very few or no changes of clothes at all and then put their kids back in nappies the second they are home.

We don't play all day but we certainly don't have time to get bored :-)

Molly1990 Thu 17-Apr-14 19:55:19

I'm a former nursery nurse, now a nanny. Will answer some of the questions!

Do you have favourite children?
Yes but I never showed preference.

What things annoy you most about parents?
When parents send in children in their best clothes and say they can't get dirty, or when they say their children cannot sleep all day even though they really need to!

What do you really think of parents who leave young babies in for long days?
I feel bad for them. I often think if they saw how their babies were cared for they would take them out. I have done mainly supply work and I have seen some care which I really disagree with. Quite a few nursery nurses believe in the mantra that babies can be spoiled if you always pick them up when they cry, especially at the 1-2 age. I have seen children crying for cuddles for very long periods of time, and been told not to cuddle crying children myself because they have to learn 'independence'

Would you choose that for your children?
I would choose a nanny or a childminder. I would never use a nursery after doing supply in around 50 settings.

why would you choose a cm over nursery?
For the above reasons!

Friedbrain Thu 17-Apr-14 20:40:52

You can have awful care in all situations...

Nanny, Cm, nursery.... Very much depends on the setting.

Solasum Thu 17-Apr-14 20:53:59

So far I have felt weird giving bottles of expressed BM to my nursery nurses as they always seem a bit surprised I am bothering. Do you prefer dealing just with formula? (stupid Q I know)

Friedbrain Thu 17-Apr-14 20:59:03

They should not be making you feel weird at all!!!!!

Your baby, your choice!

Knackeredmum13 Thu 17-Apr-14 21:05:33

This thread is making me very nervous about leaving my baby in nursery when I go back to work.

TiggyKBE Thu 17-Apr-14 21:11:20

Yes we do have favourite children, but we don't let it show. (By we I mean good staff. Bad staff may be different.)

Annoying things about parents? Ones that come in the last minute of nursery and then want to talk for 10 minutes. Parents with idiotic requests such as 'I want my child to call poo "solid bodily waste"' or the one the other day who's child was allergic to cherry tomatoes. Regular tomatoes were fine, it was just the cherry ones. hmm. Or parents who want us to rearrange everything to fit in with their child. And the generally rude ones. And the unsuitable clothes. And the pervey ones.

Good staff play with the children and keep them busy all the time. Happy busy children are easier than bored ones after all. Bad staff tend to be lazy and ignore the children quite a bit. And yes there is a lot of other stuff to do. Paperwork, preparing activities, making the place look nice, cleaning, etc.

Nursery nurses tend to feel a bit sorry for babies left for a long time, but understand it's often necessary.

wouldn't you say though that a good nursery is better than a mediocre nanny or childminder? - Yes. Unfortunately there are very few good nurseries about. Maybe 20% are good. I'd prefer a great nursery and they account for less than 5% IMO. Most nurseries are crap, poor, or mediocre.

*Nanny for under 3's....
Preschool care for over 3's...* - That seems to be the general consensus amongst nursery nurses.

TiggyKBE Thu 17-Apr-14 21:17:48

Solasum Most children send in formula milk, so it's unusual in the not usual sense rather than unusual-weird. Plus, I have a suspicion that a lot of the 17 or 18 year old staff haven't really thought much about breastfeeding, and some might be a bit hmm about 'body fluids' being passed over.

Bobsmyaunty Fri 18-Apr-14 06:31:35

This is a really interesting thread.

I'd like to know how honest staff are if your baby / child snt settling in. E.g. Do they tell you how long and how many times they cried etc.

I'm just about to put my 1 year old DD in for 3 months, 1 day a week (the length of my work contract). I'd love to know if that's just not going to work / worth it for settling in.

Booboostoo Fri 18-Apr-14 08:10:49

DD has been going to a nursery 2-3 hours a day 3-5 days a week since she was 18mo, loves it and it has benefited her confidence enormously, so I have a vested interest in this debate!

Is it possible that there are more negative views of nurseries because there is more transparency there than with CMs? I suspect there are as many good nurseries as there are good CMs and the same goes for poor nurseries, but the nursery, because of its set-up, is a place where a lot of people have access to so more people are likely to notice the shortcomings. The CM works primarily on her own so you'd have less general knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors, and still you get quite a few stories of unacceptable CM behaviour on here.

MichaelFinnigan Fri 18-Apr-14 08:21:37

Well this is a lovely reassuring thread hmm

I'd like to know if you're told the truth when you do pickup, if your child had been sad or whatever - do you tell parents

And is it normal for the carers to have to do the end of day cleaning of the building? It's a bugbear of mine. Our nursery seems quite grubby, but if I were a 19 yr old who's spent all day looking after a room of toddlers I'm not sure cleaning would be top of my priorities come 6pm. I think, considering the fees we pay, proper cleaners should be employed.

Cindy34 Fri 18-Apr-14 08:30:59

Is a small nursery likely to form a closer relationship to the children than a big nursery? Or does it depend on the individual staff?

Used to work in nurseries 15-20 years ago, expect things have changed quite a bit.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Fri 18-Apr-14 09:03:02

I think a cm would have a different bond with her mindees as it's a more homelike environmental and a smaller group. Also more autonomy. A nursery is a job where you're working with lots of children in the same room most of the day.

Anyone been a cm and a nursery nurse?

Certainly I'd avoid nurseries based on talking to nursery workers in the past but when I thought id got a short term teaching contract I investigated out of necessity. It was an "outstanding" nursery and well regarded and would have been fine if I'd had to use it... But I certainly wouldn't out of choice of not working.

Booboostoo Fri 18-Apr-14 09:18:59

In DD's nursery staff stay with children from the beginning and for the next 3 years, moving up from the babies' group to the toddlers to the 3yos. Of course new children may arrive every year, especially as the staff to children ratio changes as they grow older but they have a pretty stable group of children to look after over a long period of time and I always see the same people working there with the same children.

rallytog1 Fri 18-Apr-14 09:26:37

I'm honestly shocked at the negativity towards nurseries from nursery staff - I don't know if I'm just lucky to live in an area where the nursery provision is really good or whether I'm just deluded about the quality of my dd's nursery!

I have to say I'm continually delighted by the nursery we've chosen. My dd loves the staff, gets excited when we pull up outside the building and always looks happy when I peer through the window later in the day. Every day we get a sheet telling us what she's eaten, what her nappies were like, how much milk she's had and even what songs and stories they've done that day. She's normally very happy, so when she's having an off day they'll phone to let us know, so we can decide whether we want to pick her up (but no pressure). They recently spotted that she's developing an interest in naming and touching body parts, so they've started reading books and singing songs with her to encourage that. I feel this is all fantastic.

Should I be expecting more (?!) or are we just lucky enough to have found a great nursery?

TiggyKBE Fri 18-Apr-14 09:31:02

Staff are usually pretty honest about telling parents how happy their child has been, although they try to sugar coat it a bit.

Bobsmyaunty - One day a week for 3 months for a one year old might work, but it might not. A lot of nurseries don't accept children for just one day per week because some children end up never settling. They forget about nursery over the week and never get used to it. That's some children. Others are fine.

MichaelFinnigan - Yes it is fairly normal for staff to clean at the end of the day. Some nurseries do it because it's cheaper and some, like several I've worked in, because they have had so many problems trying to get cleaners to do a decent job. However, staff doing routine cleaning cannot be counted in childcare ratios, and packing up 90% of the play space to make cleaning/mopping easier is naughty. The main problem for staff (in some nurseries) is they get told they have to clean but they're given no time after children's opening times to do it.

Is a small nursery likely to form a closer relationship to the children than a big nursery? - Depends on the general quality of the nursery of course, but there seems to be more swapping around of staff in the bigger nurseries which makes bonding harder. It's a general trend but a good big one is better than a poor little one. It's worse in chain nurseries where the staff have to look after children according to rules set hundreds of miles away rather than using their own abilities.

TiggyKBE Fri 18-Apr-14 09:37:36

I'd just like to point out that a great nursery is a wonderful thing where children are cherished and everybody feels happy and secure. A place of fun and learning for children and staff. A safe and healthy place with feel like a family that just happens to have 50 children. I've worked in places like that and it's the best job in the world.

I'd like to know how qualified it's reasonable for me to expect the staff to be. I am getting increasingly worried by the level of (il)literacy displayed by many of the younger staff, especially as DD gets more interested in letters and reading. Some of them use lower case and capitals interchangeably within words. It didn't seem to matter so much when DD was very little but now she's 2.6. I don't know whether I'm being precious but it's really worrying me now and I'm thinking of moving her. She's meant to move to the preschool room in September-how will they be preparing her for school if they can't differentiate between e and E?

This is in an 'outstanding' Montessori nursery btw. She only goes one day a week so obviously the vast majority of the time she's with me.

TiggyKBE Fri 18-Apr-14 10:29:47

Nursery work is minimum wage work. Apprentices get much lower than minimum wage. I even saw a nursery company the other day who were proud of their low wages as it made sure they got staff who were committed to childcare and not just in it for the money. angry. But you get what you pay for and now the government has capped income at a very low level by the "free" place scheme you're going to get a lot more illiterate staff.

And the ofsted "outstanding" grades mean that in the opinion of one inspector on one day in the last 4 years it was outstanding. I've worked in some crap outstanding places.

insancerre Fri 18-Apr-14 10:38:59

I've worked in nurseries for years and I would use one if I had a baby
I didn't use them when mine were babies as I had no need to as I was a sahm
I have worked with fantastic nursery nurses who I would feel comfortable at leaving my child with
I've also worked with some awful ones I would not leave a dog with
I would choose a nursery over a cm every time because on not comfortable with one person having sole care of several children
I like the rework in a. nursery and mix of ages experiences and characters
as far as qualifications go this is definitely a problem
school standards have slipped and young people are leaving without

knowing how to spell and use grammar
but this is not confined to nursery workers. I k ow a trainee teacher who has just got her first teaching job and her spelling is awful. she can't even spleen words like coming.
I run a setting that strives very hard to form good relationships with children and their parents because it is more beneficial for the child.
I know it works. I recently eon a parents choice award as lots of patents voted for me.
I believe in being honest with parents do yes I will tell you if they have been crying and for how long but I will support both patent and child in the settling in process
I once witnessed s parent of a baby break down on the hallway after leaving their baby for the first time. it has stuck with me forever and I understand how hard it must be as I have children myself.
I do have favourite children and these are normally the most challenging and need nursery care the most.
I love my job and wouldn't want to do anything else. I do it because I passionately believe it is important and that I can make a difference in children's lives. I certainly don't do it for he money.
my biggest bugbear is when patents font seem to value what I do beyond changing nappies and keeping their child safe.
I have a degree and the title of Early Yeats Professional and I just wish that some people didn't look down on me just because I work with children.

insancerre Fri 18-Apr-14 10:41:10

I can spell I just can't seem to type on my phone grin

HappyTalking Sat 19-Apr-14 09:58:35

michaelfinegan i always tell parents the truth, parents need an honest answer about how their child has been that day, whether that is happy sad quiet etc.

rallytog sounds like you have found a good nursery. There are lots of good nurseries out there filled with staff who genuinely care about your child, sadly there are also places with unmotivated disinterested staff too and they can give all nurseries a bad name.

Babiecakes91 Sat 19-Apr-14 11:16:48

I have a question as a mother of an almost 3 year old with autism. He at nursery likes doing his own thing he gets extra support 3 times for 30 minutes for 1 on 1.
It made me wonder for the rest of them time would you let him do his own thing or would you try and get him joining in with the rest of the group. (Non verbal no understanding)
Also he's got a milk allergy which has been ignored time and time again he even got sent home with a milk chocolate easter egg this week. How do parents bring this up without looking like an overbearing parent. They have medical letters stating the milk allergy and I have mentioned it loads of times.
Btw it's a council run nursery and is rated the best in our county x

jasminemai Sun 20-Apr-14 12:20:43

Ive worked in many nurseries and would always want mine in nursery. All mine started as tiny babies and I personally dont think I offer anything near as good as nursery at home at any age. If I was a rich sahm I would pay out for mine to be in nursery part of the time.

Ok, got another. Does ofsted really matter?

TiggyKBE Sun 20-Apr-14 23:18:07

Babiecakes91 - The milk thing is really worrying. It's a very clear, obvious and understandable "no milk". No chance of misinterpretation, just staff who can't be very clever or bothered.

With ofsted I think it's best to read the report. I've come across many where you're not exactly sure if the inspector has actually visited the nursery. Loose generic statements that could apply to anybody: A bit like horoscopes.

Greenybrownish Sun 20-Apr-14 23:30:54

I am a nursery nurse and use a pre school for my little one, since she turned 2. I ve also used childminder until she went to pre school and can see good and bad points for both. I think each nursery/ pre school is different and usually you can tell on a visit what kind of place it is. From working in various settings if the staff are obv trying too hard on your visit it's usually the opposite to the way they work where the ones that are relaxed and not all fake look how lovely we are , are the best ones that really are genuine.

hotcrosshunny Mon 21-Apr-14 22:11:57

I think this thread is a good idea as it should be exposed if our children receive opoor care.

I was put off nursery when seeing the staff ignore a crying child. They were saying he was being manipulative. He was under 1 FFS and was settling in so of course unsettled. My ds was one of the favourites and you could tell which ones they didn't like.

Molly1990 Mon 21-Apr-14 23:38:01

I don't think ofsted means a lot. I worked in a nursery graded 'good' the previous week and witnessed one year old children being shouted at, told to 'shut up' etc. another child left to cry themselves to sleep for 40 minutes...

I think one reason I would prefer childminder/nanny is you can pick one with a similar childcare philosophy, and check they understand child development. A lot of nursery nurses lack very basic knowledge regarding normal social and emotional child development. The problem is when you get a few bad staff working in a room it just normalises poor practice, so I wouldn't say it makes it 'safer' than a a carer who is working unsupervised! Bad staff will sit around gossipping, ignoring the children.

adsy Wed 23-Apr-14 18:00:41

(Do cm conversely say use a nursery?!)
No!!! I've never come across a CM who would willingly use a nursery over a CM or nanny and I kNow lots of current nursery workers and people who have left nurseries to become CM's/ nannies etc.
You simply don't get the same level of care in nurseries and people with direct experience of both will impe never use a nursery.

jasminemai Wed 23-Apr-14 19:13:06

I am a nursery nurse and would never choose a cm over a nursery. I love everything about nurseries and so do all my nursery nurse friends. I would never willingly chose a cm

insancerre Wed 23-Apr-14 19:23:08

I would never chose a cm over a nursery either and don't know any nursery nurses that have used a cm
they have all used a nursery and I have worked with many nursery nurses

adsy Wed 23-Apr-14 19:51:40

Maybe we just have pants nurseries round here ( or very good CM'S grin )but it seems the majority of people in my neighbourhood see nurseries as the second choice , especially as the CM's now all accept the funded places. But as I say, we only have 2 nurseries and TBH they're not exactly great and it's a small community so everybody sees the CM's out and about a lot which maybe gives people more confidence

jasminemai Wed 23-Apr-14 19:57:28

I love nurseries both my children went one from 6 weeks, one from 7 months and Im having another that I want straight in as soon as I can. My children have been utterly spoilt in nurseries and I love the fact its like a massive family. I see all the care in the couple I have worked and there is no way 1 cm could rival it.

jasminemai Wed 23-Apr-14 19:57:41


If I think that DD took her first steps at home, what is the chance that she actually took them at nursery?

TiggyKBE Wed 23-Apr-14 21:49:20

Um...the thing about first steps...um...IS THAT THEY ALWAYS HAPPEN AT HOME!

Look! Over there! A bunny rabbit! Let's talk about that instead!!!

BobTheFly Wed 23-Apr-14 22:07:16

I agree as a CM to Tiggy :-)

You guys must be great liars! DD is quite a bit older now, but I'm still in touch with her babyroom keyworker. It would be a bad idea to see if she can remember, wouldn't it?

jasminemai Wed 23-Apr-14 22:14:06

I dont even know when either my children walked. I cant even remember their birth weights or when they said their first word even though I was definitely there for all of it! I cant say Im bothered as it doesnt really matter to me.

There is no way I would remember for the 100s pf others I have looked after

Fair point, I only remember because we have a video of DD walking into the sofa, toppling over and finding it hilarious.

Bumply Wed 23-Apr-14 22:21:01

Both my boys were in nursery full time from 6 months.
I don't consider them in need of pitying for this.
Maybe I was fortunate but the three nurseries I used were all staffed by people who appeared pleasant, motivated and adequately skilled.
The last nursery/after school club had the advantage if several male staff providing an 'older brother/uncle' type role useful with me being a single mother.
When I did use a child minder briefly while waiting for a nursery place to free up I was struck by the fact that so much time was spent going back and forth to school to drop off and pick up older children.

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