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AIBU to just not like nurseries very much?

(200 Posts)
HardlyEverHoovers Thu 17-Jan-13 08:21:56

Before I had my own child I occasionally had to spend some time in nurseries as part of my studies etc, this made me decide I didn't want to work with children, NOT because I don't like the kids but because I don't really like the environment. Thought I might feel differently with my own BUT went to visit a nursery yesterday, thought this would be the one, lots of likeminded friends love it and send their kids there, but just came out feeling completely uninspired.
It's a general feeling of discomfort but here are some specifics:
They said they would 'assess' my 2 year old, is this really necessary?
They seem to be trying to impose structure on children who are too young to understand it and they just look totally mystified.
They write down virtually everything they do which seems a bit uneccessary.
They showed me the toilet/changing area and it occurred to me that DS would be having his nappy changed by someone other than me or his dad and that makes me uncomfortable.

Am I missing something? Is there a sort of nursery I could try and find which is a bit more 'free range'? I love the idea of forest nurserys where the kids are outside all the time but I can't find any near us.

Thankfully we don't need to send him as at least one of us is at home all day, but just wondering why I feel like this when most people seem to think it's a good thing.

p.s. really really no offence to nursery staff who I know are very skilled, love kids and have mountains of patience.

Greensleeves Thu 17-Jan-13 20:45:28

I think Spero's argument is a nonsense tbh

Of course it is acceptable - and inevitable - to have opinions about what is best for children in general. Do you think your child's teacher doesn't? How then do you think practitioners develop a personal ethos and principles? Everybody forms opinions, it's how the human mind works. I think child labour is destructive. I think smacking is wrong. I don't like seeing tiny babies with pierced ears because I think it is cruel and unnecessary.

Asking people to comment only in terms of their own empirical background and their own children is ridiculous. You can't suppress opinions and debate just because other people's views make you feel uncomfortable. If you feel you can't defend your choices, well, that's a matter for you to address. But don't come to a parenting discussion forum and pull people up on discussing parenting!

Madness. And pedantry.

hrrumph Thu 17-Jan-13 21:09:57

Can only speak from my experience. I looked at a few nurseries and eventually picked quite a structured one, with a fairly strict manager.

They had lots of activities all laid out in the morning. Staff were loving, friendly but also adept at bringing the dc on. My dc thrived on the routine. She loved it. She knew exactly what to expect at different times of the day. Mine only went a couple of days a week from around age 2. But the dc who were there longer - were really well prepared for school. Independent and confident.

For mine, she got to an age where she wanted to be with friends all day. I could take her for an hour to toddler group, but what she wanted was hours of play with other dc.

I think sometimes as a new mum (well for me anyway) you don't know what they are capable of/could or should be doing. I was grateful for the nursery staff's experience with that.

The assessment and paperwork - is a legal requirement I think. I'd want to know if all the others were doing something and mine was lagging behind so that we could work on it a bit.

My dd still talks about it several years later. Recently she asked Santa for a dvd she used to watch there at hometime.

I have to admit I had looked round some nurseries when she was around 15 months and decided not to go ahead. But once she hit two it worked really well. Not saying it's the same for every dc. But for mine, she enjoyed it and it helped her a lot.

3monkeys3 Thu 17-Jan-13 21:15:30

I think it is a case of finding the right childcare for your child. We viewed many nurseries when we were looking for ds1 and ended up feeling very down in the dumps about it, as we didn't like any of them! In the end we found a lovely lovely lovely Montessori nursery and my dc couldn't be happier there. Not all nurseries are the same - if you are basing your opinion on one nursery, then you are being shortsighted and unreasonable.

soverylucky Thu 17-Jan-13 21:25:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Thu 17-Jan-13 21:27:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kerstina Thu 17-Jan-13 21:36:58

I have not read the whole thread but just wanted to add my thoughts. I am a qualified Nursery nurse and have worked at lots of different settings. I stayed at home with my son till he was 2 and a half he started at the local playgroup and I also worked as a member of staff there. I could not have wished for a better start for him(regardless of whether I was there or not).Believe it or not the children actually love being at a nursery or playgroup they make friends and have great fun, learn to share,socialise and play. There are lots of new experiences for them.
I would not rate all nurseries so highly but you should be able to tell whether your child is happy or not. I am afraid I do not really rate the private day nurseries that I worked as much as the other settings. The staff turnover is high and staff tend to be young and inexperienced as was I. However if the love for the children is there that counts for a lot.
I think you are projecting your negative feelings a bit. Your child might just love being in a nursery if you give them the chance!

Hobbitation Thu 17-Jan-13 21:42:53

Mine went to childminder from 11/8 months respectively and a mixture of pre-school/childminder from 2.5. I didn't even look at nurseries tbh, just didn't like the whole idea of it for a baby.

KoalaTale Thu 17-Jan-13 22:03:03

Yanbu, I felt the same way, hence chose a CM. I think nursery is good for over threes, no way is my pfb going before then though.

farewellfarewell Thu 17-Jan-13 22:10:50

Yanbu, would not send an under 2.5/3yr old to a nursery unless I had no other option. Also disagree with your comment about "most people" thinking it is a good thing...

Permanentlyexhausted Thu 17-Jan-13 22:17:39

Good childcare is good childcare, and bad childcare is always going to exist somewhere. That applies equally across every sort of childcare setting - nurseries, childminders, at home with parents, wherever.

Personally speaking mine both went to a day nursery when they were 6 months old. I always felt very confident that they were cared for and I know they were happy. There was not, and still isn't, a high staff turnover. Plenty of the staff who were there when my son started are there now, over 8 years later. Maybe the staff badmouthed me after I'd picked the children up - who knows, who cares? As long as they cared for my children properly, it doesn't actually matter. It's hardly a phenomenon confined to nurseries anyway!

Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with in terms of childcare given the circumstances they find themselves in and threads like this are generally unhelpful.

MyChemicalMummy Thu 17-Jan-13 22:23:37

I sent my son to a institution for 3 years. he loved every minute of it. But then he was one of the favourite so got special treatment lol!

breatheslowly Thu 17-Jan-13 22:35:07

I think DD's nursery is great. She has been there since 6 months, starting on 2 mornings a week to get used to it and then going 3 days a week from 11 months when I went back to work. I didn't consider a CM as I like the child focussed environment, having multiple staff and saw some very disengaged CM at our local toddler group.

They do assess my DD - it means that they can plan activities she will enjoy and will pick up on any areas where she could do with a bit more help or practice. Assessing her is also fun for her, for example her key worker took her to visit the staff room to assess whether she can climb stairs, so she got to do a special visit with one-to-one care.

DD thrives on the structure. She completely understands when she has a snack, how to sit nicely at the table, to ask to get down etc. The structure is one reason that children behave better at nursery than at home (most of the time) as they know what is coming next. I have never seen any children looking mystified at DD's nursery.

They do write down what they do, as part of their planning, so they can share their day with the parents, so we know what DD has eaten, whether she has done a poo. I find this really useful as I know that she eats a wider range of vegetables at nursery than at home and I can try her on them at home. They do fill in things like the accident form I signed today - it was important for me to know that DD had an accident (very much the type of accident she might have at home, nothing to do with her going to nursery) and that she had cuddles to make it better.

They do change DD's nappy and I do a little inwards dance when I pick her up at 6pm to be told that they changed a pooey nappy at 5.30pm.

If it's any help I would just not like to be at home with DD all the time. It would drive me crazy and I would be a much worse mother for it. I would be bored and probably end up depressed. I think that the nursery staff have more patience and know more about dealing with small children than I do. I think DD would be lonely without other children to interact with. Even going to playgroups with me is not as good as nursery for her as she tends to be a bit clingy at playgroups, whereas at nursery she is a very happy, outgoing and confident child. It is horses for courses, but I just wouldn't like to be a SAHM.

shellshock7 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:35:07

I've not read the whole thread, but YANBU. I have just surprised myself with this opinion.

DS (10m) was just supposed to start nursery one day a week, I have returned to work 3 days and my DM was having him 2...but after his settling In sessions my mum is having him all 3 days now.

DS cried the whole time he was there, it was a shock as he never cries and had certainly never cried when I left the room etc. before, but at nursery he was inconsolable when I wasn't there and very clingy with me in the room. I came to the conclusion that he is just to young not to have one to one care with someone who knows his needs and will care for him as I would.

I was also shocked at nursery itself, and I had (by accident!) chosen one of the best in the area as it was handy for walking to work, but babies were basically just left to amuse themselves, most were just sat crying, some were left in cots awake the whole time I was there and all had very snotty noses. The babies that couldn't crawl/walk were just left in chairs to occupy themselves.

This isn't a criticism of the nursery, but reinforced my opinion that babies that young really do need more care than the one adult to three babies ratio nurseries have to meet.

The next room up seemed much happier as the children were older and had a certain degree of independence so I will try DS again when he is older. I am very lucky tho that my DM can, and loves, having him.

JollyRedGiant Thu 17-Jan-13 22:39:26

Whether or not nursery 'benefits' children under 3 surely depends a lot on individual circumstances.

If the SAHP is totally knackered and needs a break from a demanding toddler 1 day a week in order to be enthusiastic the other 6 days then this is surely a good thing?

Also, nurseries have a wide range of activities that one or two parents may not think of. And messier activities than those allowed at home.

A wider vocabulary can surely be gained from interacting with other adults who use different words or turns of phrase to parents.

And I don't think it is bad for a young child without siblings to be taught how to share in a way they won't be able to learn at home.

I can see benefits for both the child and the parents, in certain circumstances. The situation needs to work for everyone in order for it to be the right solution.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 17-Jan-13 22:55:46


It is a very personal decision who cares for your children and nobody can tell you if you are right or wrong because there is no right or wrong, unless there are welfare issues.
I don't like any institutional setting for children and believe them in many instances to be detrimental to their development and education.
The freedom dc gain without this can be a real eye opener.
I can see why some prefer to outsource care and education, its each to their own.

PurpleStorm Thu 17-Jan-13 23:45:40

I think a lot depends on the nursery itself.

DS goes to a small nursery, and he's happy there, and usually starts heading for the toys before I've even left the room. They've also got a large garden, with separate sections for the babies/toddlers and the bigger kids, so plenty of room for the kids to play outside, weather permitting.

And I think having structure at a nursery is good for DS in the same way as us having a routine at home is good for DS.

They write down what he's eaten, how long he's napped, how many times they've changed his nappy, which is all useful information. They're required to assess all the children against the early years foundation stage - as I understand it, that's a legal requirement for them. It might not feel strictly necessary from my point of view, but if DS did show signs of developmental delay, this might mean it was picked up earlier.

And as for nappies, there's no getting around that unless you're going to avoid childcare until your DC is fully toilet trained.

Personally, I didn't want DS to be cared for by a childminder or nanny. I'm uncomfortable with that kind of childcare unless I know the adult very well. This is mostly because of the very poor relationship I had with the nanny who looked after me when I was little - she didn't like me, made this very clear to me, and I found her very intimidating and frightening. I know rationally that I'm probably being daft, because there are plenty of very good childminders and nannies who love children out there, but I just couldn't get my own experience out of my head when choosing childcare for DS.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 18-Jan-13 09:35:22

athing you need to read the paragraph as a whole rather than comment on one sentence in isolation. The conclusion being that many people become CM's for reasons totally unassociated with wanting to work with DC.

Whilst I don't need everyone who comes into professional contact with my DC to have a vocation for children I'd prefer if liking DC's was a deciding factor in their decision.

The motivation of a nursery owner matters to me far less than that of the staff they choose to employ

AThingInYourLife Fri 18-Jan-13 09:51:40

"The motivation of a nursery owner matters to me far less than that of the staff they choose to employ"

Oh right, you see the founding principles of the business and the commitment of the owners to maintaining those ideals would matter a lot more to me than why a young, poorly paid woman said she worked there.

I know that "I love working with children" is often code for "I wasn't very good in school".

londonkiwi Fri 18-Jan-13 10:41:35

Surely both AThing and Spero (and others) have a point.

I have some opinions about children / childcare that are my general view about what's best for all children (like "smacking is wrong" or "people shouldn't smoke around children" or whatever).

But then I have some opinions that are based on my own experience with my own children (like my 2 year old seems overwhelmed at nursery so I will keep them at home or look for other childcare options).

So I will say "I don't think nursery is best for my child," because I'm aware that children are different and other 2 yr olds seem to thrive at nursery.

jellybeans Fri 18-Jan-13 11:41:05

I find them regimented and institutional even though DD1 was in one full time although hers was very good and more 'home like' with older mature staff. I think 2.5 to 3 year olds can love it as they start social play at this age. I think for babies it is purely about childcare than any benefit for the child. For some kids it is fine and for others it may not suit. My DD hated it so I left as soon as I could. I am now SAHM but all have been to preschool from age 3ish.

HardlyEverHoovers Fri 18-Jan-13 12:37:48

thanks for all the opinions, it's been especially nice to hear from shellshock and others who've had similar experiences. It's also been really nice to hear about peoples differing experiences of differing settings. The nicest nurseries I have been in have been council run ones, which tend to have older staff. Unfortunately the ones like that near us seem to be closing down.
I have been quite surprised by the arguments going on within this thread, and was also quite surprised that I got sworn at a couple of times-I don't think that's happened since secondary school!
I think maybe I should have written my initial post in a different way and put it somewhere other that aibu.
For what it's worth I don't see the problem with people forming opinions from their experience, and expessing them. If you don't agree then you just do what you feel is best, there is no need to disprove anyone or feel threatened by someone elses opinion.
Anyway, I have been really benefited from this as it's helped me to feel confident that I am not depriving my DS and this is something that we can revisit at a later stage.
Also kungfu I really like your point that here we are, arguing about what's best for our children, which means they are all loved and cared for.

MammytoM Fri 18-Jan-13 12:57:45

Do you have any play group type provision in your area? Not mother and baby groups, but play group within a school where you leave them on their own and collect them later? The school nearest to me has this and they can start at 2. It runs four mornings a week for two hours at a time, so you can choose which days you want to take them. This would avoid the nappy changing issue, as they are only there two hours. You could have a little break and DS gets to have fun and learn new things smile

lotsofdogshere Fri 18-Jan-13 13:06:43

My children went to child minders as I preferred a home to nursery environment. It worked great for me, but has to be an individual choice and friends who used nurseries were generally equally happy with their choice. . By the way - "assessment" isn't something nursery workers think up to make themselves feel important, it is something imposed by ofsted and the early years foundation regulations. Childminders have to do it as well now.

HardlyEverHoovers Fri 18-Jan-13 13:38:06

I'll look into the playgroup thing mammy, I remember going to one of those when I was little, but it seems mostly groups where you stay (which we already go to) or proper nurseries round here.

MammytoM Fri 18-Jan-13 14:11:37

Hopefully you will find something suitable soon smile I'm in Wales and they have them in lots of places here but not sure about anywhere else

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