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Nursery or Childminder? Advice needed.

(5 Posts)
dixia Sat 06-Jun-09 17:09:28

We are moving back to the UK from Spain where we have been for 5 years. When we lived in the UK before, I looked after my oldest DS myself as I was at home. He is now school age and that is all sorted.

DS2 is 2.5 and has had a nanny in Spain for the last year. He loves her! When we come back to England we will need childcare for him 3 or 3.5 days a week as DH and I run our own company and both work full (ish) time.

Now I am stuck! What do I do - childminder or nursery? What are the benefits and drawbacks?

We will be in Amersham/Chesham area, so if anyone has hot tips - do let me know!


jkklpu Sat 06-Jun-09 17:18:07

I'd have thought you'd need to consider:
- cost
- location: how near would either be in terms of your regular drop-off/collection routine
- contingency plans: if childminder is ill, you're stuffed, whereas there are always staff at nursery, so what would you do if CM were out of action?
- CM has holiday time
- if CM, what other efforts would you make for your ds2 to meet other children/do all the extra stuff that nurseries do and you never have the ingenuity for?
- after this great experience, how do you think your ds will take to "losing" the lovely person who's been looking after him and presented with someone else?
- what happens next? Does the primary school you might have your eye on have a pre-school you'd want to get him into at 3? how long an arrangement would the CM/nursery be for?

Have a look at the local council site on childcare as they usually give options for both so you could contact some and talk on the phone. Do you know anyone already in the area to ask advice? I'm sure there will be some local MN-ers along later to help you out.

dixia Sat 06-Jun-09 17:37:14

Thanks Jkklpu for your advice and pointers - that is really helpful.

The school would only take him at aged 4, so I am looking at an arrangement for 2 years.

I think he is fairly fickle at his age so I'm not sure that losing his lovely nanny will affect him for too long. Just wonder if this is a good time to work towards a more school type experience, hence the nursery?

jkklpu Sun 07-Jun-09 21:46:54

Could well be. My 2xds (3yr8mo, 20 mo) are at my work nursery 3 days/week. Although it means we all travel into and out of London, we've made this into an extra bit of time together that is different and fun - esp travel by boat in the mornings. They get loads from nursery, which has the benefit of being an unusually caring, child-centred place that just got an Outstanding across the board from Ofsted. And they wouldn't have had nearly as much stimulation and variety from a single person. Ds2 had a hard time settling in (at 9mo) but now loves it. And ds1, who's more sensitive, has an amazing time.

Obviously, nurseries are all different and there are some where you would not want to let your child spend a second. I think gut instinct on this is pretty good. If your lo is bilingual in Spanish/English, yo might be able to find one with other similar children or a Spanish-speaking member of staff to keep him exposed a little to the language. You could always find a Spanish-speaking au pair, I suspect, though a qualified CM might be harder in Bucks.

I think you just need to think about your son's character and try to work out whether the sociability options of nursery are appropriate for this major change. Good luck with it whatever you decide and also best of luck with transplanting your business. Not sure where in Spain you live but your nearest British consulate (offshoot of the embassy) may well have a DWP person on the staff who could give you advice for re-entry to the British tax and benefits system (including child benefit), should you need it.

dixia Mon 08-Jun-09 20:21:58

Thanks v much Jkklpu. I think nursery would be the right thing for my DS. he is very sociable and I think would enjoy the experience a lot.

Your nursery sounds great - how lucky you are


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