Having a wobble about DS starting nursery - would appreciate some advice!(19 Posts)
DS is due to start nursery in six weeks time, when he will be nine months old, when I return to work full time. We did all of our nursery visits and registered his place when I was pregnant (busy area of London with long waiting lists!) and were very happy with the nursery we had chosen at the time.
However, I have just taken him to his first settling in session and I hated it! Babies were left to cry, no organised activities (singalongs etc), staff were caring but not very engaged. I have been comforting myself with the thought that, even though he won't get as much love or as many cuddles at nursery, at least he will get lots of stimulation. But after my visit this morning I feel as if he gets more stimulation at home with me - playing with friends, going to the park and going to music sessions / rhyme time / baby bounce etc.
So now I am torn. Becoming a SAHM is not an option. The nursery is hugely expensive (more than 1.5 times our mortgage - bloody London prices!) and I am now wondering if it is worth it. Do I leave him there? Try to find another (maybe cheaper, but probably similar quality) nursery place? Has anyone had good experiences with childminders? Nanny or nanny share is too expensive in this area. I am feeling sick at the thought of leaving my little boy there!
(Goes without saying that this is a PFB )
Personally I would hold out and send him and see how it goes. I thought dd's nursery was a bit chaotic with kids just milling about however as she has been going ibhave realised that there is a huge amount of organisation, it's just not immediately apparent e.g. each child gets one to one time with the keyworker but if you don't happen to see that part of the day, you might think they get little interaction.
Trust your gut. If you dont think your child will get the care he/she needs, then look elsewhere.
Hmm, I think nursery in general is a great thing. My DS is at one and it's absolutely lovely, but the staff are incredibly caring and engaged and very affectionate (quite often at first I would arrive to collect him and he would be having a little cuddle with one of the staff in a quiet part of the room because he was tired and cranky from a long day), I genuinely feel like they care about DS. They do lots of activities, craft and arty stuff mainly but also reading and singing and there is a lot of outsoor play for the older ones. I am so pleased we found it as I didn't get a great vibe from other nurseries we looked at.
If you are feeling unsure it could just be nerves at leaving him, i know I felt the same, or it could be that you are just not getting a good vibe from this particular nursery. Would they let you stay for another longer settling in session and just observe what happens? Mine were quite good about that. Or is it possible to look for an alternative nursery where you feel more comfortable?
Its hard to leave them anywhere, but with these things I think you need to trust your insticts too. i never wanted to leave DS at all but had no doubts about the actual nursery, just that i would miss him!
I think you need to go with your gut. DS has just started nursery and he's a few months older than yours. We visited every nursery in our town and a few in the city where we both work. Some were very much as you describe - children crying in swing chairs etc, even though the staff themselves were absolutely lovely.
We picked the one that we both got a good gut feeling about, it's not the swankiest but it's the smallest and quietest. He is in a small class so the key worker and other staff know him well already. So far I'm happy with it and DS seems very happy there too. He is a very boisterous and outgoing little ball of energy though so the environment and slightly older children (12-18m) in the class suits him well.
That said, my preference would be a childminder for more individualised attention. I know they have other babies and children to look after but I like the idea of the home environment and someone kind and loving who will form a bond with DS. I do think for some children (maybe younger, more shy or quieter children) a CM is more suitable. The reason we didn't go with one in the end was really just that I didn't know where to begin. There were masses of them on childcare.co.uk and they all sounded great on paper. I couldn't begin to narrow them down really. I think a good way to go is a trusted recommendation if possible.
If nursery is so expensive could a nanny or nanny share work?
Also, see how he actually gets on when he goes. DH and I have decided we will review after 3 months to see if DS is happy and if the pick up/drop off etc (very complicated arrangements!) is working out.
I was nervous and sad the first day DS was in but when I went to collect him he had done a finger painting which was hanging on the wall. I was bursting with pride and really pleased he had that opportunity rather than what he usually does with me which is laundry, shopping etc...
Sorry just seen in your post nanny share still too expensive.
Move up north...?
Well, in a 1:3 ratio in one building, he obviously won't get quite the same experience as 1:1 with you, or being home and able to go out and about every day. That can't be news, but, as others have said, Nurseries can sometimes look a bit disorganised but that doesn't mean nothing is happening. Babies are sung to/with, but won't all sit around in a circle doing it at the same time!
Did you visit a few Nurseries before choosing? Seeing something in one can make you ask questions about another.
Have you looked into Childminders, who provide a more 'home from home' environment which might suit you better?
You prob went at a handover time. When I worked in baby room daycare. We had planned activitys and free play.
During free play we would play and interact with the babies, whilst also observing them to plan for future acitvities.
I always took time to cuddle my key babies. It's why I am a baby nanny so I can cuddle a baby at all times :D
Although I moved from nursery to nannying because I wanted more one and one and less paperwork. I enjoyed the babyroom it could be manic but it also could be a peaceful calming environment,
It's not for everyone my new boss decided on nanny over nursery but I'm sure you could find an amazing childminder if you wanted a bit more of a home enviroment.
Hi everyone - thank you so much for your replies. Sorry for the delayed response - have had the flu so have been out of action for the past few days!
I have now been to two more settling-in sessions (three in total so far) and am still not happy at all - I got DH to come with me to one of them so that he could see what he thought and he wasn't happy either. I just didn't like seeing crying babies being deposited on the floor and left there rather than comforted. It definitely seems to depend on the staff though - at my most recent session, someone from one of the other rooms (for toddlers) came into the baby room and she was absolutely lovely - talking to and cuddling all the babies, singing nursery rhymes, bringing different toys to the non-mobile babies etc - everything that I had expected from ALL the staff, to be honest (and I am sure exactly what you would be like, HookandSwan). I wish she were always in the baby room - would be very happy to leave DS with her. I suspect she was sent in because I was there, though.
I just feel so frustrated because I spent so much time and effort picking (what I thought was) the right nursery while I was pregnant - I visited every nursery in my local area and really agonised over the choice. I was probably looking at the wrong factors though (since I knew nothing about babies at the time!).
I am now contacting other local nurseries to see if they have any spaces, and am trying childminders as well (which is something we had not really thought about before). We are on the waiting list for another nursery now but it is council-run and in the neighbouring borough (we live right on the border) so it is a long shot. Worst case scenario we will put him into the current nursery and move him when a space becomes available somewhere else.
Wish I didn't have to go back to work
Following this as my DC starts nursery in 2 months and I'm also worrying about how he and I will cope.... My feeling is I'll be the real issue
That's so tough but I agree - I wouldnt be happy with a nursery ignoring crying babies. Once in a while many might cry and so they'd struggle to comfort all immediately but the norm surely should be a crying baby = needs affection. I genuinely believe this happens at DD's nursery and they were just wonderful when settling her in (she also started at 9 months). I'd also be nervous if they were leaving babies to cry while you were there - would they be more lax still without a parent in the room?
One thing to consider with a childminder is whether your baby will sleep anywhere/is relaxed about routine. My DD was a terror to get down for a nap and I soon realised that this wouldn't work at all with the local childminders here who spend a lot of time going to toddler groups (which is great, of course!) and doing school drop offs/collections. A more relaxed baby would have thrived with them but it wasn't for me. Think about whether your childminder has cover for their/their kids' sick days too. Many do but equally some may not and that could be challenging if your work can't be flexible.
It's so hard going back after mat leave anyway and so a nursery or childminder that you totally trust is essential.
Is there any way at all that you could be a SAHM instead? I know you said you have to go back to work but is it purely financial? You said the nursery fees were 1.5X your mortgage in London, I don't know the exact figures but that seems huge! How much of your wage would go on childcare?
You just really don't sound happy at the prospect of leaving your baby, which is totally understandable. I appreciate that many people have to go back to work for financial reasons but is there any possible way you could make it work?
I'm a SAHM, yes VERY fortunate that we could just about manage on my husbands wage and although it was scary taking the plunge and not going back to work, ultimately I'm so glad I didn't.
It sounds like the nursery you've chosen rather than nursery in general. I've used 3 different nurseries across my 2 DC and none of them have been as you describe. The nursery that DC2 is at now is lovely and when I walk past the baby room they are often having cuddles, or doing activities like shaving foam/stories/soft play equipment.
Start looking for a new nursery asap, you never know you might get lucky with a place.
We used a childminder in london for dd as I wasn't keen on the local nurseries, and it was a huge success - lovely woman, huge house, a zillion toys, cuddles, trips, big garden, lovely handful of kids.
But i also looked around a couple of shocking childminder places so it's worth doing more research. I definitely recommend this as an option though. No shame in admitting you made a mistake and prefer something else.
Thank you so much for all of your responses - sorry for the (very) delayed reply. I went to two more settling in sessions but I was still really unhappy - at one session, I saw a staff member put a crying (red face, tears, properly sobbing) baby on the floor to go and do some paperwork. I think they could tell that I wasn't happy - at my final session, they sent in someone who works in the toddler room to replace one of the baby room staff. She was lovely - warm, caring, engaged with the babies - everything that I would have expected. But she was also clearly in the minority at that nursery! We eventually withdrew DS from the nursery - I just couldn't leave him there.
We have now enrolled him at a new nursery, and DH and I are both much happier. When we visited we explained what had happened at the original nursery, and apparently we are not the first parents to be unhappy with it (I heard the same from a few local childminders). Indeed, the nursery did not seen that surprised when we rang to withdraw DS,
I did look at childminders, but unfortunately none of the really good ones near us had any vacancies. Still can't afford a nanny or nanny share, unfortunately!
Blackbird to answer your question about becoming a SAHM: it is for both financial and career reasons. Although nursery is expensive (though the new one is a bit cheaper - though still more than our mortgage!) I do earn more than the fees - I bring home around £1,000 more than the fees each month (and will probably change jobs soon, and have a salary boost). We are repaying a loan from remodelling our flat (to add a bedroom for DS) and would like to save to move to a bigger place eventually, so can't really afford to do without that extra income. Career-wise, I ultimately want to continue working, and I am in a job and an industry in which it would be very difficult to come back after a career break.
That's fair enough, glad you've found a nice new nursery and don't have to fret whilst back at work
Great news that you have managed to get into a better nursery. Good luck with the return to work - it's hard but gets easier. And my DD has thrived from being in a warm, caring nursery since 9 months (she does 3 days a week)
Sounds like you've done the right thing! Don't feel bad for having to go back to work- hopefully it will be easier than you fear and soon you'll enjoy it again. And if you don't, then you think how it could change. I was a nursery teacher with DS1 in my class. Can't afford to work now we have DS2 so I'm setting up as an childminder. There are always options, and if something isn't working: change it (like you did!)
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