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Nursery-best to be near home or work? Experiences welcome!

17 replies

StiffyByng · 26/06/2011 15:22

I am thinking about childcare for my DD when I go
back to work next year. I have two options: use a good, local nursery that already has her on its waiting list, or put her down for the nursery at work. She will be about a year old when I go back.

I'm torn. The local one looks lovely and is open till 7pm which is great as I finish work at 6pm. The work one also looks OK and is open into the evening. They cost about the same, although I can use a salary sacrifice scheme for the work one. The home one has outdoor space that the one in central London lacks. But my indecision is mostly around the pick ups. I'm familiar with rushing home on public transport to collect my steps from after school club and hate the stress, so quite like the idea of pick ups on the spot, not to mention being so close to her in the day. But how bearable will the 45 minute (train)/ 1 hour (bus) commute be for DD and me each way? Would we need to drive? (Free parking available but CC payable). Help!

OP posts:
Yama · 26/06/2011 15:31

My situation is different from yours in that I can walk to work in 25 minutes. That said, dd went to a nursery right next to my work and ds is about to start there.

The pros:
Nice to know dd was so close.
Whenever she took ill or had a bump I was minutes away.
Seeing her within minutes of finishing the working day.
Our journey to work/nursery as she aged became so enjoyable. We'd chat about stuff and nonsense and I will always look back with affection on that time (she's now at school).
It was/is the best nursey in the area.
My dd remembers her time there fondly.

The cons:
Can't think of any.

I would imagine the 45 minute commute will be bearable if the train is not overcrowded. Is that the case?

FessaEst · 26/06/2011 15:35

Gosh, I wouldn't want to commute on a packed train with a mobile toddler (which your baby will frighteningly quickly become!). Can also see it would be stressful if you are rushing - do you have anyone you could have as back up for collecting if it all got close to time? Does your work not allow you to use salary sacrifice for all OFSTED registered providers (that is what most child care voucher schemes do?) which would reduce the financial difference? Presumably paying CC would eat up any tax-savings anyway?

Our CM is v near home, and it is great because even on days that I am off work (if ill or time-owing etc), she can still go and give me a bit of time to clean, sort, rest etc, as you are still apying on those days. Also, as my DH works in the opposite direction, it means he has been able to do pick-ups/drop-offs occasionally.

cat64 · 26/06/2011 15:38

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cat64 · 26/06/2011 15:39

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PorkChopSter · 26/06/2011 15:44

If you use the one near work, what would you do when

  1. You are ill (but would like to Dc to go to nursery so you can rest)
  2. You are working in a different site
  3. You are on maternity leave
  4. DC falls asleep on the way home
  5. DC is starving hungry, tired, snotty/vomiting and you have to commute 45 minutes without a seat in blindingly hot weather

Just trying to help Grin
trixymalixy · 26/06/2011 15:45

I had DS in a nursery close to work when he was little. Was good in that I could drop him off at nursery at 8 and be in work at 8.05 and could therefore leave work at 16.05. Also was there quickly if any problems. He always fell asleep on way home which was a nightmare though.

Another con was that if I was ill it was a pain to take him to nursery so I normally didn't bother, had the nursery been closer to home I would have had a better rest. For that reason and so it would be easier when I was on mat leave I moved him to a nursery closer to home.

StiffyByng · 26/06/2011 16:02

Thanks. Many excellent points, some of which I'd already thought of! The thought of the commute does horrify me re busy transport, sleeping/tiredness etc so I was wondering if anyone had done it and managed.

Answering some of the questions: DH and I work in the same place so he could take her if I wasn't going in. The plan is for me to work compressed hours over three days so he would be in charge in the mornings (he also has to do the school run with stepson) and for me to start very early and take care of the pick up.

Because we're both employed by the same organisation, only one of us can claim cc vouchers, and this will be DH as he is registered on the old scheme. However it seems that I could do a different straight salary sacrifice scheme in addition to the vouchers, but only for the in-house place. I need to check this out though. But I agree about the cost of the CC.

Sounds to me so far that although it would be nice to be near DD, my gut feeling about the commuting may be right.

OP posts:
cat64 · 26/06/2011 16:05

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meditrina · 26/06/2011 16:06

Check how much the late pick up fees are at the local nursery. Some are very high, and that won't help your stress levels.

But you won't be running late that often, will you? Perhaps it's an occasional cost you can absorb? Or is your comment so unreliable they'll get fed up of you?

trixymalixy · 26/06/2011 16:09

That's rubbish that you can't both claim childcare vouchers surely?

StiffyByng · 26/06/2011 16:11

I wouldn't expect to be late at all, barring nightmare transport events. My commute is a pretty normal one. And DH would be a cycle ride anyway in an emergency. But the constant feeling of being against the clock at the end of a day does make me miserable. Possibly though I think less miserable than doing the journey with a tired and hungry toddler!

OP posts:
StiffyByng · 26/06/2011 16:14

I thought it wouldn't be a problem, trixy, but a colleague in the same position has been told only one can claim. I haven't started rattling cages over it yet though.

OP posts:
MavisCruetTheFairy · 26/06/2011 17:20

I woner if you live near me --your description of the local nursery sounds like my DCs' nursery in SW London...

One point pro the local nursery -- your DC will make friends at nursery and by the time she gets to 3 or so there will be birthday parties etc. which are far easier if you all live close. And it's nice for them to go on to primary school with friends from nursery.

Personally I would hate to try commuting with a toddler.

duffybeatmetoit · 27/06/2011 18:23

I went for nursery close to home option and have never regretted it. Close to work seemed like the better option pre-baby - longer time at work, on hand in case of trouble but in reality the bonuses have been:

  • on the occasion DD has been ill it has just been a case of popping her in the car and home in 5 mins rather than in 40 mins which when she has been sick is a godsend
  • when I've been offsick (more often) being able to take her in and then be back in bed in a short space of time has meant I could recover much more quickly. Entertaining a toddler in the midst of a sickness bug for instance is not something I'd want to be doing in a hurry
  • her friends all live a short distance away so it isn't difficult organising parties/playdates
  • she knows most of the children who will be in her class at primary school
  • in an emergency another parent can pick up/drop off
  • DH can drop off or pick up easily which he couldn't if she wasn't local (not your problem I know)
SarkySpanner · 27/06/2011 18:36

Nursery near home definitely.

Imagine taking a vomitting child on public transport!
Mine have become ill at nursery a few times (not vomiting thank goodness) and although it takes Dh or I 40 mins or so to get to the nursery at least we don't have to travel far with a sick child.

And having them in a local nursery helps to link you to the local community. My boys and I have made many friends through nursery which has really helped the transition to school (for them and me).

crazycarol · 27/06/2011 21:34

Our salary sacrifice scheme for child care vouchers can be used at almost any nursery. If the nursery isn't registered with the provider it is very easy to do so. They can be registered with as many providers as they like. This is a very good way of saving yourself a bit of cash.

Dozer · 27/06/2011 21:41

The commute would be awful! London commuters may well be mean to you, eg for trying to squeeze onto a busy bus. Tiny kids get really grumpy at the end of a long day. And as an OP has said, they sometimes get ill at nursery (eg vomiting, diarrhoea).

Dd1 hated being strapped in on the bus/train in london (did a lot, though not a commute every day).

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