-How to chose a nursery & Coping with the first drop off-
Choosing a nursery is up there with the hardest thing that you have to do when you have a baby. Because, at the end of the day you are handing over the most important thing in your life to effectively a stranger. So how do you make the right decision? Not only send them to the right nursery, but one that will educate them, one where they’ll have plenty of fun and most importantly are safe. My advice to this is research!! Now, I know I go on a lot about research but when it comes to nursery's you really have to be a master of Google and reviews to find the right nursery for you.
With us personally it was important that we chose a nursery where George can be a child. Where he can play and learn with natural materials. Not just plastic toys, we wanted him to use his imagination and be creative every day, to play outside, to make friends and have fun.
We were very lucky in that we didn't have to do much research at all to find what we were looking for. Georges nursery was next door but one to my old work, so that made our decision a lot easier and even with the safety of knowing that at the time it had won five Ofsted awards and was voted one of the top nurseries in North Yorkshire. I was still sickly nervous….as I mentioned in my last blog I struggle to be away from George, I'm terrified of missing anything in his life, I'm terrified of him hurting himself, being upset and I'm not there to make it better. I do think this has been amplified by the fact that we spent the entire lockdown together (6 months)…. So to put my mind at ease. I rang Georges nursery and made an appointment to have a walk around. Let's just put it this way; I walked in really nervous about him going there and walked out feeling so excited. And here’s why….
As I entered through the door of the nursery I was greeted with a smile and was taken straight up to the room that George would be in, the first thing that I noticed was how calm it was there. There were no children screaming, no crying, the lighting was all lamps no horrible school light (I call them). It had a very homey feel and I loved that. And not one plastic toy in sight!! After being shown around the baby room I was taken downstairs to the toddler and pre-school room and the same concept was throughout. I even remember looking over in the toddler room and seeing a full six piece China tea set complete with teapot and saucers. I asked “do you allow the children to play with China don't you worry they're going to smash that?” and the response was something I'll never forget “it's amazing, if you teach a child that something is delicate and that carelessness will cause it to break they will be extra precautions with it. We've had that set for about six months now and it's all still in one piece”
His nursery doesn't believe that boys should play with red fire trucks and girls should play with plastic dolls. I honestly could talk about the nursery all day and I love not only how they made me feel when I came to look round, but even now when George is at nursery it's clear that they have a real connection to their key children. This was extremely important to me.
We enrolled George when he was six months old and we were very lucky that we were not put on a waiting list and managed to get him in when he was 13 months. However, I know now that his particular nursery does have a waiting list and they have inquiries for 2022.
So, when's the best time to enrol your child? It's not something that you even want to think about during pregnancy or the first couple of months of your child being born. But the reality is that you do need to. Waiting lists are getting longer and longer, especially due to what's been going on this year. Parents having to take on longer hours at work or working from home so their children have to go full time into nursery….I would really recommend at least starting to look during the end of your pregnancy. Even if that's just to get a feel for what you want from a nursery or which is closer maybe to have a telephone conversation with them see if it's possible to have a look round. Just remember to never feel like you can't ask all the questions.
Drop off day: So in the normal world (before coronavirus) Georges nursery would do, what they call a “home visit” where they basically come to your house and have a look and see what environment your child is in and then try and adapt that as closely as possible when they came to nursery. We (being in August 2020) weren’t able to do this unfortunately. But we were asked a plethora of questions about George's daily routine; his likes and dislikes his eating habits and what he was capable of doing ie walking crawling etc. When it came to drop off day I was less nervous than I thought I would be… I was only dropping him off for two hours just so that he could have a feel for the nursery and to see how he would settle in. Because it was summertime when I dropped him off I was able to actually go into the garden area with him and approximately 2.5 minutes in into us actually walking in to the garden George had disappeared. He was off having fun! He was playing and he didn't even look back. This made me so happy! It gave me time to see how he would be, it gave me time to speak with his key worker and get to know her. We sat on the floor for about half an hour and then it was time to leave. It was a very strange feeling; it was like I was missing my right arm. I was told that I could call even if it was 15 minutes after leaving him and that they would give me a call me halfway through to check in.
The two hours actually went pretty quickly and before I knew it there, I was picking him up. His key worker told me that he settled in straight away and that he had a great time! OHHH THE RELIEF!! His first full day, again, I was given an update halfway through the day and was told that he had a great nap. Apparently, that’s rare for a first day? Who knew?
He’s now been there for two terms and he has never cried when I’ve dropped him off. There are days he’s a little reluctant to go but after his key worker gives him a big cuddle and a kiss, he’s happy again.
I can't say which nursery George is at for obvious reasons but if you're in the York area and would like to know please feel free to message me. firstname.lastname@example.org or IG:@byronandmedina
How did you feel about sending your little one to nursery? Any suggestions you found made it easier to drop them off? Comment below!
Next week we will be talking about some must have products 0-1 Year.
Until the next one,
With Love always,
Kelly & George x