I knew nothing about nurseries so the thought of choosing a nursery for Thomas to spend 11 hours a day 3 days a week worried me, what if I make the wrong choice?
I thought I would share with you some of the questions we asked or you should ask if the staff don't already tell you.
Will you have enough time to get from work to picking your child up, is there a charge if you are late?
What qualifications do the staff have.
For obvious reasons you want to know the people looking after your child are qualified to do so. It may also be an idea to ask how long staff have been at the nursery for
Cost per day/ Costs for holidays
Obviously cost is a biggie when choosing a nursery but don't forget you may need to pay a little more to get a really good nursery you are happy with. The nursery we chose for Thomas was the more expensive option but we are really happy with it.
Is there a discount for holidays is there a set amount you can take?
With the first nursery we looked at you could only take 3 weeks holiday at a discounted price the rest of the time you would have to pay full price.
The nursery we chose we can have as many holidays as we want but we have to the half price retainer fees 2 weeks prior to taking the holiday. Just so they know you will be coming back.
Also it might be worth checking if you need to pay for bank holidays most nurseries will charge even though they are closed.
Will they work with you at nap times and meal times.
At the minute Thomas has 2 naps one in the morning and one in the afternoon but the Nursery will try and wean him off the morning nap if they can and get him to have a longer nap in the afternoon. Which I don't mind as I think it will be better for Thomas and it will be easy for us to follow on that routine when we are at home.
The nursery normally provides breakfast between 8-9am which Thomas will be having and then they have dinner between 11:30 and 12:30 and then a cooked meal around 3-4pm. Which means I can just give Thomas a light snack when we get home around 6:15pm which I think will suit us as I don't have to worry about making him tea and get to spend longer playing with him.
What meals will your child be eating?
It might be a good question to ask if they don't already mention, at our nursery they have meal plans displayed on the wall and all the food is prepared fresh each day which I think is important.
How do they put the children down for a nap.
The nursery is really good with this they will do whatever you do at home if I just put him down and let him settle himself they wont start rocking him to sleep. If I rock him they rock him, if I sit with him whilst he drops off they will too. Which I think is really good as they wont disrupt your routine.
It may be a good point to talk to the nursery about if your baby uses some sort of comforter when sleeping like a dummy or a blanket. Thomas has a dummy but I have told them he only uses it when he is getting tired so not to let him have it lots during the day.
Will they tell you what activities your child has been doing during the day.
Our nursery keeps files on what the children have been doing during the day and regularly take photos of your child doing the different activities (Of course if you give permission for the photos)
They also keep a record of nappies, what your child has eaten or drank and naps throughout the day.
Do you need to provide any bits and bobs for your child.
Our nursery has asked us to provide the basics such as nappies, baby wipes, milk, calpol, a change of clothes and photos of family. Simply because there are so many different brands some of which your child might have a reaction to and so on.
Procedures for different situations.
If you child is ill or has an accident whilst at nursery
which illnesses will mean your child is unable to attend nursery
If there has been a problem and somebody else needs to pick up your child
These are just a few question that you might find handy I'm sure that you will think of lots more when you get to the nursery. Know we have got a place for Thomas and we are happy about the choice I do feel better about going back work even though I know the first few days will be tough. It will be harder for me than Thomas.