I remember Little C’s first day at nursery so clearly. I was anxious. She was anxious, it was a very emotional time for both. As soon as i we got there on that first day, I wanted to scoop her up and take her straight back home and felt like i’d upset her in the worse possible way by being in the nursery building with or without her! I didn’t take her home as soon as we got there and she stayed for her session as planned as I knew deep down that it would be good for her.
I started Little C at a fantastic day nursery in a quaint little village near by when she was 6 months old. Prior to this i was wholeheartedly against sending Little C to day nursery as the original plan was that my mother would look after her a day or two a week but she passed away of Leukemia when Little C was just three months old. I did some research into the benefits of nursery and swiftly changed my mind and signed Little C up.
I started Little C on a half day a week to finish off my Masters Degree. I also returned to work on a 0 hour contract (bank nurse) working infrequently so I was under no pressure to send her which is the opposite reality that some working parents face. There was no huge pressure to send her as I could have delayed my studies if i really needed to.
The nursery had a fantastic Ofsted and a great feel to it, amongst a whole heap of other reasons for choosing it, yet despite this, that first morning of sending Little C was gut wrenching!
Centred around the stress was the fact that I was still breastfeeding made difficult by the fact thatLittle C refusing expressed milk so i had to time feeds meticulously and accept that I may need to collect her to feed if I hadn’t timed it right. Still, off we went.
I dropped her off, cried, called my grandmother and my other half who both assured me I was doing the right thing. On the way home I thought of how to rationalise the situation so I thought id share some of the thoughts that allowed me give day nursery a chance that day and have kept Little C attending since.
I acknowledge whilst writing this that we’ve been extremely lucky with Little C’s nursery and not everybody has a positive experience.
I will not comment on finding the “right” nursery as I feel this justifies a whole post but this is the most important step. Take time with choosing your day nursery using credible regulators, word of mouth etc to guide you.
1) Nursery is good for social development. I’m a fairly outgoing parent and have always taken Little C to baby classes but the socialisation of the nursery environment can’t be matched! As Little C’s mum I trust a group of lovely people with the care of my child.
2) Crying doesn’t mean we’ve failed our children, or are neglecting their emotional needs its just their lonely way of communicating and the crying at nursery drop offs may be linked to other things like tiredness or teething etc. I still sometimes feel a tug at my heart strings on the drop off but our child’s cry is designed to do this to us.
3) There is research to suggest that little ones eat better at nursery mine definitely does. As someone who loves cooking, the imaginative recipes that the nursery Chef creates put my capabilities to shame, plus they generally cater to dietary requirements.
4) Nurserys take sensory play to another level! I’ve been known to make Little C a baked bean and jelly bath, but nursery staff are superb at this sort of thing and the staff generally have fantastic imaginations.
5) Nursery promotes independence. Our little ones will be their own people one day. My heart sings when I see Little C through the nursery window playing independently, I’m happy with her social interactions in small groups also but this was really encouraged and established at nursery.
6) Nursery initiates a learning journey keeping a log of developments. Parents with children who do not attend a nursery might otherwise overlook this sort of thing or be less aware of it .Its amazing to see progression and to see staff who have a genuine interest in education excited about such developments.
7) Have as many settling sessions as you need. We had a fair few until we were sure it was right for us all to take the big step.
Little C now attends nursery one, occasionally two days a week. It is one of the best decisions I’ve made for her and she is thriving in the happy environment.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.