Why Putting My Son Into Nursery Was The Best Choice I Ever Made
I never wanted to put my son into childcare, never ever ever! Getting my role for Bump, Baby & You as Content Editor reinforced this.
I was resolute in that I felt I didn’t need to spend money on childcare when I am home all day, a sentiment I am sure many of you will agree with, plus I was incredibly anxious about him leaving my bosom for days spent with strangers. It didn’t feel right to me, personally, but I honestly did not predict how it would turn out as Max grew mentally and physically, both in actions and in needs.
Holy sheeeeeet. If you wouldn’t work in an office all week with a deranged, highly intelligent but hopelessly bored toddler using you as a glorified climbing frame, WHY WOULD YOU DO IT FROM HOME?! Eh?
I tried, though. I tried so hard. By the time he was 22 months old, I would find myself crying multiple times a day as my little person, so full of pent-up energy and frustration, would scream, bite, and smack me. He’d throw my laptop. He’d go out of his way to get my attention, increasingly so, which is difficult when you have important work to do. However, he is my baby and my number one, so I was having to jump inbetween tasks to maintain his stimulation and complete my work.
It. Was. Fuckin’. Exhausting.
So, we admitted defeat and I tearfully researched my local childcare options. I cried even more at the costs, in horror. I cried LOTS more with pure gratitude when we were able to get some tax credits towards nursery, despite our income being too high previously for any tax credits without childcare being on our claim. I have to say, I am SO grateful for all the available help.
We’ve started with Fridays at a new nursery a five minute walk away called Little Cherubs in Woodville, Swadlincote, and we couldn’t be happier. We are going to steadily phase in more days over the next few months!
Why was it the best decision?
Where do I even start with this? Even one day a week has made a huge difference for the other days I am working with him at home. He seems so much happier and chilled!
Now, I’m not saying that all kids of stay at home mummies are bored, angry and unstimulated, before I get jumped on – what I am saying is, being a stay at home mum with a proper full time job that is home-based is a totally different kettle of fish, it is AMAZING and I love it, but it poses additional challenges.
Ultimately, Max’s wellbeing is number one, and nursery gives him so much. He gets playtime with new toys and new people, in a different environment that is specifically enriched in order to help him learn and develop. He has a plethora of toys with us at home, but variety is SO good for his cognitive development.
It’s helped his social skills to blossom. His manners are much better now, towards other children in particular.
His self-care skills have become much stronger, particularly in terms of using cutlery and drinking from ‘big boy cups’.
It helps him burn off the absolutely enormous amount of energy he seems to possess!
For me, I am 100 times more relaxed, able to focus on the job that keeps us enjoying the lifestyle we want, and I even have more time to clean the house, which is always a bonus. It’s also marvellous being able to log into his online diary and see what he is doing, eating and playing! The diary has a section where parents can see what their child’s key worker has noted and logged about their different forms of progress (speech, self care, building relationships etc), and parents can add their own observations to help keep the staff ‘in the know’, which is excellent.
What would I say to anyone worried about putting their child into childcare?
Worried about costs? You may be able to claim some extra help towards cost, which you can work out here. Depending on your situation, you may get 15 or 30 free hours, which you can read about here. There is also information about tax free childcare on this site! If you’re unfortunately not entitled to any help, research your options – childminders are usually much cheaper than nurseries, but just as good and sometimes they have a better child/adult ratio, which is a bonus.
Worried about your little one being hurt? OFSTED and other authorities are extremely diligent, and all childcare providers have to work alongside strict health & safety protocols. Accidents can and do happen, so don’t think your wee one won’t occasionally graze a knee or bump their head, but anything serious is just as unlikely in that setting as it is with you at home. Breathe.
Worried about your little one missing you? Yeah, me too. I do feel sad when we drop Max off, but within 60 seconds he is off playing and having the time of his life. Not all little ones will react like this, of course, but time and persistence pays off. Your child will get to know their key worker, will make friends, and in a reasonable period of time should settle. If they don’t, you can work with the provider to try and find coping strategies, or even try a different setting if possible. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Ultimately, the key is to focus on the positives that will come from your child being in a new environment, both for you and the little’un. I will never regret our decision, and wish we’d bit the bullet sooner!
Love from Katie. Xx