Putting George into nursery was always going to happen, we just didn't know when or for how long. When I was on maternity leave, I had no idea whether I would be working part-time or full-time when I went back to work, but I did know that we couldn't rely on our parents to look after him all week. We do count ourselves extremely lucky that they are able to help out though - and I think George does too, as what grandparent doesn't spoil their grandchildren?
I went back to work part-time after maternity leave, but after being made redundant in January, I've now started my own marketing business and, naturally, need to work more hours. Me and Greg made the decision to put George into a local nursery to open up some un-distracted (is that even a word?) time for me to do some work.
There's so much conflicting advice out there, as to whether children should go into nursery, but to be honest, I think you have to make the decision yourself. Yes they're going to pick up habits, but the interaction they are opened up to with other children and things they learn is going to be brilliant for their development. Sometimes you just don't have a choice whether they go or not - especially in this day and age when both parents need to work to provide a roof over their heads.
At George's recent 15 month review with the Health Visitor, her thoughts were that nursery does them good. In fact, it's been a nightmare since George started nursery five weeks ago, picking up every sickness going and sharing it with Mummy and Daddy. But the HV said whilst this happens to most children when starting nursery, it actually builds their immune systems up big and strong. She said those children who didn't attend a nursery will pick up a lot of the sickness when starting Primary School, which can mean them missing days at a time.
Whilst we're on the topic of whether children should attend nursery or not, a lady who used to hold a baby group held by the council, which I attended when George was a few months old, said that she could tell the difference between a child that went to nursery and one that didn't. A recent study reported that children are better off in nursery than at home with their parents, singing songs, telling stories and doing arts and crafts. It's totally understandable that us parents don't always have the time to do this with our children.
Since starting nursery, George really has come along in leaps and bounds (apart from being ill all the time). His speech is improving and I've noticed when taking him to baby groups that he's playing with the other boys and girls, whereas before it was like they weren't even there. It could be a coincidence, but I don't think so.
When it comes to choosing a nursery, you want to make sure they're right for you. You hear so many horror stories. You're placing your precious son or daughter into the hands and care of, basically, a stranger, so you want to be sure that your child is safe. BabyCentre has a good article on helping you choose a good day nursery - check it out.
I visited a few different nurseries in my area, which I suggest doing, and I did find myself being quite picky. But rightfully so. I finally found the right one, which is run by a fully-qualified Primary Teacher, and is about 2 minutes drive down the road - handy for early starts. Everything was clean, the food was freshly prepared and the staff were extremely friendly. It ticked all of the boxes!
I love that George comes homes with a diary book which the nursery write in, detailing his day's activities and what he's eaten. He's only been there five weeks so far, with one day being off poorly, but I'm happy that he's being looked after properly. Mind you, he absolutely hates me leaving him there. As soon as we drive into the car park, he starts crying, he's not stupid. But I'm told he soon forgets that I left him and is happy playing, until I pick him up and he cries at seeing me. I don't know whether that's in happiness to see me or sadness as he wants to stay and play!
Not only is it doing George good, but to be honest, a day that I get to myself (whether that be working, cleaning the house or relaxing on the sofa) is gratefully received. Us parents need a bit of "me time" now and again.
I'm writing this as George is in nursery, so I'm going to go and enjoy some more "me time" before picking him up a bit later. I hope this post helped you if you're thinking of putting your child into nursery. Just do what's right for you and your situation :)