So you’re thinking sending your little one to nursery or pre-school? Thinking about whether you son or daughter is ready to face being apart from you for any length of time, and quite possibly if you can be apart from them! Perhaps you have been their main or only career and now are considering going back to work, or that you might need a break for a while.
Maybe you have heard somewhere that kids who attend early education before starting compulsory schooling age, develop better social skills and are academically advantaged if they have attended a pre-school.
Well we will explore the pro’s and con’s of getting your child ready for nursery or pre-school and you can decide the answer to this question for yourself.
Well first let’s look at the benefits of your child going to early education. To begin with, the likelihood is that you little one has spent most of his or her time with mum and dad, or family and close friends right? So then, if you put your child in a nursery they will for the first time be able to mix with other kids and interact with the trained nursery teachers. This is a huge plus when it comes to building up their confidence and early social development.
You will find that they will be quicker to approach other kids with more confidence and make friends a lot quicker. This in turn will help prepare them for the not so small task of going to school for the first time. I remember putting my eldest son who is now 5 and just started year 1, into nursery for the first time when he was only two and half. It was something that my wife and I considered carefully.
In the end we decided it would be in his best interests and also our family’s if Kayden went to nursery. In part to the reasons mentioned above, but also because we though it would be good for him to gain confidence and also if he gained any kind of academic advantage then all the better.
But also so that my wife could go back to work too. Which as many of you can imagine was a huge help for both of us financially. Now don’t get me wrong here, the childcare was and I’m sure still is rather expensive. A good portion of our wages went on nursery fees, and we are not talking my son going there every day either.
Indeed, for some parents there really is not a lot of choice in whether to find childcare for your baby or toddler as there is a need to HAVE to go back to work to help support the family. Still, it is also a break for mum and dad if your child goes to nursery or pre-school, as even though we love our kids, it’s nice at times to get out of the routine of simply being mum and dad, even if it means a new routine of going to work.
Whether your young ones start at nursery or pre-school, you will get the added benefit of the fact that your child will be exposed to both routine and rules. Helping them understand and accept boundaries is a big help as it means it makes it easier on you when you need to do this with them at home. You will also find that the teachers and carers will help with potty and toilet training. That’s another fun topic we will cover another time!
So now that we have looked at why you might want to send you little one to nursery or pre-school, we will think about when. As I said, my wife and I sent our son when he was two and a half. Most nursery’s won’t take a child younger than this anyway. And if they do, you will get to ease them into it as most places will get you to stay with them the first day or two, then leave them for a short period of time, gradually building up to leaving them there for full sessions, or whatever you have booked.
But you don’t have to feel obligated to put your child in nursery if you don’t want to, or if you don’t have a pressing financial need. In fact many parents wait until their child is 3-4, skipping nursery and choosing a pre-school for them instead.
And so that brings us to just what you need to think about if you are going to place your child in someone else’s care for any amount of time. First of all I would strongly recommend taking your time with this one.
Look at the previous reviews and from other parents about each choice you are thinking of, as well as if they are certified and registered to give childcare. An absolute must. Visit the nursery or pre-school you’re thinking of, and get them walk you around the facilities so you can see first hand what will be paying for, which brings us to the issue of cost.
Get a clear breakdown of how much each full day session will last and half day session will be. Ask if they accept childcare vouchers or salary sacrifice schemes that your workplace might offer to help offset the balance. Of course the cost is going to be a big factor.
We all want the best for our kids, but the reality is you would not want your family to face financial hardship because your paying too much for your baby’s nursery right? And it won’t help you family life if all your going back to work for is to pay for your child’s posh nursery.
Look at the prices of different places and compare them, pick a price range that works for you. Once you have that in mind, consider how long it will take to get there, how much will it also cost you in travel each time you drop off your child. And then there is perhaps the most important point of all. Security. It is vital that you feel confident that your child is safe while in the care of someone else.
My wife and I were impressed with what we saw at our sons nursery as security was clearly important to them. Each door had a numeric lock, there was a receptionist on the desk that you had to buzz the intercom for to get let in, and them outside areas were well fenced off. They were always very stringent with their policy of how many kids could be supervised by a single adult.
All these factors helped when we made the decision as to where our sin would go, as well as the fact that the place we chose was both a nursery and a pre-school, so if we liked it, our son could have the stability of going to up a year with kids he knew. Which he did as we had him attend both years. This really helped his social development and gave him a slight academic boost before school.
So of course whether your child is 2 or 3, going to new place and being left there, potentially for the whole day without mum or dad can be frightening at first. But the good news is kids are super resilient.
And as I pointed out earlier, any half decent nursery or pre-school will want to ease them into a new routine with your help. Once your kids realise that you are actually going to be coming back for them, they lose a lot of the apprehension that they may have had earlier.
In addition to this you can pre-empt a lot of your child’s fears by explaining to them that they are going to a fun place to make new friends and learn new fun exciting things. Ask them if they want to learn to play, sing and paint with other kids, and that no matter what, you will always come and get them at the end of the day.
In no time at all your child will be looking forward to going to nursery or pre-school, and you will be wondering what you were worried about after the first couple of weeks. And maybe glad of the break lol.
So I would like to make clear that if you can’t or choose not to send your little one to a nursery or pre-school, that’s totally fine too. The academic skills they learn there are hardly insurmountable and the social skills will be picked up quickly when they go to school. All I am pointing out in this article is that IF you can send them, then there really are some great benefits.
If you can juggle your finances so that it turns out to be a good fit for your family and child then I would really recommend sending them. As no matter what we do as parents, nothing can replace the experiences or fun they will have be interacting and playing with other kids their own age.
I hope reading this gives you some helpful things to consider and please feel free to leave me a comment or question or leave a like or share below and I will absolutely get back to you promptly.