Picking a creche for your baby can be quite daunting for new parents. That’s if you go down the working mum route and not join the stay at home mum club.
Both my children have been attending creche since a very young age. Matthew was late which meant he was early to attend creche. I think he was just after five months old. Chloe was early and went bang on at the age of six months.
From the very start, I decided to go back to work. Probably because my own mum was working too when I came into the world. I am working in IT which couldn’t have been more matching for me, considering how much time I spend on the PC each evening. I couldn’t be that stay at home mum attending all the different play groups, meeting up with other mums, doing all the educational play at home. I’d probably crack up at some point. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s nice to be home some of the days particularly when we book a holiday away with the kids. You just appreciate them a little more.
Finding the right creche was important to us and it had to “feel right”. It was much harder with our first born Matthew than it was with Chloe as by the time Chloe attended creche, we knew how well Matthew integrated into his room and how lovely the staff were.
There are a few key points we looked out for before deciding whether this is right for us and our little one and may be for you too…
Explore all your options but keep them as close as you can to your home. For us it was important to have a creche close to our home/ work in case something happens. Even if the creche rings up and says your little one came down with a temperature or developed chicken pox. You don’t want to be too far away to collect them.
What is provided?
In every creche your child gets the food provided of course. Whether that’s breakfast, snacks or lunch. But make sure to ask if you need to bring in nappies or wipes. In the first creche my kids attended, they didn’t need nappies at the start. But that was only because the creche was starting up. Soon they realised it’s too cost efficient. In the creche they are going to now we need to bring nappies but they provide the wipes and also the cream if you want them to use it.
There is no doubt your child will cry at the start. Without a doubt. Ask them for advice what way is the best to integrate them gradually into the room. To give you an example… the creche Chloe is going to now, it took a week. Luckily I was off that week anyway. We came in at certain times for a few hours and slowly but surely helped her getting into it. Matthew was no problem of course. The first day I stayed with her the whole time. The second day I left half way through and at the end both of them stayed on their own.
It is important to keep your little ones routine the same way as you had it before at home. This is more important in babies than it is in toddlers. When Matthew first started creche, they followed his routine all the way through in the baby room. Once he got older, he was introduced to the creche’s routine which all the other children followed.
Check out the sleep room where your baby will sleep in. Is it a good environment? Is it always monitored? In the new creche Chloe started off in the wobbler room. They had little beds. I was terrified her sleeping in it because I thought she would roll out. She is still sleeping in a cot bed at home but she is managing just fine and sleeps her hours sleep every day after lunch.
You will be showing around all the rooms when you setup a meeting with the manager of the creche to have a look at a potential place for your child. First impression is always the real opinion. Do the kids look happy? Is it a warm and calming environment around them? If you see a hectic scenario, no doubt you are out.
Outside Play Area
Asked the manager to have a look at the play area outside. You should see the baby/ wobbler area seperate from the big boy and big girls play area. Both creches we attended, they had a fence around the baby/ wobbler play area.
Now this might not be important to everyone. There is hardly a creche out there that just serves pizza, chicken nuggets and chips. I would still advise to consider looking at the menu to see what a normal week’s food looks like. I have to say the creche they go to now is very healthy. They have a set menu generally full of vegetables/ meat each day.
Make sure to ask if they record your little ones day on paper. How else do you know what they got up to, how much they slept, what they ate. In the old creche I stopped getting sheets when Matthew entered the pre school room. The creche they go to now, they record everything for each child no matter how old they are. It’s very detailed. Food, sleep, toilet visits, activities and if anything is required.
Find out how many days they are closed during the year and if you need to pay for this time, too. When you decide to go on holidays, it’s generally a case that you do have to pay them for that time as well. It’s your choice taking them out of creche after all. How long before returning back to creche after an illness. Can they continue giving the medicine provided by the doctor? Is Calpol/ Nurofen on hand if needed? What discipline do they have in place when a child misbehaves?
It’s very important for your child’s safety to have the whole building fenced in whatever way possible. Discuss what way you can access the creche. It should never be a case of open door policy. Codes should be given to the parent when trying to access the building. If there was a situation you have granddad collecting the kids for a change, make sure you tell them that in advanced.
Each room should be equipped with a security camera. This is for the “just in case” and you need to look back and see what happened at that time.
Are your kids attending a creche/nursery? Did you look out for all this?