Tag Archives: Child care

Childcare logistics – childminders, nurseries and schools!

One of the major things I have come to accept since having children is that just as you get the hang of one thing or situation, something changes. Whether this is part of the child’s development – getting more independence, learning a new skill, etc. or something in your own life – health, change of job, etc., it can have a huge impact on all your lives. At these times, it’s good to feel in control of at least one thing. And the main things you can control are the logistics.

Over the past few months, my youngest was spending a lot of time excluded from nursery owing to various illnesses. During the most recent bout of sickness, we all got brought down by the bug so health and energy levels were at their lowest for everyone in the family. It was time to make a change.

I had been very keen on the nursery model – lots of children and carers to provide guidance and social skills experience. In fact, I still am! However, the downside of multiple children is multiple colds, viruses, etc. My eldest must have had everything in his nearly four years on this planet as he now seems fairly indestructible (fingers crossed!) but my youngest seems to get two bouts of everything going. Taking time off work at unplanned times is never easy so finding a solution needed to be done quickly.

Without a wider family support network we looked at nannies (direct and agency) and childminders – all over a frantic weekend. By luck or fate, I’d just got to know a mum through one of our weekend activities. It turned out she had just started as a childminder after a decade of nannying.

It was hard to disrupt a pattern that was working well – both children going to the same nursery (company and support for each other and easy for drop offs and collections!). As with anything to do with your children, it created worry. Were we doing the right thing? How should we explain the change to them?…

Well, one week in and it’s as if this has always been the set up. The boys have accepted the change and are both very happy with their busy days and respective (old/new) friends.

With school starting for my eldest in September, it was actually a change that was going to happen at some point in any case.

My take-outs from this process?

  • Children adapt to change quickly and well (more than their parents!)
  • Logistics are never as bad as you think (there is normally a way!)
  • Talk to other parents (they’re fantastic supporters!)

If you’re having to make a change in your childcare, do share your experiences.

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Be prepared – then wing it!

Preparing for parentingI started this blog because I was getting apprehensive about my ability to cope with a second child as my due date got ever closer. It’s not that I was changing my mind about having a second child, but rather I was going over every possible scenario in my head and trying to work out how I would manage it when two children were involved. Everything from bathtimes to nappy changes – how would I keep both of them happy and safe?

Friends kindly gave me parenting survival guide books to read with guidance, but the more I read the more I became convinced that I would just have to wait and see what happened.

Every child is different – how they sleep, eat, cry, smile and develop – and there is no way to pre-plan for looking after a tiny character you’ve not yet met. Apart from that, every day and mood is different so no one set rule will work all the time for every child.

Having had our second child, it became clear that you do just manage. Some days are easier than others – for you as the parent as well as the child. Planning works well when it comes to what to pack in bags for a trip out for the day, but for day to day care I truly believe it’s a case of one step at a time. The good news is that every day I’ve learnt a little bit more about my children and myself.

What I love is that through the stress, worry, craziness, there are the most amazing smiles which make it more than worthwhile!

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Starting nursery – ‘settling in’ stage

My youngest has started going to nursery this week in preparation for my return to work next week.

I thought it would be easier this time around, having done the same with my older son just a couple of years ago. Surely knowing how happy my eldest is at the same place and seeing how well he is growing up in terms of speech and social skills would mean the morning drop off would be a piece of cake?

Seems not. Good job the sun was shining and I could wear my big sunglasses as I couldn’t hold back a few tears. To be fair, having been the main carer for my baby since his birth five and a half months ago, it was hardly a surprise that it was an emotional time.

I had learnt enough from the first time around to know that I would be the one needing a few days ‘settling in’ period rather than my baby – being close to the nursery in case of any problems, being able to drop off late and pick up early, as well as not being an emotional mess when returning back to the office (not helpful for anyone!). My baby on the other hand seemed to have had great fun being cuddled by all the staff, playing with loads of new toys and getting to see his big brother throughout the day.

This week’s survey results that show 75% of new mothers would stay at home if financial pressures allowed has sparked a lot of comments on news sites such as the Daily Mail from mothers in a range of circumstances. It was not surprising to see this story run in the DM. However, I truly believe that everyone has to find out what works best for them – emotionally and financially. There is not always the ‘perfect’ scenario for all concerned but as long as the children are healthy and happy, what more could I ask for?

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Nursery vs Nanny

In the last week I’ve been told by two people on separate occasions that they would drop their current jobs tomorrow to nanny for my children. Dedicated attention, cheaper, additional home support were just some of the mentioned benefits. They were tempting offers.

After the initial flattery of the offers had worn off, as well as the excitement over the potential benefits, the reality of our current circumstances kicked in. Without family in the vicinity to help out, how would we cover nanny holidays / sickness? Also, what is required to become an employer in terms of insurance, tax, etc.?

When you’re working full-time for whatever reason (vocational career, financial demands, etc.), it is reassuring to know there is a team of qualified professionals caring for your little ones.

Both my children also love socialising with others – they gain a lot from being around a wide mix of people of all ages, having all their senses stimulated. Nursery is a great environment for this.

If you know more about the ins and outs of employing a nanny, I’d love to hear from you. Also, it would be great to hear your own experiences of nursery vs nanny.

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Spotting the difference

In the past month, my son has pretty much been spotty. It started with an unidentified allergy, followed by a second bout of chicken pox and then suspected hand foot and mouth disease. It was becoming slightly hard to spot (pardon the pun) the difference between the start of one and the beginning of another. Luckily he was mostly fine in himself, as knowing what to give to treat the spots became increasingly tricky – is it just a reaction or a contagious blister?!

What was quite an eye opener was that it was quite hard for the doctor to identify the ‘style’ of spot. The diagnosis of: “If your other son gets it, then it probably is chicken pox” wasn’t entirely helpful as this only manifested three weeks after my eldest had started his spots.

You always want to do what is best for your child, so it can be frustrating not to have a definitive label to attach to a disease. Also, spots do create fear amongst others – whether it is just an allergic reaction or something more serious, people think the worst and fear it is something they may catch too. This makes it tempting to keep your child at home rather than expose your child to the concerned look on other people’s faces even when you know it is just a simple skin allergy that is nothing more than unsightly. As a result, we’ve not been out much recently!

I thought I might be more of an expert the second time around, but think there are plenty more spots to look out for!

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There’s an App for that baby!

I’m increasingly aware that time is not on my side! Looking after my two children has placed  me in some kind of time warp. When my two year old was a baby and was the only one I was caring for, I kept an accurate record of breast feeding times, nappy changes, etc. With two children in nappies and one being breastfed, I have to admit that my ability to keep track seems to have left the building. Has baby brain hit me late? Lack of sleep is certainly a factor, but I find it hard to believe that 2.5 / 3 hours have gone by before I’m feeding my baby again and difficult to keep to a strict 3 hour nappy changing regime for them both.

A friend showed me an iPhone App that can keep a track of all this data for you – not only that, but it issues reminders and provide reports / analysis. I’m probably the only person left in the world without a smartphone with a data plan, but this means I’m having to rely on my own brain / organisational skills. Eek!

Both my children are good weights, are fed and washed and generally of happy dispositions so I’m guessing I’ve not caused them any major harm. I just wish I was just a bit more switched on when it comes to keeping track of time. The scariest thing is that time flying means my two will be of school age before I know it – I can’t even think beyond that. Hey, perhaps that’s my problem!

 

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Precious time

This morning I kept my son home from nursery so we could spend some quality time together having some pure fun – something that doesn’t happen very often when you’re working full time as weekends go so quickly and are often filled up with mundane tasks like shopping. Today’s plan? Head to a local soft play centre.

My youngest obliged by spending the entire morning asleep sitting on the sidelines of the soft play room, letting me give my undivided attention to my eldest. It was a fun and fantastic morning for us both – although I’m not sure who enjoyed the bouncy castle the most!

There were plenty of other mums and dads there – with one or more children. Everyone friendly and happy to have a chat, which was lovely. The only downside was those keen to share their thoughts on those parents who ‘send their children’ to nursery. There are a large number of reasons why a parent would send their child to nursery – from being in a life saving job such as doctor or nurse, through to pure financial reasons to ensure their children have what they need for a comfortable lifestyle. Every parent has a lot of decisions to make about what is best for their child – what’s right for one parent / child won’t be for another.

No matter what the circumstances of the parents there today though – the children were all having a lot of fun, while also learning how to share and build on social as well as motor skills. What more could any parent want?

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Filed under Child play, Parenting