Returning to work after maternity leave can be a stressful and unsettling time. There is the prospect of negotiating part-time hours, fishing the corporate attire out of storage (and praying it still fits) and learning how to “adult” on four hours sleep. Then there is the daunting task of handing over the care of your precious baby to someone else. For many of us who don’t have eager beaver grandparents waiting in the wings, that involves enrolling our children at a childcare facility.
My children have been in childcare three days a week since they were 11 months old and my experience has been fantastic (if you ignore the first few days that saw me arriving at work severely dehydrated with panda eyes). My children’s educators have become part of our family and genuinely care about the wellbeing, health and happiness of my two littlies. They have cuddled my babies when they were grumpy and teething, inspired them to learn and showered them with compassion and love.
"There is the daunting prospect of leaving your precious baby to someone else." Image via iStock.
Selecting a childcare centre is a big decision, particularly at nursery room level so how do you go about finding the right provider for your family? What should you look for to ensure your baby has the best start possible enabling you to re-enter the workforce with peace of mind?
Here are three important considerations when selecting childcare for your precious cherub.
1. A nurturing, safe and respectful environment.
In order to learn and thrive, children need to feel safe and nurtured through secure relationships. My 20-month-old is very attached to one of his educators, Vinita, and often points to her and says, “Me wuv Winita”. Knowing he is being cared for by someone he loves and trusts makes the world of difference as a working mum because I know he feels safe and secure when I’m not around. Only About Children recognises that children will be more receptive to learning if they trust their educator so each newly enrolled bubba is allocated their own special teacher or primary caregiver. This helps them establish secure relationships, easing the transition from being away from Mum and/or Dad.