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What to consider when choosing a nursery

Wondering how to pick a nursery to look after your baby? We have put together a list of some things to consider when choosing a nursery, from childcare costs to location.

2 mins to read Nov 9, 2020
  • Consider the location of the nursery. Will it be more convenient nearer home or your place of work?
  • Consider the time it takes you to get there and how you would get there.
  • Talk to other parents using facilities locally to you and find out their experiences.
  • Read government reports to see if the standards meet your requirements or check out forums to see what local parents think.
  • Make a shortlist of places and try to view as many of them as possible.
  • Consider taking your child on these visits too if you can.
  • Take note of how you and your child are greeted at the nursery.
  • Observe your child’s reactions to the staff, setting, and other children.
  • Consider if the other children seem settled and happy.
  • Consider if the staff are attentive to the children and to each other.
  • Ask what activities your child might be involved in during the day.
  • Ask if the nursery keeps records of the children. Could they show you an example?
  • Ask what provisions are made for naps or quiet time.
  • Ask about meals and nutrition and how they deal with picky eaters or specific dietary requirements.
  • Ask about toileting and potty-training policies.
  • Ask if diapers and formula feed are included, if you’re formula feeding.
  • Ask about settling-in periods.
  • Consider that you and your child might need time to adjust to childcare arrangements.
  • Ask about staff ratios. Are they in line with government guidelines? What happens when people are off sick or on leave?
  • Ask what safeguards are in place for other people picking up my child.
  • Ask about the childcare costs and what you may be entitled to under government schemes. Also, check if they accept childcare vouchers if you have these in your country.
  • Find out what the nursery’s daily hours are and if these apply all year round or just to term times.
  • Check the availability of places. Some nursery places need to be booked up to a year ahead.
  • If you’re returning to work, read our tips for going back to work after a baby.