- 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 small child.
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