When it comes to visiting the nursery for the first time, what do you look for?
During each of your nursery visits ask yourself and the managers the following questions to make sure your baby’s needs are fully met and to put your mind at rest.
Here, we’ve put together a guide of 10 things to look for when visiting a nursery so you can be confident in making the right choice.
#1 Do you receive a warm welcome?
The welcome you receive as a visitor will give you an insight into the general attitude and disposition of the nursery staff. Are they friendly and welcoming? Do they deal with you and other families and children in a professional but caring manner?
#2 Is the nursery secure?
Does the nursery have an entry system? Are you expected to sign in when visiting the nursery? Visiting a nursery for the first time is an ideal moment to answer these questions and ease any concerns you may have. As your baby grows and becomes more mobile, consider how secure other indoor and outdoor areas are.
#3 Is there a separate area within the nursery for babies?
Having a separate room or area where your baby will be cared for means they will have a designated area to support their development and a quiet space for their naps. It shows that your baby will be cared for in a safe and appropriate environment with suitable equipment including cots and a separate changing area.
#4 Are babies’ routines being followed?
Do staff have the facility to care for your baby’s individual routine? How will the nursery ask you for information about your baby’s routine and how will this be supported?
#5 What is the ratio of staff to babies?
Look for a ratio of three babies to one staff member. Anything less than that might affect the care and attention that can be given to each individual baby. As your baby moves up through the nursery, will they be assigned a key person to help them transition to their new environment?
#6 Are the staff happy and engaged with the babies in their care?
Notice the atmosphere and listen to the staff around. Do the staff seem happy and caring, and are they paying attention to the needs of the babies and children around them?
#7 Will your baby’s development needs be cared for?
Look around for signs of baby equipment such as play mats and baby-appropriate toys and activities. Will your baby be offered the stimulation they need to develop? Is there sensory equipment available? Do babies look happy and engaged? Does the nursery have a communication system for keeping parents informed?
#8 Does the nursery and baby equipment look clean and well cared for?
Your baby will come into contact with a lot of equipment and it’s important that this equipment is maintained in good order and regularly cleaned. Does the nursery have a regular cleaning and inspection routine?
#9 What qualifications/experience and checks do the staff have?
From Nursery Assistants to Managers, all staff should have suitable qualifications. Have all staff been DBS checked? Don’t be afraid to ask questions when having conversations with the Manager or any of the staff.
#10 Will your baby’s medical conditions be cared for?
If your baby has, or develops, any medical conditions during their time at nursery, will their needs be cared for? What facilities are in place to be able to do this? How are medicines administered and are they recorded? Do staff have any experience of specific medical conditions and are all staff first aid trained?
It’s only natural to feel a little anxious when thinking about leaving your baby with a new baby care provider for the first time. So what can you do to make it easier?
Start doing your homework well in advance
A little research beforehand can help ease the worries involved in the process of choosing a new baby care provider. Look for reviews and recommendations, as well as Ofsted reports. If you can get a chance to talk with other parents of babies at the nursery, all the better!
By following these Top 10 Tips when you visit prospective baby care providers you’ll soon be able to make an informed decision as to which is the right nursery to choose for your baby.
Remember, a good nursery should welcome the chance to show off their facilities and expertise in providing the highest quality of care for your baby. They will also understand your concerns and should put you at ease.