I can’t believe the first month of 2020 is almost over! Time seriously needs to slow down…
So as suggested by the title I wanted to talk about childcare options and in particular the ‘nursery vs stay at home’ debate. Jaxson is starting his new nursery tomorrow and will be attending 3 days a week!! EEEEEKKK. He is exactly 11 months and two weeks old, and has been at home for the duration of this time. Due to the limited amount of maternity leave here in the UAE, I went back to work when JJ was around 3 1/2 months. We were so very blessed that we had family who cared for him for the next month and a half. When JJ was just under 5 months, we hired a nanny to stay at home with him full time.
Our decision to opt for a nanny was mainly due to the uncertainty around the quality of care provided for babies here in the UAE; we both decided that we would send him to nursery when he was a little bit older, more independent and stronger (in terms of his immune system etc.)
I am not exaggerating here, when I say that our nanny is a SUPER NANNY! She really does love and care for JJ like her own and I felt so reassured leaving him at such a young age. I think I also found leaving him that bit easier, as my daughter started at her nursery, at only 3 months. Repeated story, but I had to go back to university and living in Bristol away from family, I had no other choice; nannies were far too expensive! Again, I was so blessed that the manager and key worker at Arianna’s nursery were so so lovely and honestly I still remember them, 9 years on!
Ok, so back to 2020…initially we had said we would send JJ to nursery once he was walking but over the last couple of months, I’ve really seen him develop at honestly such a rapid rate! I just felt that although loving, a great chef, an amazing housekeeper; our nanny just wasn’t able to provide the stimulation that he needs. No fault of her own but she was more like an Aunty, as opposed to a childcare practitioner. I had introduced the concept of sensory play etc to her but I think that culturally she just didn’t quite get it! The other issue here in RAK specifically, is that there is a massive void of playgroups/ meet ups and so I felt there was very rarely anything that my nanny could actually take him to. Plus to be honest, I kind of feel like that’s something I should be doing!
In my opinion, it is so important for children to socialize with other children within their age groups. Although, Jaxson has Arianna, I didn’t want him to miss out on the opportunity to play, engage and learn from kids his age. I think also giving him a new environment to explore and structured activities will really help with his stimulation and growth development! That being said, we have only put him in for 3 days a week initially and will probably review within the next 3-6 months. Interestingly, I have some friends who refuse to send their children to any form of nursery etc and instead do it all themselves at home. Another one of my friends who is a KG teacher, told me that in primary schools here, they have some children who at the age of 4 have only ever been at home with nannies/ parents! Now honestly, I can’t say I agree with that as mentioned before, socialization is so imperative for child development! I think that is also another reason why I probably would not home-school Arianna…that’s a whole other topic!
So let me know guys, are you a send them to nursery parent or keep them at home? I think if I’m ever in the position to be able to stay at home and there is a wealth of playgroup/ meet up opportunities available, then I would definitely consider staying at home for longer with my children.
I think the key thing is though, every child is different and as a parent you have got to trust your gut in decisions like this! Either way, as long as the child is happy, that’s all that matters right!?