Leo has been to four nurseries in his short little two years and ten months on this planet. He first started when he was 6 months old. I was anxious as any parent is about the decision but I knew the socialisation would be great for him and well, I needed to get back to work. He’s only ever been part time so I still get two days a week with him which I absolutely love.

When he was 11 months old we moved house. I really struggled to find a nursery that had a place for him but find one I did. It was awful. I can’t believe I let myself leave my son in the care of a continually rotating staff of carers who didn’t even change his dribble soaked t-shirt during a very bad day of teething. Needless to say, after three sessions and me feeling unbearably sick he never went back.

Luckily a space became available for him at another nursery, one that I’d heard good things about and one where we both felt comfortable. So for the next year he spent three days a week in the care of wonderful staff and he came on leaps and bounds. I think between the ages of one and two they soak up so much and I couldn’t believe the things he would come home saying and new habits he would display.

Then we moved again. I know. It’s like we can’t stay in one place for more than 18 months.

I found a lovely nursery with great facilities; football lessons, cookery school, French in pre-school(!), forest school, you name it they seem to do it. But his transition was very difficult. New house, new big boy bed, new nursery. He had a meltdown every day for the first few weeks. When he was small and he’d cry when I left it was hard. Really hard. But he could talk now. He could shout my name, he could tell me he just wanted to be with me. Heart. Broken. But low and behold a few weeks passed and he started to thoroughly enjoy it and again, in the last five months he seems to have come on leaps and bounds, asking me for a knife so he can cut his own food, opening books and making up stories to the pictures, drawing shapes (I am so proud of his circle!), telling me about his friends. He is really settled and enjoying the environment.

But guess what? Yep, we’re on the move again! You may have read my post in January about whether or not we should relocate as a family to be closer to Anthony’s work as at present he works away all week, or should we stay as we are and Leo and I move closer to friends and family whilst Anthony remains away all week. Either scenario meant a move. But we’ve decided, finally! And I feel like a weight has been lifted. We’re headed down south so that we can all be together as a family again and we get to see Anthony every day. I cannot wait. It very much feels like the right decision for us. But it means moving Leo’s nursery… again!

And so I started the search for somewhere new for him and whilst searching I stumbled across a site that has profiles for childminders (as well as au pairs, nannies etc) and it got me thinking. Whats the difference? Is there one? Leo has always been in a nursery setting, but my niece went to a childminder, my best friend uses a childminder… Perhaps it’s something I should look further into?

This is where you lovely lot come in. What childcare arrangements do you have? Do you use a childminder? What has your experience been? Are they more flexible? Do you feel your child has been exposed to enough socialisation? Have you used both childminder and nursery and do you have opinions on which you preferred? Or maybe the men in our lives should open a daddy day care – they totally look like they’ve got it covered don’t they?

Image by Little Beanies.