Working mothers worry, and we worry a lot. We always question ourselves. Are my kids happy? Are they safe at home or at the nursery? Do they have the best care possible?
I am a working mom, and it can be heartbreaking to leave your child behind to head to the office; what gives me peace of mind is knowing that they have the proper care while I am away at work. That’s why you have to make sure you choose a nursery which you are confident about, and comfortable with.
Start planning for your nursery
Mothers can choose from over 130 nurseries in the UAE. Nurseries generally start their applications six months in advance so, once you’ve hit the midpoint of your pregnancy, start planning. Pay a visit to nurseries you are considering. Luckily, in the UAE you can secure a spot within a few months, because of high turnover. People in the UAE often tend to move houses or leave, making it easier to get into a nursery.
Shortlist not only based on costs, but also visits to the nursery. During my visits, I liked to observe how the baby classes were monitored, and how teachers interacted with the babies. I also observed nursery classes for three-year-olds as they can be significantly different from classes for babies under six months. It helped me get a real feel of how my child would get treated at every level, especially if they were to stay there until school started.
Age – they start young
Working mums only get 45 days of maternity leave, so need to look for a nursery that will take babies from two to three months old.
For babies below a year old, it is critical to have a low teacher-to-kids ratio, as they require a lot more care. Young babies have a routine and you don’t want to disturb it. You want your kids to get almost the same care as they do at home. I follow a set routine at home with my daughter, and looked for a nursery which would follow the same, as I didn’t want to readjust her routine every weekend.
Working parents without extra help at home should look at nurseries with out-of-term cover. Even if you have help at home, still consider out-of-term cover as you want your child to get enough social interaction. However, out-of-term cover also means parents need to account for extra costs besides fees.
Location and timings
Where and how long the nursery is open for can determine which place you select. Working mums can look at full-time nurseries as they allow you to pick up your kid after work. If full-time means too many hours at the nursery, and you want them home for their mid-day nap, look for ones close to home. Your nanny can always go pick up your child, especially if it’s at walking distance from home.
I tried both options, and found that part-time nurseries worked better for my child. She could take her naps at home, and got the rest she needed.
Remember, if you choose a nursery close to home, you might want to register them in early, especially depending on the area you live in. For example, The Palm doesn’t have that many nursery options, so you might struggle to get a place.