That is probably (one of) the 60 million dollar questions out there. Unfortunately there is no straight answer because there are too many factors to consider.
For example, I have 2 boys. With my first, he went into a nursery and for my second he had a nanny.
What was the reason for this?
- I felt that being an only child at the time, my first son would benefit from being around other children.
- By the time my second son was born, I needed much longer hours which a nursery could not accommodate, but a nanny could.
- When you have 2 children, it can sometimes be more cost effective to have a nanny rather than place them both in a nursery.
Your family's circumstances
You have to make a choice based on your own circumstances, as well as what is right for your child. Some people don't have a choice, and a nursery is all that they can afford, particularly with the free entitlement funding for 3 year olds.
Choosing a nursery
What is very important is making the right choice of nursery. Personally I wouldn't rely on Ofsted reports, but instead I would place heavy emphasis on recommendations from other parents.
Go and have a look around a number of settings to get a feel for what size and type of nursery would best suit you.
Don't always book ahead as they will be on their best behaviour if they know you are coming. I would just turn up on the doorstep and ask if you can have a quick look around. If the manager says she is busy, ask if you can be taken around initially now by a member of staff, and then book to see the manager at a later date.
You can also speak to your local Tinies agency, because we supply staff to nurseries and therefore can recommend some of the good ones.
Take 'expert' advice with a pinch of salt
One piece of advice - don't read all those reports and pieces of research by experts on what they perceive is the best childcare for children.
They don't know you and they don't know your children - you are the best judge of what is best for them.
Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director