We, my husband and I, are off to the big city, to see the Queen;

well not actually to see the Queen but to The Last Night of the Proms to wave a Union Jack around in the middle of Hyde Park, singing Jerusalem with 40,000 others loudly and out of tune! It is something we do every year and every year I have the same anxieties! You see, we have a dog and it has to be said, he is the most special and important thing in our lives and we are having to leave him for 2 days, in the capable hands of someone we trust but still question if we are doing the right thing!

Will he understand why we’re not there? Will he miss us? Will he be looked after in the same way as we do? Will he even care that we’re not there?

We won’t even think about that question too much, of course, he’ll care!!!

Now I was never blessed with children of my own, I had another path to travel and that path led me into childcare at a later stage in my life and for 11 years I was the Manager of a 75-space day nursery, supporting families and parents with the difficult decisions of:

Should I work, or should I stay at home?

Childcare these days has become a necessity for some…

as the need to return to work after having a child means there are fewer options.

Difficult decisions have to be made…

what kind of childcare should we choose? should I stay at home? can we afford to? can we afford childcare?

That tentative, initial visit and show round of the building, the parent wondering when, not if their child will catch chickenpox as soon as they start and how soon will they be called at work to say their child has a temperature or an upset tummy that definitely wasn’t there in the morning and needs to go home!!!

Once a parent has made the decision to start at a setting or childminder and every other member of the family has had a visit…just to make sure….it’s up to the Manager and Practitioners to ensure that those precious babies and children settle quickly and without too much stress or anxiety. We focus a lot on the children at this time and rightly so but it is vitally important to remember that the parents can be just as nervous and frightened, anxious and worried and need as much care and attention as they leave their most priceless possession in our care.

When those parents are questioning every little detail, hovering at the door when you told them to leave ‘because you make the child worse, they’re absolutely fine when you’ve gone!’ or drive you to distraction because you’ve mislaid their child’s only and ‘can’t sleep without it’ Heffalump for the 3rd time that week, it is worth reminding our staff, especially the youngest in our teams, that we don’t know what it took to bring a child into this world, how long and what problems families had along the way.

Not having children means I don’t understand a parent’s perspective, but I do understand how precious a new life can and could be.

Treat the parents with kindness, understanding and respect; strong, honest and trusting relationships are key to a happy and settled family and child.

My husband and I will still go to London at the weekend….we will have a ball, but we will still be worrying until we walk back in the front door!

Liz x