Putting Our Three-Year-Old Back Into Nursery During Lockdownby Emma Longden
Just writing the title of this post brought up a little anxiety on how it would be received. I haven’t actually told the majority of my friends and family that my husband and I made the decision for our three year old to return to nursery yet, as I have been nervous about their reactions, worried that we would be judged as it isn’t strictly necessary.
Both my husband and I have continued to work from home throughout lockdown. My husband is technically a key worker (as a teacher), but has been allowed to carry out his work at home, whereas I work for a care company, but don’t work on the frontline and am able to also work remotely, so we didn’t take up the offer from the nursery for a space from the start, as we didn’t think it fair on those who were unable to be at home with their children during the pandemic.
We did, however, make the decision for our youngest to go back to nursery, once they opened up to other children, in June. By this point, we had been working from home around teaching my older two children for a few months and it was pretty challenging. Juggling everything had meant that our three year old was often left to his own devices (safely within eyesight) and he was incredibly bored.
He has had issues with his speech and visited a therapist prior to lockdown, and we were concerned that, although it had continued to improve, it could be impacted by spending time on his own whilst his siblings did their schoolwork and my husband and I worked on our laptops. He has always been a sociable little boy and thrived when he started nursery last autumn. Isolation at home had been difficult for him, and he longed to be outside more.
In the end, we asked him what he would like to do and listened to what he had to say when we offered him the chance to return to nursery and the staff there who he had grown to love. Despite initial hesitation, when we explained to him that it would be for a few hours and he would be back home again in time for lunch, he was really excited.
He has been back for a few weeks, and we have since increased his hours on a Wednesday, as I have returned to the office one day a week, and he is loving his time outside of the house. The older children have had time to be able to focus on their schoolwork without distractions, and we have been able to focus on completing our work whilst he is at nursery, allowing us to all enjoy time together as a family in the afternoon once he is back home.
I know that many parents are nervous about the idea of their children returning to nursery and school, but for us, it was definitely the right decision. Our son is loving being back, and it will help ease the transition for him when he goes back, potentially full time, in September once the rest of us return to school and work. We have felt confident that the nursery is a safe space for him, as they have been brilliant at keeping us updated with their safety measures, and have adapted the space to allow for social distancing and additional hygiene practices for staff and children. It has been really reassuring for both our son and us during what is still such an uncertain time.