The pros and cons of day nurseries

If you’re looking for childcare you may be weighing up several options, including day nurseries, childminders and even nannies.

For many working mums, day nurseries offer the convenience of reliable, professional care for your child in a stimulating, social environment.

Find out more about the pros and cons of day nurseries to help you decide if they’re the right choice for you and your family.

The pros of using a day nursery

  • They follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS), ensuring your child has a stimulating structure of learning and care.
  • Nurseries usually offer a wide range of activities, including painting, drawing, sticking, dancing, music, reading, puzzles, imaginative play, singing, cooking etc.
  • Your child will have the opportunity to play one-to-one with a member of staff, as well as learning how to play in a group with other children.
  • Nurseries are a great way to build your child’s social skills.
  • Nurseries usually offer the flexibility of choosing full time places, single days or even half days.
  • All day nurseries are inspected by OFSTED in England, HMIE in Scotland, Estyn in Wales and DENI in Northern Ireland.
  • Nurseries are conveniently reliable – except in extreme emergencies they’ll always be open and you won’t need to find alternative cover for staff holidays or sickness.
  • If you’re eligible for tax credits, you may be able to get help with your childcare costs.
  • You may also be able to use childcare vouchers towards the cost of childcare. 

The cons of using a day nursery

  • Nurseries usually work to fixed times with no flexibility if you need to work late or drop off early.
  • Your child will be mixing with lots of different children and may well come home with colds and minor illnesses from time to time.
  • Nurseries offer less personal one-to-one care than a childminder or nanny.
  • You’ll need to drop off and pick up your child.
  • If your child is unwell you’ll need to pick them up and take time off work to care for them at home. 

Where to find a day nursery

You can find day nurseries near you through your local Family Information Service.