Returning to Nursery and COVID-19

I’ve reference the dreaded COVID-19 a few more times than I really wanted to on here. It’s on the news, it’s on my social media feeds and it’s in almost every conversation I have on a daily basis. I really want to forget the term altogether, BUT, it is a huge part of our lives now until it goes away (whenever that might be!).

We’re all desperate to return to the ‘new normal’ or abnormal as I see it. We want our pubs to open (it’s looking hopeful), we want to shop without queuing for hours, our lockdown hair to be trimmed and most importantly it would be quite nice to get back to hugging loved ones and being able to high five mates without considering an awkward post-greeting antibacterial session afterwards.

As we crawl back to some kind of normality, we’re getting updates from nursery about potential return dates, and surveys about whether we’re considering coming back any time soon or at all. It’s a weird one, at the start of all of this the prospect of spending an unknown amount of time restricted to the house or garden with each other and a toddler to entertain was frightening. If you didn’t appreciate nursery pre-lockdown, after a few weeks of trying to juggle working from home, conference calls and toddler entertainment you certainly began to very quickly.

After literally months of being in each others space, aside from the inevitable arguments, I’ve enjoyed every moment. We’re now in a situation of having to consider what we do next. Nurseries are starting to phase returns, some sooner than others, and by the looks of things we’re up next. Which with it has brought a lot more to consider than I thought it would have done almost 3 months ago (is that how long it’s been?!).

Avoiding the virus – In Ivy’s first year at nursery she kindly brought back 2 proper stomach bugs, a virus, several colds and I’m pretty sure I was blessed with conjunctivitis one time (sharings’s caring). We were always warned that would be the case. ‘It’s good for their immune system’ parents would tell us. Something I’d have to remind myself whilst wrapped around the toilet shivering at 3am. But there’s something about sending your child to nursery and worrying about the chances of them picking up a bit of a stomach bug vs. the potential to come home with some lovely finger paintings and carrying a pandemic inducing mega virus. We’re almost certain in our house we’ve had it anyway and Ivy managed to dodge it, but it certainly plays on the mind that we’d be dropping her off into a pit of germs by choice.

The social side – We all love to have a moan about the restrictions in place, especially about being able to see our friends. The same goes for Ivy, whilst we like to consider ourselves great people to hang around with, we aren’t toddlers and we can’t play all the time, so the opportunity for Ivy to be back around children her own age feels really important, not only for her development, but I imagine she’s probably bored of us now!

Socially distancing toddlers – When I read the news and see articles written about kids returning to school and socially distancing I can’t help but think the journalist writing the piece doesn’t have children. I think you’d have a greater chance of herding Vaseline covered sheep, whilst wearing a blindfold after a night on the sauce than you would keeping toddlers socially distanced at nursery. The closest you’ll get is caging them up (which on some days I probably wouldn’t disagree with). Toddler’s lick things, one another, eat things they shouldn’t and try as you might to avoid it, it’s just a part of their weird and wonderful age. So socially distancing them, in my opinion is borderline impossible.

Keep two metres apart… never mind.

We need to get back to some kind of normality soon, but as has been the case throughout this pandemic there are many decisions to be made for that to happen, and the return to nursery is one of those difficult decisions for us. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments from anyone. Whether you’re gleefully singing your way to nursery soon to drop your little ones off, or sticking with the distancing a little while longer.

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