The last few years have been a time of loneliness for many new parents, especially mums. Those of us who relied on grandparents for support often couldn’t see them at all. Some of us could only say ‘hi’ through a window. Months of isolation and worries about our newborns catching yet another disease added hugely to the ‘normal’ new parent stress.

If you are facing self isolation with a new baby as we start another year of pandemic life, Dr Abigail Wright has some helpful words in this blog article from the British Psychological Society. 

“Acknowledge that caregiving in itself is a fantastic achievement. Sometimes just making it through the day is a success in itself. Find a way of noting all your achievements (however big or small) and create meaningful ways to celebrate them.”

After all, caring for our kids and keeping them safe has been every parent’s priority in this strange and worrying time. At Koru Kids, we have been thinking a lot about how childcare has changed since the start of the pandemic, and how we can make sure families can access safe childcare when they need it.

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It's the 21st century. As parents, we are armed with so much knowledge, and so much love. We can make this work. The image shows a mother cradling her tiny baby in a loving embrace.
New parent stress is real–be kind to yourself

Childcare is changing

Whether you are a new parent or have children already, COVID-19 has changed the face of childcare for all of us in the UK. Many nurseries and childminders had to shut their doors at some point during the pandemic, yet burnt out parents need childcare more than ever. That’s one of the reasons we created our new Home Nursery service.

Home nurseries are the best of forest school, nurseries and childminders rolled into one. One warm, reliable Early Educator looks after only 3 children under 5 years at any one time. This means lots of 1:1 attention, fewer sick bugs, and strong bonds between carer and child. In our home nurseries, we focus on outdoor-based learning and learning through play. Most of our home nurseries are in London and the surrounding areas, but we hope to open many more soon to fill that childcare gap in the UK.

There are many lovely things about our home nurseries. Parents appreciate the focus on being outdoors. They love the child-led learning, and all the knowledge and love encapsulated in our Koru Ethos. But one of the biggest benefits is getting a safe space for their child to meet other children.

Childminder and children in the forest outdoors
Our Early Educators are trained in outdoor learning and safeguarding

Small groups for safer socialising

There are many benefits to this form of childcare for babies born 2019 onwards. For instance, you might have heard the term ‘lockdown babies‘. Perhaps you have one! Babies born during the pandemic generally haven’t socialised as much as they normally would. Research indicates the pandemic has impacted children’s speech development, among other things. Spending time with other children, and adults with early years training, can help get your little one chatting again.

Some babies might find big groups overwhelming, especially if they spent all their time with you. Home nurseries keep their groups small. Each adult looks after only 3 children. So kids get that warmth and attention they really need when they just start in childcare, but they also get to see other children, in small doses. Bustling nurseries can be great for social butterflies, but if your child isn’t quite ready to jump in the deep end, a home nursery group gives them the chance to dip their toes in.

Small groups have another big benefit—slowing the spread. When your kid mingles with 6 adults and 40 children in a day, chances of exposure get pretty big. Limiting close contact is part of the many steps listed on Gov.uk to reduce the risk. So 3 children and 1 adult is clearly a safer option. 

If you want childcare help in your own home, our nanny service has already helped thousands of families through the pandemic. That’s just 1 adult coming to your home to look after your baby—a childcare bubble. That’s no other children at all, unless you choose to nanny-share. So both home nurseries and nannies are forms of safe childcare that help keep the spread down, compared to larger settings.

Lean into the joy of becoming a parent

Pandemics are no new thing. But COVID-19 has been substantial, and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Parents have to keep themselves and their children safe, but also balance that with the possible developmental impact of isolation. How long will we have to keep our children away from others? How well will they bond with their grandparents? Will they be alright around strangers? We hope we can help parents introduce their little ones to the world in safe—baby—steps.

But put aside the fears for a second. As you sit there with that little squishy bundle looking up at you through bleary eyes, life changes. What you feel isn’t just more love than you could have imagined. It’s also more joy. Most parents couldn’t imagine the joy they would feel on almost a daily basis. Everyone tells new parents about the sleepless nights, the poonamis, the fear, the frustration, the self-doubt… But that joy seems to be left out of the conversation.

There are many joyful years to come

Here’s to hope

We hope you get the chance to lean into that joy in 2022. Becoming a parent is so flippin’ tough. No amount of helpful advice can prepare you. No amount of baby blogs and YouTube videos. Sure, you can watch a tutorial on how to assemble that steriliser. Or read about how much milk a newborn baby needs. Or desperately Google about yet another rash. But the complex emotions, and the moments that are completely unique to you and your baby… You can’t find out about these anywhere else.

Whoever your child becomes, whatever they face, you’ll do an amazing job. In the 21st century, we are armed with the power of knowledge right at our fingertips. And a new awareness of the entire world. We are parents in 2022! Let’s celebrate that. And if you need great childcare—we’re here to help.

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