When you have children, nothing quite prepares you for the enormity of your new role and it can often feel overwhelming.
Then, just when you have got used to your new role and have found your parenting feet, your maternity leave ends and you need to make the decision whether to stay at home or head back into the workplace.
Finding the right childcare for you can be a tricky business as there are many different types of childcare options available these days eg. family, nanny, nursery, pre-school, childminder or workplace crèche (if you are very lucky).
There is no right or wrong choices for childcare, it is a matter of personal choice and budget. What is important, however, is that you ensure your child is receiving quality, professional care suited to their stage of development.
Childcare.co.uk is an award winning online social networking platform for parents, childcare providers and private tutors with over 2 million members and is a site I am familiar with from my days as a childminder.
Not only does the site offer advice on choosing childcare, but it is also a directory of local settings, childminders, nannies and babysitters and is completely free to use for parents and carers.
To get the best results from your search, simply enter your postcode and select the type of childcare you wish to look for:
- Out of School Club
- Au pair
- Private Midwife
- Nursery nurse
- Private tutor
- Household Help
Alternatively, you can create your own profile detailing your specific childcare requirements and contact details and suitable childcare providers will be able to contact you.
Each service provider writes their own profile and can list:
- How many year’s experience they have
- What professional qualifications they hold
- Whether they are Ofsted registered
- What days / hours they work / are available
- Cost per hour
- Which schools they pick up from
- If they provide meals
The website, and apps, have a free, secure messaging service so you can put any essential enquiries to your selected childcare providers before arranging a meeting.
I would advise that you arrange to meet at 2 or 3 providers before making your decision and take your child along too – after all, it will be them spending the time with them, not you.
Top Tips on choosing childcare
Babies thrive on physical interaction and cuddles, so you may choose to have a one-on-one carer such as a professionally qualified nanny who would work in your own home, or a similar home setting such as an Ofsted registered childminder.
For an older child, social, physical and intellectual development should be considered, so you may choose a larger setting, such as a nursery.
It is also worth investigating whether the setting accepts childcare vouchers and if you are entitled to two and three year old funding which allows you up to 30 hours of free childcare for 38 weeks of the year – most Nursery schools accept this funding as do some childminders.
Once the kids are in full time education, some schools provide breakfast and after-school clubs, or you could choose the childminder option which is often more flexible, especially if you work shifts.
Did you struggle to find childcare for your child?
Disclaimer: Post written in collaboration with childcare.co.uk
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