From day one, you and your baby have been stuck together like glue, spending every hour of every day together. But unfortunately, this can’t last forever- jobs, social commitments, or simply needing a break all mean that sometimes you’ll have to pass the care of your little angel onto someone else. For a lot of parents, this prospect can be quite scary – after all, choosing someone to trust with looking after your special little guy or girl is a big decision! Luckily, Kiddies Kingdom has compiled a super simple guide to help you figure out how to find childcare that’s right for you and your sprog.
A Few Things to Consider
Before you start thinking about the various childcare options available, it’s a good idea to figure out a few essential things.
- Budget: How much money do you feel able to spend on childcare? Depending on your answer, this may rule out some more expensive options.
- Travel: With options like nurseries, preschools and childminders requiring you to come to them, you may want to consider if travelling for childcare is even an option for you and if so, how far you are able to travel. And, if picking up and dropping off will be a factor, do you have a back up person who can pick up your munchkin if you happen to be held up?
- Times: Not every parent requires childcare at the exact same times of day. Some childcare providers with set schedules may not work for everyone.
- Check Them Out: As a parent, it’s natural to want only the best for your child. So, see if you can observe how your potential childcare provider interacts with the youngsters in their care before making any decisions. You should also ask questions regarding discipline, eating and sleeping to ensure your childcare provider’s ideas align with your own.
Now you’ve got a more general idea of what you want your cutie’s care to look like, it’s time to look at some of the childcare options you can choose from. To give an extra helping hand, we’ve laid out some of the pros and cons of each.
An Au Pair is a live-in childcare provider who is often a student from abroad. There are some amazing benefits to Au Pairs, but some drawbacks too.
- They work in the household- meaning no travel necessary and familiarity for your child.
- They can also do housework and chores.
- They provide your child with one-to-one care.
- You can negotiate the contract beforehand.
- You will give a wonderful opportunity to someone from another country to study in England and improve their English.
- Au Pairs are not usually trained to work with children.
- You must have adequate house space to give them their own room.
- You must provide them with meals.
- They only work five hours per day, although you can hire an Au Pair Plus who will work longer hours.
Nannies are an ideal form of childcare for parents who work unusual hours or need a lot of childcare. Here are a few of the positives and negatives.
- They work in your household, meaning there is no travel necessary and a familiar environment for your little one.
- They are directly employed by you so you can negotiate the terms of the contract beforehand.
- They provide your child with one-to-one care.
- Some are willing to do light housework on top of childcare duties.
- They have various levels of skill, experience and qualification.
- They are not Ofsted regulated.
- They can be costly, as you will be expected to cover expenses on top of paying your Nanny’s wages.
- They are entitled to annual leave and will also have sick days, during which you will have to find alternative childcare.
A childminder is someone who looks after your poppet, often along with other children, in their own home. You can often find them through your local county council.
- They are trained in childcare.
- They have emergency first aid training.
- They are registered with Ofsted and subject to spot checks.
- They often look after a group of children, giving your munchkin the chance to develop social skills and form friendships.
- Some childminders only work during term-time.
- Childminders have annual leave and sick days, during which you will have to arrange alternative childcare.
- As childminders work from their own home, you will have to travel for pick up and drop off.
A nursery is an establishment that looks after a number of children.
- There is a set structure.
- There is a focus on learning and developing your nugget’s cognitive skills.
- Mixing with other children will allow your petal to make friends and develop social skills.
- The staff are properly trained in childcare.
- There is always a first aider on the premises.
- They are registered with the appropriate authority.
- They can be expensive.
- They have inflexible start and finish times, so may not be the best choice if you require childcare outside of those hours.
- You will need to travel for drop off and pick up.
- Whilst mixing with other tots is fabulous for your little one’s social skills, it does mean they’ll be coming down with colds and sniffles a lot more often.
A creche is occasional short-term childcare, usually attached to another establishment. For example, fitness junkies who need someone to watch their pumpkin whilst they hit the weights may wish to join a gym with a creche. Some shopping centres also provide creches, so you can shop ‘til you drop without having to entertain your little monkey.
Preschools are very similar to nurseries, but much less formal as they tend to be run by charities or churches. The main difference of a preschool is that they only operate for a few hours, so they may not be ideal for parents needing childcare during an eight-hour working day but are a perfect option for those just wanting a couple of hours respite.
Informal childcare refers to childcare from family or friends. This is a popular option for many reasons but does have disadvantages too
- You already know and trust your childcare provider.
- It is often free or cheap.
- Your child will have a closer bond with the person looking after them.
- Not everyone has a friend or family member with the time or resources to look after their child.
- You may have to provide your friend or family member with stair gates, plug covers and other means of babyproofing their home.
With a number of brilliant options available, finding someone to look after your precious poppet is easy as pie. It’s all about figuring out what works for you, your lifestyle, and most importantly, your kiddo.