According to the National Childcare Trust, 60% of women say that childcare is the biggest concern when returning to work. Some of the most common feelings expressed by mothers include guilt and fear that the childcare won’t be good enough.
Finding the right childcare can be a confusing and time consuming process with many things to consider from staff capabilities, parenting philosophy, family life (including the long/unpredictable hours worked!) setting ethos, curriculum and budget to name a few.
Keep an open mind
Although finding Mary Poppins might be difficult (even she had her faults!) the key is to keep an open mind when exploring the different forms of childcare available, and thinking about the needs of you, your child and the wider family.
I have met with many parents who prior discussing their individual needs have been set on having a particular form of childcare, only to realise another form that they hadn’t looked into was a better option for them.
Childminders can care for up to six children younger than eight, though no more than three of them should be younger than five. This number includes their own children, and they may care for less children if their home is smaller.
Childminders are registered with the regulatory body Ofsted, and are required to complete a level 3 childcare qualification, 12 hour paediatric First Aid course and have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (previously known as CRB checks).
Childminders normally work a 10-11 hour day.
- One of the main advantages of using a childminder is that your child will be one of a small group and will have plenty of individual attention, but will still have older/younger children around to play with and learn from.
- If you can’t afford a nanny at £350 – £550 per week, a childminder is a more affordable option, charging approximately £6 -7 per hour.
- The right childminder will provide a ‘home away from home environment’ and after better able to adapt to the parents needs/suggestions.
- Childminders provide a flexible form of childcare that fits the needs of working parents, this is particularly beneficial if you don’t have back up care easily available. They can take children to and from schools and nurseries, and often take children to group settings such as drop-ins where they can socialise with other children.
- Many childminders are also parents themselves, which means you know you are leaving your child with someone with direct experience in caring for children.
- Childminders are regulated by Ofsted and follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which provides a structure of learning and care for children from 0-5 years old.
Childminders are self employed and responsible for paying their own taxes.
- Unless your childminder is part of a local childminder network, there may not be guaranteed back-up childcare if they are ill or on holiday.
- Many childminders expect to be paid a retainer fee during the holiday.
- Childminders charge per child, which if you have more than one may start to get expensive.
- Childminders often have children. However, good childminders will ensure that the children in their care have the same treatment and attention as their own children. If you’re worried about this, you could find a childminder who has older children at school.
What else to consider?
- Make sure you understand the contract, holidays, sick days, bank holidays, who provides what, food, nappies, wipes, cream, baby/toddler group fees etc…
In the next article I will discuss the pros and cons of Nannies. There are of course other forms of childcare to consider from Au Pairs to Maternity Nurses, Night Nannies to Nanny Housekeepers.
If you would like support in finding the right childcare to meet your needs, Families Work is a bespoke childcare agency that supports parents to source childcare form nurseries to nannies. All consultants have over 15 years experience consulting within the childcare sector.
About the Author
Emma Dewey is the Director of Families Work, a bespoke childcare consultancy agency that supports companies and parents to balance family and work life. Services include a bespoke childcare search service, maternity coaching, parent workshops as well as a parent trouble shooting service. As a childcare specialist Emma regularly consults for Local Authorities and associations such as the British Association of Au Pairs.