Childcare Services and Information
If you are a working mum, then you must think about childcare long before you are ready to go back to work. If you're lucky you will be able to call upon a Grandma, Aunty or good friend to help out, if not you will have to consider outside agencies and decide what is best for your, your family and your new baby. Here I've tried to cover most of the options available and how to determine the best childcare for your circumstance.
Choosing Childcare - Questions to Ask
Coram - Family and Childcare Trust have an excellent guide. They work to make the UK a better place for families by bringing together what they learn from their on the ground parent-led programmes and their research to campaign for solutions that parents want and need. Focussing on childcare and early years to make a difference to families’ lives now and in the long term.
Vacancies and costs
- Are there vacancies - is there a waiting list and if so how long?
- Do you have to pay a deposit? If so, what's it for? Is it returnable?
- How much does the setting charge per hour/day?
- Do you have to pay for holidays/meals/nappies/other activities?
- Do they offer a settling in period? If so, how long for?
Staffing and premises
- What is the ratio of staff to children? How many children do they care for?
- Do they operate a key (named) worker system?
- How will they keep you informed about your child's progress?
- What opportunities are there for you to be involved?
- What is staff turnover like?
- How well qualified are the staff?
- Are all the criminal records checks up to date?
- Is there plenty of outdoor space?
- Can you see a copy of the registration certificates and inspection reports for the setting?
Activities and support
- What are the daily routines and how can they incorporate your child's and other children's routines?
- Where can your child sleep or rest?
- What if your child is unhappy? How would they be looked after?
- What are their policies on discipline and how do they manage children's behaviour?
- How will your child's dietary requirements be accommodated?
- What systems do they have in place if a child has a severe food allergy?
- How will your child's cultural background be reflected and respected?
- Are there staff members from different backgrounds? Do they have books and activities representing all cultures? What about food/music/religious festivals?
- What happens if your child is sick?
- What happens if you are delayed picking your child up at the end of the day?
- How will they contact you in an emergency?
Nannies & Au Pairs
Child Minders & Babysitting Services
Deciding on a Child Minder
from The National Childminding Association Childminders are professionals and are
used to parents visiting them to ask
about the service they provide.
Before you visit a childminder, spend
some time thinking about the childcare
you need and the things you are looking
for in your childminder.
Make a list of questions that are
important to you.
NCMA’s top five tips:
- 1. Trust your instinct –many parents
say their family instantly felt at home
with the childminder they chose for
their child. You’ll probably see them
most days and will need to discuss
your child’s care and payments with
them so it is important they are
someone you – and your child – feel
- 2. Take someone else with you when
you visit – they will help confirm
your decision and may think of
questions to ask
- 3. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second
visit. Try visiting at a different time if
you can – during the day you’ll be
able to watch the childminder with
children, but in the evening you may
be able to talk more easily
- 4 Visit more than one childminder.
Even if the first one seems perfect, it
is worth confirming your decision by
visiting one or two more
- 5. As well as asking questions, make
sure you take time to watch how the
childminder acts with the children,
and look around the setting.
Suggested Questions for your Childminder
- How long have you been a childminder?
- Why did you become a childminder?
- What do you enjoy most about the job?
- Are you a member of the National
- Do you have any relevant qualifications
- Do you belong to a childminding group,
network or other support group?
- How many other children do you look
after, how old are they and how long
have you been looking after them?
- Do you have any children of your own
and, if so, how old are they?
- What types of activities do you do with
- Do you and the children go on regular
outings or special trips?
- How do you help children settle in?
- Do you have pets or a garden?
- What food do you provide?
- What do you consider unacceptable
behaviour and how do you deal with it?
- Do you work with other local
childminders? How does this work?
- What would you do in an emergency
involving yourself or one of the
- Do you ever take the children out in the
car and, if so, do you have suitable
insurance, seat belts and car seats?
- What do you do about holidays – both
ours and yours?
- What happens if someone’s sick –
whether it’s you, us, or the children?
- Can I see your registration and insurance
- Can I see a copy of your inspection