Finding the right childcare provider is more than just making sure your child is watched over while you are at work.
Those early years are an important learning period for any child, as we all know. They need to be exposed to the right environment and start making friends and building bonds with other people apart from you and your family.
Getting your childcare right is very important. Here are just some of the options you can choose between:
- Hiring a Nanny
A nanny normally lives in with you at your home and looks after practically everything to do with caring for your child, including some light cleaning, cooking, and laundry.
The big bonus is that you get one to one care for your child which can be invaluable. There is the familiarity that develops when having someone you trust at home making sure your child is being taken care of safely. It’s often a great idea if you have more than one child that needs to be looked after.
The downside is that it can be expensive but, if your nanny is registered, you can use childcare vouchers to pay for their services. Others may also find it a little stifling having a nanny around full-time.
- Informal Care
This is often the cheap and convenient option for many parents. It’s where family members like grandparents and other relatives, even neighbours, take care of your children. Many people use informal childcare in conjunction with a formal services such as a day nursery. Handing the kids over to your grandparents is the default for many parents when their childcare has gone awry for the day.
The main downside is that your child may not be getting the formal education and stimulation that they would if they were being cared for by a professional childminder. Informal carers aren’t expected to be registered or provide the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- Childcare Centres
These include registered nurseries and preschools and will have larger numbers of children attending. The benefit of this is that your child will begin mixing with lots of other kids very early on while in a safe environment. A day nursery, for example, will look after children from the age of 3 months up to 5 years while a school nursery takes them from the age of 3.
Finding a place at a childcare centre can be difficult, especially if you want to find somewhere that fits in with your work. They normally have slightly stricter practices than less formal environments.
- Home-based Childcare or Childminder
Another popular choice, home-based schooling is where a registered childminder operates from their own home and looks after small numbers of children each day. They will have limited capacity to take on extra children, though some minders group together or hire qualified assistants so that they can service bigger groups. The big benefit of a childminder is that they give your child more individual attention and, as long as you get continuity, this can benefit development. Your child is also exposed to a multi-age setting which is ideal for their development and social skills.
As with childcare centres, the big issue is finding the home-based childminder that suits your needs. With limited spaces, it can be difficult in some areas where places are limited. Kwicare’s mission is to support childminders to continue practising and parents, to find the right carer for their children.
Many parents will look at a range of options when it comes to childcare. Of course, a lot depends on your personal circumstances, the hours you work and where you work as well as what you need childcare for. Our advice is to talk with other parents and always make sure you research any childcare option and ask all the right questions when you go to take a closer look.