So, you’ve made the decision to put your little one into childcare. Not an easy decision for many parents; it took me 21 months to decide to take the plunge!

It’s such a minefield; to entrust your child with a stranger, in a new place, without you there, it’s a huge undertaking but doing your research and getting to know the provider is a big MUST.

Where can I find registered childcare?

Bear in mind that we are UK based, so this information is tailored to the UK.

There are lots of websites that list prospective nurseries and childminders, but personally I’m all for the gov.uk website here – they can also show you OFSTED reports to allow you to make the best choice for you & your wee one. You can also find out if you’re eligible for any free childcare here!

Step one – find providers close to you or your work.

The website will direct you to your councils website and then will ask for a postcode to show the closest geographic providers, which is super handy, especially if you’re a walker like me and need to gauge distance!

Step two – make contact. The website lists their contact details.

I made contact with a few providers near me, and whittled down all the prospective providers (as some had no vacancies) to the lady who will (hopefully) become Max’s childminder very soon.

Step three – arrange visits.

The lovely childminder I chose offered a visit for us to get a feel for her home and her assistants. It’s a ten minute walk away, which isn’t too taxing and is nice exercise.

Step four – enquire about a settling-in session.

Most providers offer settling in sessions – if your little one isn’t happy, there are always other providers that you can trial!

Other things to think about…

  • Meals – does the provider include meals in their price?
  • What do they do if your little one doesn’t like a meal – do they offer an alternative?
  • Where do the children nap?
  • How much space is there?
  • What qualifications and special skills does the provider have?
  • Trust your instinct; what sort of vibe do you get from them?
  • Watch your child when you visit; do they seem happy?
  • What sort of toys and activities are on offer?
  • Is your provider available at times you need them? Check their calendar.
  • How does your provider document what your child is doing & learning?

These are all the things that I looked into & considered when deciding that it was time for Max to go to a childminder. I work from home as the Content Editor for Bump, Baby & You which is amazing in terms of flexibility, but Max is getting bored & needs a little extra stimulation, which will allow me a breather to get some uninterrupted work and cleaning done for a day or two a week. Win-win for us both!

Tell me your experiences of finding suitable childcare in the comments…

Love from Katie. Xx

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