For working parents, childcare decisions can be something you agonise about before your little one even arrives. Deciding who you’ll trust to take care of your baby means analysing the different options available and making a choice that is right for you and your family.
This article is aimed to help you review the nursery vs childminding options as two of the more popular choices that parents select when deciding on who to use for their childcare needs.
Firstly, research the options in your local area…
This will enable you to review the different options that available as soon as possible and give you the time you need to get as much information as possible and discuss it with your family before you make a decision.
As a working parent, trusting someone you don’t know with your child can create all kinds of emotions about your commitment to raising your child. Most parents face the same challenges and it’s perfectly normal to feel guilty about not being able to stay at home until your child is able to go to school.
Finding out what childcare services are available, getting recommendations from other parents and discussing it with your family, will help you to feel much more comfortable and confident in the decision you eventually make.
It’s just as important to decide what works best for the whole family as well as your new child, which may allow you to create a flexible childcare schedule that works for all of you. For example, you may decide that you will take care of the drop off and your husband, wife or partner do the pick-up.
The convenience of using a registered nursery or childminder that is local to a family member may be beneficial for emergencies, over above one which may have a better Ofsted report but is half hour drive away from anyone you know. So, weighing up the benefits of quality and location over convenience and speed of access to your child as well as other factors such as childcare hours vs working hours, facilities and transport links will also influence your decision.
Let’s now look at the two options so that you have a better idea and understanding of what they both offer and how they can potentially work for you and your family.
The Nursery Option
- Nurseries offer a very interactive sociable environment for children which can aid their academic achievement and social skills.
- Good nurseries can be expensive, especially if you have more than one child. So, you should definitely research your options on free childcare and any benefits you may be entitled to.
- Nurseries are open for around 51 weeks of the year with set hours and some also offer a late/early service. You may wish to seek a more flexible option if you’re not happy to pay for childcare that you don’t always use.
- Ensure you’re comfortable their values and the way in which they work with children including the key worker who will be responsible for your child.
- Ask to see their most recent Ofsted report and talk to parents and other members of staff before deciding.
- As with all childcare arrangements, good communication between parents and the nursery is a key factor in your feeling happy with the service provided, so be sure to ask as many questions as possible so that you feel comfortable with your choice.
- Childminders usually provide a more intimate home arrangement than a nursery and they will encourage your child to form healthy, emotional attachments.
- Ensure your childminder can provide enough one to one time with your child to enable a healthy bond to develop, which will help your child to settle in more easily.
- Childminders are generally less expensive than nurseries, but you should check policies on meals, illness and holidays to ensure that you know what you are paying for.
- Childcare vouchers and tax credits can be used for registered childminders, but you should check that your childminder is registered and will accept them.
- Childminders also have to be inspected by Ofsted in the same way nurseries do, so again ask to see the Ofsted report and discuss your child with the childminder to make sure you are happy with the environment, activities and meals that are being provided.
- A childminding setting usually has less restrictions and are therefore can be more flexible if you need to arrange care for specific working hours or days.
- Try to build in time at the end or start of the day to talk with the childminder about any questions or concerns about your child which will reduce any stress and facilitate good communication.
- Find out about ages of the other children that will be in the house at the same time, as unlike a nursery, there may be a wide range of ages and you may feel that your child will benefit from having older children, or you may prefer them to be with children who are around the same age as your own child.
Ultimately, you need to do what feels right for you and your child when you select the childcare provider you are going to use. Knowing that your child will be well cared for and their development facilitated in a safe, happy, healthy environment is the most important decision you really have to make over and above everything else.