Choosing the right childcare for your child is a very important decision, and you want to get it right first time, for both you and your child. There are lots of options, the main ones being a registered childminder, day nursery, pre-school, nanny, au pair, and grandparents (or other family or friends). Here are some questions to ask yourself, to help you make the right decision.
Do You Need Childcare For a Child Under Two Years Old?
If you require care for a child under the age of two, the most suitable options are either a nanny, a day nursery, or to leave your child in the care of their grandparents. Another potential option might be to hire a childminder, but this would only be suitable for one child under twelve months of age. An au pair would not be appropriate as they are considered too young for the responsibility of a baby or a toddler. Similarly, a preschool would not be possible as they only take children from the age of three.
Can You Take Time Off Work If Your Child Is Ill?
If you can’t take time off work for a sick child, then the most suitable option would be a nanny. You could also consider an au pair, though they may be too young for the responsibility of a sick child. Alternatively, you could also consider asking the grandparents, though bear in mind that they may not wish to look after a child who is ill. Please note that a day nursery, childminder or preschool will not be suitable as they will not take children when they are ill.
Do You Need Childcare Throughout The Year?
If you require childcare throughout the year, the most appropriate options would be either a nanny, a day nursery or a childminder. Most Day nurseries are open all year round, as are most nannies and childminders, except for their own holidays. You could also consider an au pair or grandparents, though au pairs usually work on short-term contracts and thus may not be living with you for a whole year, whilst grandparents may have their own lives to attend to! As preschools are only open during term times (38 weeks per year), these would not be an appropriate option.
Do You Need Childcare For The Entire Working Day?
If you require childcare throughout the entire working day, the most appropriate options would be a nanny, a day nursery or a childminder. You could also consider asking grandparents to provide care during this time. However, you should bear in mind that they either may not want to, or may not be able to provide care for your full working hours. Please also note that an au pair and a preschool would not be suitable options in this instance. For clarity, an au pair usually works a maximum of 30 hours a week, whilst preschools are only open for morning and afternoon sessions – usually from 9am to 3pm at most.
Are You Happy With Someone Living In Your House?
If you are happy to have another person living in your house, either a nanny or an au pair would be an appropriate option. In this particular instance, a day nursery, childminder, preschool or grandparents would not be relevant. If you are considering childcare provided by someone living in your own home, please bear in mind that any carer will need their own space, and you will suffer a loss of privacy to some degree.