Making the right choice for childcare
Choosing childcare is one of the most important decisions you have to make as a parent.
Here we offer you a five step plan to picking the perfect childcare:
Draw up a shortlist using information from your local Family Information Service - check the hours that they can provide childcare, the hourly/ daily/weekly cost and if they have places available for your child.
Visit several settings and ask questions about the childcare provided.
And when you visit the childcare centres here are some questions you may want to ask:
What is the ratio of staff to children? How many children do you care for?
What qualifications and experience do you have?
What are the daily routines and how can you incorporate my child’s and other children’s routines?
Do you operate a key worker scheme (whereby one member of staff has main responsibility for your child)?
What are your policies on discipline and how do you manage children’s behaviour?
Do you provide meals, snacks, nappies etc or will I need to provide them?
Make the big decision - it might help to take a friend and or your child on the visits to help you decide.
Take up references from other parents who have used that service. Don’t be afraid to ask for their honest opinion of the care offered at the centre you are considering.
And once you make your decision you can book your child’s place and arrange details like hours, start date, who is allowed to pick up your child.
What happens when they start nursery?
Your child may take some time to settle into any new childcare setting that you start them in, so allow them time to adjust to their new surroundings, especially if this is their first time in childcare.
Remember that most childcarers, such as childminders, will offer a settling in period where you have an agreed length of time to assess whether the setting is the right one for your child and that they are happy there.
Don’t be afraid to ask daily for reports from the childcare staff who should be willing and able to respond to your child’s individual needs.
Once you are happy with all the information you have, it’s time to prepare your child for life outside the family home.
And they adapt quickly, it is often the parents who struggle with parting company for the first few days while their toddler heads off into a new world of education and fun as they take their first steps into the world of childcare.
Taking steps important
Making the decision about your child’s childcare is