When it comes to your children, you will always want the best for them. This sometimes means making sacrifices for them. We are quite lucky at the moment that I have been making enough from my blog and freelance work for me to work around the kids (thus attending all parent evenings, assemblies, clubs) and enabling Steve to work part time.
However we want to move out of the house we are in now as it is only two bedroom and Olivia needs her own room as Jack’s room is just too small for her to move into. Unfortunately the house prices around here are much more than what we are currently paying but we can’t move as Jack is far too settled at his school – and it is one of the best around for miles. The alternative? Steve and I both go back to work full time. But then that leaves us with a problem – childcare.
I had Jack at home until he was just over 3 – he then went to preschool for 3 hours a day Monday-Thursday and then in the September went to the nursery attached to the school. Olivia is a lot younger than Jack was when he first went into childcare and I obviously don’t have much experience in choosing it so I’ve compiled a few top tips on choosing the best childcare for you and your family.
Check, check and check again
Whether you are using a nursery or a private caregiver, you will of course be doing checks. When it comes to nurseries, check the Ofsted ratings – not just the most recent rating either. You want to know if they have gone downhill over the years or if they have improved dramatically and why these things have happened. You want to ask friends and family who have prior experience with the place what they felt.
If choosing a private caregiver, you will of course be choosing someone registered – but using an online background checking service is a good idea. Any caregiver should be DBS checked and registered with the relevant authorities. Again, ask around to see what other people have experienced with them.
Follow your child’s lead
It’s all well and good if you feel comfortable – you obviously do want to be comfortable leaving your child somewhere but it is your child who should have the ultimate decision. I am not saying ask your child outright where they want to go – that’s silly – but you will know if your child feels comfortable or not in a caregiving setting. They may be really unhappy at the nursery but prefer a childminder – once you’ve done your research, are you really going to ignore your child’s feelings and put them in the caregiving setting they dislike? If Jack had ever shown any signs of being uncomfortable in any childcare he had been in, I would have taken him straight back out. It is so important to follow your child’s lead when it comes to things like this.
Check your budget
Don’t promise yourself and your child the world when you may not be able to afford it. There are a few different care options in our area – a nursery, a pre school and various childminders. I know who or what we would be able to afford budget wise and would then work out which is the best for my child accordingly. Interestingly the most expensive option is the one I would least likely to send Olivia too for various other reasons and not the money!
How do you pick childcare for your family? Do you do these things above?