Even though I am a childcare provider myself, I am not going to promote my particular profession of being a childminder. I am, however, going to be honest with you, I am going to give my hints and tips as a Mum and the advice that I give any parent that comes to visit myself at my setting.
I know first hand, that one of the hardest things about returning to work after having a baby is finding the right childcare provider for you and your family. One that you feel comfortable leaving your precious child with.
Having been through it, here are my tips on How To Choose A Childcare Provider…
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Consider all of your options
My number one bit of advice is, think about what is going to be best for yourself, your child and your family! Whether a childminder or a nursery setting. Think about what you want from your childcare provider. Is it flexibility? Value for money? The morals of the provision? Availability?
Ask for recommendations from friends and family
Ask around for recommendations from friends and family. Ask for advice on your local Facebook parenting groups and pages. But bare in mind, other peoples opinions and their experiences can be very different from your own.
Visit a few different settings
I always advise parents who visit my setting to visit a number of settings, even if you think you’ve chosen a setting. Try and fit in some visits to a few others. That way you have something to compare it to. You may also change your mind – Every setting is unique and has something different to offer.
When visiting the setting take note on how the childcare providers interact with the children at the setting and how the children are interacting with the staff and activities on offer.
Also visit at different times of the day, to see how the routine and staff changes to give you a real feel of the setting.
Ask as many questions as you need
Don’t worry about asking too many questions. Ask everything that you need to know. Where is your child going to nap? What are the settings holiday dates? Sickness policies? etc. I would advise on asking to see the settings policies and procedures too. It’s so incredibly important that you get all of the answers you need – after all, you are going to be entrusting these people with the most important thing in your life.
Trust Your Gut
First impressions are so important. But, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. If you have any feelings of doubt on your first visit then I would say go with your gut feeling.
Take note of how the provider interacts with your child and yourself when first meeting you in the setting. You want to feel comfortable enough to be able to approach the provider to discuss any issues of questions you have. If you do not feel comfortable in the setting, then I would say it’s not for you. You should feel relaxed, welcome and calm. Visualise your child being there, happy and content.
Take advantage of settling in sessions, ask for more if needed
Accept as many settling in sessions as you are offered. They will put your mind at rest that you’ve chosen the right place, and allow you to gage how your child is going to cope. If your child is unsettled, ask the setting if they can offer additional settling in sessions. They should more than likely be happy to oblige as they have to work in partnership with parents as part of the EYFS.
From One Mum To Another
You’re going to feel nervous and guilty wherever and whoever you choose to look after your child while you go to work. So make sure you have covered all bases and done your research to make it as easy as possible on everyone.
Do you have any words of advice that you would you give a mum on choosing a childcare provider?
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