Published on November 15th, 2016 | 518 Views0
How to find the best childcare providers
When choosing a nursery for Big Girl, I remember having done my online research and felt I knew where I wanted to send her. After doing a few tours, however, I changed my mind and went with my gut instinct.
I’m not surprised a new survey by Childcare.co.uk found 38% of parents were more likely to go with their gut instinct when choosing childcare over cost, followed by 25% who selected based on location.
To get more advise on how to choose the best childcare, I’ve collaborated with Childcare.co.uk and asked Jo Wiltshire,the parenting expert for Childcare.co.uk, five questions about choosing childcare providers:
1. What questions should parents be asking when assessing prospective childcare providers?
Jo Wiltshire: Check and double-check. Do your homework. Check the setting’s Ofsted report, take up references (at least two), do a news search of the setting on the internet to see if they’ve been in the local press for any reason (good or bad!). Drop by unannounced, and see what things look like when they’re not expecting you–are the staff interacting with the children, down on their level? Or is the television acting as a childminder? Are the children clean and occupied and the staff unflustered and happy to greet you? Ask to use the loo, so that you get to walk into areas that may be less ‘prepped’ for visitors. You may feel like a spy–but if they have nothing to hide, you won’t catch them out
Ask questions– both of your potential caregiver, and also any friends, family or wider acquaintances who have already used them. Word of mouth works–as long as you are sensible enough to overlook individual grudges or personal disputes. When you visit the caregiver, don’t be embarrassed to really drill them–you are considering handing them responsibility for your precious child, and any caregiver worth their salt won’t mind answering anything you can throw at them. Ask about staff ratios, qualifications, daily routines, policies on discipline, practicalities such as provision of food and nappies, outings and trips, whether they have a keyworker scheme, what happens when a childminder is poorly. If they can’t or won’t answer, think again.
Trust your gut!–A recent study by Childcare.co.uk found over a third of parents go with their gut when looking for a childcare provider and have reported to know when they found the ‘one’. Make sure you visit lots of caregivers and go with the person you feel is going to be right for your family and who you feel confident communicating with. However shiny and impressive the premises are, it counts for nothing if this relationship isn’t right.
2. What factors should parents consider when putting a value on childcare?
Jo:There is the emotional value as well as the financial value. Emotionally, childcare enables you to fulfil career ambitions or simply feel like the old you again. Some parents may relish their freedom whilst another relishes every minute they spend with their child. No one is right or wrong–it is about doing what is right for YOU.
There is the financial value too and with our child, we are not seeking ‘value for money’. Yes, parents need to seek affordable options to suit their own pockets, but the reassurances around safety, trust, quality of service are paramount when it comes to our most precious possession in the world.
3. The survey by Childcare.co.uk shows that the majority of parents have cost far down the list of priorities when selecting childcare provider. What do you think about this finding, and what do you see parents prioritising more than financials when it comes to childcare?
Jo: I completely understand cost is a factor. Life changes when a baby comes along and this includes our financial outgoings. Changes might need to be made, and new arrangements made that fit within a budget.There are ways a parent can be savvy with their grocery shopping and entertainment, for example. When it comes to childcare, however, you do not want to take any short cuts.
4. For one in four, location is the top selection criteria, according to the survey. Why is location more important than other factors at times?
Jo: Location of a childcare provider is an important factor, particularly for working parents who need to do a drop off en route to work or a train station. This tells me that parents are sensible and making life as stress-free as possible!
5. Considering the fact the survey also showed a large percentage of parents go with their gut instinct when choosing childcare providers, what do you think is important for parents to keep in mind to ensure they make the right decision despite relying on feelings?
Jo: Make sure you visit lots of caregivers and go with the person you feel is going to be right for your family and who you feel confident communicating with. However shiny and impressive the premises are, it counts for nothing if this relationship isn’t right.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Childcare.co.uk