Looking for childcare was a complex enough subject before Covid-19 but now, amidst social distancing and a gradually easing lockdown, childcare options are vastly complicated. There are however, tools available to make it easier.
My son used to go to a nursery and switched almost a year ago to a pre-school, for a number of reasons. It was the right decision for him and he really loves his pre-school and the staff that work there. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and as we are a shielding family, he’s sadly not going to be able to return to his pre-school. In September, he should hopefully be starting Primary school and because I’m very fortunate to work both my businesses from home, childcare worries are now a thing of the past for me.
For many, finding childcare is now the most complicated it’s ever been. Some places are shut due to Covid-19, some are only taking children of keyworkers and some childcare providers are fully open. Many parents work patterns have been thrown into chaos too, with redundancies galore and many businesses changing their operating hours. The result, for many parents, is having significantly different childcare needs, to what they had pre-lockdown.
There is, however, an amazing website, which can help those confused about childcare. Trusted by over 2 million members, childcare.co.uk is a well known and award-winning resource for parents. The website helps you decide whether you are likely to need a childminder, nursery, au pair, pre-school, nanny, private tutor, babysitter, nurse or other kind of setting for your little ones. You can access childcare.co.uk from Amazon Alexa too, which is fab for busy parents.
Once childcare.co.uk has guided you through which type of childcare is most suited to your situation, you can also use the online tools to find childcare near you. It’s ideal for researching long term childcare provisions for your family, but also is a fantastic platform for last minute or emergency childcare. There’s also a section where you can find private tutors, midwives and doulas too.
Out of curiosity, I had a little look for childcare in my area, to see how comprehensive the website really is. Childcare.co.uk returned 452 listings for childcare services provided within 5 miles of my home. WOW! That’s a lot. I had no idea there even were that many childcare providers near me. Not only that, but at the touch of a button you could see all 452, complete with photograph, short introduction for each one and a full comprehensive profile. Hourly rates were also clearly displayed, which saves you clicking through hundreds of pages looking for the prices. Every childcare provider also has reviews which you can read to see other parents experiences of each setting. You can add filters for factors which are important to you, such as whether you want them to be male or female and even specify if you are looking for a non-smoker too.
If you have specific requirements, such as wanting a childcare provider with experience of special needs or experience caring for newborns, you can find these things listed on each providers profile. Its also easy to see if a childcare provider has their own car, is first aid trained and what additional childcare qualifications they have. You can view their availability at the touch of a button and request to see documents such as their OFSTED reports, DBS check certificates, ID and many other certificates too, which provides great peace of mind. After all, you are going to be trusting this person with the most important person/people in your life, so it’s essential to be thorough. Having all this info at your fingertips, without having to even put in an email address (no spam here), is brilliant. For those looking for free childcare and tax-free childcare schemes, these things are also listed on each childcare providers profile.
Having explored the childcare.co.uk website in depth, I have no hesitation in knowing where to go next time I need to find childcare. The website was so easy to use and full of tips and guidance, to help parents make the right choices for their circumstances. I’d recommend this website as a first port of call for anyone looking for childcare, whether that’s permanent, short-term or last minute.
This Post has been written as part of a paid collaboration with Childcare.co.uk but all words, opinions and recommendations are entirely my own.