Choosing the right child care provider

For many of us, sad as we may well feel about it, maternity leave comes to an end and it is time to return to work.

It can be really stressful choosing someone to look after your child when you return to work, and whilst there are a number of different options available, it is important that you choose the right one for you and your little one.

Below are our top tips to bear in mind.

1. Location.

a. Who is doing the drop off and pick ups?

b. Who would be the carer if your child was ill and needed picking up from their childcare provider?

c. If your child is older, a child care provider close to your work may be  a good option as you can enjoy your child’s company on the journeys to and from home.

2. Gut feel.

There is a lot to be said for your gut feel of the child care establishment and the primary carer.  Trust your instinct – if you ‘just don’t like somewhere’ then that’s good enough reason for not sending your child there.

3. Facilities.

Nurseries may have an amazing outdoor space including farm animals or pets, but if your little one doesn’t like dogs/ rabbits/ cows, then this may not be the right place for them.  Don’t be swayed by facilties that look fabulous but in reality, don’t get used that often or would be of no interest to your child.

4. Unexpected visit.

Drop in unannounced one day.   You’ll really find out what the child care provider is all about!  A good provider will not care if the place is in chaos – it simply means that everyone is having a good time!!  But you’ll be able to see through the chaos and get a real feel for what goes on.

5. Activities.

What does the provider do with the children?  If they are a child minder – do they consider it ok to do their chores whilst looking after your children?  Whilst the odd visit to the supermarket may be acceptable to you, doing their ironing would probably be a different ball game.

6. Settling in.

Ask for some settling in sessions before you commit.  The chances are, your child will have spent at least some of the time there upset – but if the provider is honest with you and you feel reassured by their approach to the situation, this can put you hugely at ease.  After 2 or 3 sessions, you should see an improvement when you peak through the window just before pickup.

7.  Embrace the pickup

It is almost (I repeat,  almost) worth dropping them off to see their delighted little face when you pick them up.  It is very reassuring to know that you are still their favourite person, and no matter how much fun they’ve had, ultimately, nothing makes them happier than you do.

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