This was another first for me because of Bug. One thing I was not keen to do was put my name on waiting lists while I was pregnant because if I had a miscarriage or stillborn as nothing is guaranteed until they are here and also I was taking a year off with my maternity leave to be with Bug so thought that would give me more than enough time. It turns out not everyone else feels this way. So I had a bit of difficulty sorting out childcare even though it's not even until November before I go back but for now I think I have a plan that is coming together.
I know that I am lucky because I have family nearby. Originally Mr B and I were looking to have Bug in childcare in the morning and ask my MIL to watch Bug until Mr B came home because he is home early afternoon. That way she got some one-to-one time with Bug, Bug was not in childcare all day long and we save a bit of money. But when we asked her, she said yes- to full-time! We didn't feel that we can ask this of her, but will give her a day or two to spend together. We want Bug in some sort of childcare because they do also prep them for school.
We went looking around for nurseries in the local area, most would not have space because of the ladies that put their name on the list as soon as they found out they were with child. To be honest, I did put Bug's name down on the list for the nursery in the village when she was 3 months old but she can't start there until she is 2 years old so was looking for a filler until she got into there. Other nurseries were just not practical for us or my MIL in terms of location.
My work also has a nursery which is subsidized but it has very long waiting lists. They don't allow people to put their name on the waiting list until you have had the child. They advise you to look for other means of childcare because of the length of the waiting lists. So we started looking at childminders to cover the time we were waiting to get in.
I belong to a FB group for my village which I find very helpful for loads of reasons. I got a few names of childminders in the village. This was ideal for me because it would be easy for pick up and drop off for us and my MIL. I met with a lovely lady who I was really happy with and looked forward to having her watch Bug for me. Also she is well known in the village so got to see a lot of recommendations from people for her. They are also OFSTEAD registered so they are also required like nurseries to do learning as well. This is important to me.
In the end, I was told I have a slot for Bug to start at the nursery that I wanted so that was a relief! But the childminder was a great option for us as well.
So what do all things mean?
I will outline the good and the bad to help you in your search. First off, join your village's fb group if they exist. They are the best people to tell you about local areas.
- You have to pay them at least minimum wage, National Insurance and now their pension.
- The more qualified they are the more expensive they are.
- Good one-to-one care.
- Can be flexible if you are likely to have some late nights.
- If she leaves you, you may be stuck!
- Find nannies in phone book or online agencies.
- Make sure you ask for qualifications, references, see how she interacts with your baby during interview, and follow your instincts.
- Costs can vary and just because it costs more doesn't mean its better.
- Google Nurseries in your area.
- They are year round and reliable.
- Good ones- They encourage children to learn through play.
- Small babies might prefer one-to-one care.
- Children get colds a lot in this environment until they build up their immunity.
- Make sure that the staff are warm and happy.
- The atmosphere is good.
- The children look happy and interact well with the staff.
- Staff turnover is high in this area but good nurseries will tell you how they develop their staff.
- No televisions!
- Ratio for children 0-23 months is one to three.
- These places are OFSTEAD rated so you can look up how they rate.
- Costs can vary on your area, make sure to discuss hours and holiday pay. Remember the British have different holidays so you may find yourself stuck if you work on base!
- Look at the Children's Information Service and personal recommendations (your village's FB group)
- Convient, flexible.
- More affordable, same ratios as nursery and they also are required to encourage learn through play.
- In their own homes.
- There is only one adult, so make sure that they are the right person for you and your baby!
- They are also OFSTEAD inspected and should be registered with the local authority.
- Stop by unexpected to ensure that you are leaving your child in a safe and clean place.
- Cheaper than other options.
- Expect to live in and come for three months to year.
- Also do housework and watch children in evenings.
- They will be young and may lack experience (so may not be the person you want in charge of your baby full-time).
- Can find them at www.greataupairs.co.uk
- Make sure that they have a good grasp of English, willing to do housework, has experience, not too young and can cook.
- You may not get to meet them before they arrive.
So I have been going through the minefield of finding care for Bug, which has been nerve-wracking. I am so thankful that I have the support of my MIL and got a place in the nursery that I wanted her in the most.
I hope that you have success too and that this helps!