Childcare has been something of a challenge for UK parents for many years. Whilst we all try to juggle family life and the responsibilities of our working lives, at the same time grappling with the financial balance of working and paying out for childcare.
My experience of childcare
One thing has always been clear to me. There is no one size fits all approach, no one style of childcare that meets all parents needs at all stages of parenthood.
When I was a parent to just one child I used a day nursery full time from when my daughter was five and a half months old, due to my work commitments. Whilst I have struggled with the guilt of this ever since, I do not believe that it has had any negative affects on my daughter, or our relationship- quite the opposite. She is confident, outgoing, personable, a great communicator and we have a wonderful bond and always have had. She’s also the only one of my four children who didn’t cry when I left her at school for the first time.
After my second child, I stuck with the full time day nursery for both of them for about a year. The cost was the bulk of my salary at the time and all I did was get them dressed and bath them at night. That was not why I became a mother, so at that point and ever since I have worked on a freelance basis from home in order to be more present for my children.
My youngest two boys did one day a week at the same nursery just to ensure they had the opportunity to mix with children before school and be separated from me, this also meant I had at least one focused day a week for working from home, because working from home with children (as many people now know), is far from straightforward.
Like so many families these days, we didn’t have family nearby to help out, so at the time this was the best option available to us. Grandparents still offer a great deal of free childcare to families in the UK, but that is not something available to all families, and during the pandemic that is obviously not a risk people should be taking.
So, how do you find childcare these days? Have you heard of childcare.co.uk? It’s the easy way to find childcare local to you. Childcare.co.uk is an online platform designed to help you find suitable childcare in your area. It currently has around 2 million users! Not only can it be used to track down childcare, but you can also use it to find private tutors to meet the needs of your children AND find childcare jobs.
How does it work?
Simply go over to childcare.co.uk and create a free account. It only takes a minute and no payment details are required.
You start by searching your postcode, but you can filter it by type of childcare as well. So, for example, if you are specifically looking for a nanny, you can just search for Nannies. They also have private midwives listed, so if that is something you are considering it might be a good place to start.
As an example, there are 35 listings for our area. We are quite rural though, so if you live in or near a large city, I imagine there will be tons more listings for you to choose from. The listings include what their hourly rate is, so you can also identify childcare within your budget.
You get a brief overview of the person and then click on their profile for more information. You will find a list of experience and qualification and details of their professional background. There is an easy table so you can see when they are generally available and other relevant experience.
If they sound like the person to help you there is an option to drop them a message. It couldn’t be easier really. Lots of the people listed are listed as offering emergency cover, so if you are someone without local family support it might be worth just sticking it to your fridge in case!
The site also gives people the chance to upload certificates and confirm DBS etc, so you can be reassured you are making a safe choice.
Support during COVID-19
There will be many parents out there who are key workers, single parents and disabled parents, who may be struggling with childcare during these challenging times.
This platform may be able to help you. The site covers last minute and emergency childcare situations and there are many providers listed on the site as “Coroner Helpers”, so you can quickly identify the type of support they can offer.
I think this is a brilliant resource for families during this time, as well as a source of longer term childcare.
Have you used this site before?
This is a collaborative article.