Choosing the right childcare for your child is a very important decision, and you want to get it right first time, for both you and your child.

There are lots of options, the main ones being: Registered childminder, Day nursery, Pre-school, Nanny, Au pair, Grandparents (or other Family or friends). 

Here are some questions to ask yourself, to help you make the right decision.

1. Do you need childcare for a child under 2 years old?

If Yes, then:

Suitable options: Nanny, Day nursery, Grandparents

Possible options: Childminder

Not possible: Au pair, Pre-school

 

Explanations:

Childminders can only take one child under 12 months

An au pair is considered too young for the responsibility of a baby or toddler

Pre-schools only take children from age 3

2. Can you take time off work if your child is ill?

If No, you can’t take time off work for a sick child, then:

Suitable options: Nanny

Possible options: Grandparents, Au pair

Not possible: Day nursery, Childminder, Pre-school

 

Explanations:

Day nurseries, Childminders and Pre-schools do not take children when they are ill

An au pair may be too young for the responsibility of a sick child

Grandparents may not wish to look after a child who is ill

3. Do you need childcare throughout the year?

If Yes, then:

Suitable options: Nanny, Day nursery, Childminder

Possible options: Grandparents, Au pair

Not possible: Pre-school

 

Explanations:

Most Day nurseries are open all year round

Nannies and Childminders are usually available all year round – except for their own holidays

Au pairs usually work on short-term contracts so may not be living with you for a whole year

Pre-schools are only open during term time (38 weeks a year)

Grandparents may have their own life!

4. Do you need childcare for the entire working day?

If Yes, then:

Suitable options: Nanny, Day nursery, Childminder

Possible options: Grandparents

Not possible: Au pair, Pre-school

 

Explanations:

An au pair usually works a maximum of 30 hours a week

Pre-schools are only open for morning and afternoon sessions – from 9am to 3pm at most

Grandparents may not wish to look after a child for your full working hours

5. Are you happy with someone living in your house?

If Yes, then:

Suitable options: Nanny, Au pair

Not relevant: Day nursery, Childminder, Pre-school, Grandparents

Other things to bear in mind if you are considering childcare provided by someone living in your own home:

  • a loss of privacy to some degree
  • any carer needs their own space.