We know that choosing the right kind of childcare can be a difficult task and that many parents find themselves unsure of where to start.
So to help you make the best decision for you and your child, we’ve put together a handy checklist.
- Do your research – Look up the different types of childcare available on our Family Directory (external link) and ask other parents for recommendations.
- Check the cost of your childcare – Find out if you can get help towards you childcare costs and if you’re entitled to free hours – see paying for childcare
- Make a shortlist – After doing your research draw up a shortlist of childcare providers in your area and remember to find out opening times and holiday dates. You may also want to check their Ofsted reports (external link)
- Make an appointment to visit your shortlisted providers – Ask lots of questions and get a feel for the staff, enquire about staff qualifications and staff numbers - is the environment safe and secure? What food do they serve? How are the children supervised? Is the equipment varied and high quality? Are the toilets clean and appropriate? What happens in an emergency?
- Tell your provider anything important – Once you’ve chosen your childcare provider, inform them of any health issues or allergies your child may have and what their likes and dislikes are.
- Sign a contract – It's important that you have a written contract with your childcare provider and that you both sign and keep a copy.
Monitoring your child's care
After a few weeks it’s a good idea to check in with your provider to find out how your child is doing, it’s also worth talking to your child to make sure they’re happy and comfortable.