*This is a collaborative post
Finding the Right Childcare with Childcare.co.uk
Finding the right childcare for your children can be a bit of a minefield. It’s such an important getting the right person or setting for your child and your family. I remember when I needed to find a new childminder for our son and at first, I just didn’t know where to start. I needed to find someone that could cover the long days I worked at the time, that could provide meals, was local to us and could also cover school runs for when my son started school. I also did not have a lot of time to find the right person either. Then I came across Childcare.co.uk.
Childcare.co.uk is just as it sounds a database of all sorts of childcare providers in your local area. It allows you to search for and connect with babysitters, childminders, nannies, nurseries, private tutors and schools and also allows childcare providers to advertise their services. The site has more than 1.5 million users nationwide and is the largest online community for parents in the UK having launched in 2009!
When you go onto the site, all you need to do is select the service you are looking for, enter your postcode and it will bring back a list of local providers. You can filter on specific features you are looking for such as if they’re Ofsted registered, if they have been DBS checked, if they offer overnight care options if, for example, you work nights.
Each provider has a personal profile where it tells you all about their qualifications, specialist skills, a little bit about their personality and the service they offer and there is also a really handy grid timetable at the bottom clearly showing their current availability. What I particularly like is the section for reviews, where other parents can rate and share their experiences about that particular provider. So you get to see some honest feedback on how other parents have found the service.
As a parent looking for childcare, you can also create your own profile about your child and the kind of services you are looking for and use this to advertise that you are looking for childcare. I did this when I was looking for a childminder and several contacted me, to say they could accommodate the hours and requirements I was looking for. Which also makes the search that bit easier. I went on to find the right childminder for us. After selecting a short list of 3 people I went to meet them face to face and see who I felt was the best fit for my child and I. My advice here is that you will know in your gut which is right, but prepare a list of questions to ask before you go.
To date, since the arrival of my eldest, who is now 6 years old. As we have no family local, my husband and I have had very few date nights. So I can actually see the babysitting service on Childcare.co.uk being really useful. I did a search on my postcode to see what babysitters there were locally, what skills they had. But I like the fact I can create a profile too, which means I can explain we have a large dog and find babysitters who will not mind having her in the house too. Another useful tool on the website, is the ability to compare the costs of childcare in your local area so you can see what a competitive price is.
This really is such a useful tool for parents and professionals in the childcare sector alike. If you need to find a childcare provision in your local area, definitely check out childcare.co.uk.