Childcare and the changing needs over time

Finding the right childcare is a rollercoaster ride, it changes direction every few years as your child grows up, or a sibling comes along, and you have to rethink your childcare needs as different childcare is needed at different milestones in your child’s life.

pregnancy1

Babies

When you have a baby, it can be incredibly daunting. Many families don’t have family close by, like they used to in generations gone by. A maternity nanny is a good options to help in the early days. Maternity nannies can be found through an agency and are a godsend. They normally come and live with you for the first few weeks of your baby’s life, and are there to help, guide, support and care for you and your baby.

Going back to work

Baby Shot baby show

If you decide to go back to work when your baby is still quite young, then you have to decide what childcare option best suits you. Consider how much you are willing to pay for childcare and what would be best for your child – would he or she thrive in one to one care, or prefer more social interaction with other children? Here are some of the options:

Nursery: advantages of choosing a nursery: a) it tends to be cheaper than a nanny; b) your child can socialise with other children; and c) they will concentrate not just on fun, but also on building good learning foundations for your child.

Childminder: The advantages are that your child will be cared for within a home rather than a much larger nursery space, but will still benefit from interacting with other children. Choose your childminder carefully and get recommendations from friends in your area. Take a good look at their home, and learn about the other children in their charge. I.e. if they have lots of school age children, it could mean your child gets more one to one care during the day, but they may be ferried around in a car during drop off and pick up.

Nanny: the great thing about nannies is the flexibility – you are not restricted to nursery opening hours, and therefore if you work long hours a nanny is a very good option. They can be part time or full time, live out or live in depending on your needs. They are obviously the best option if you are looking for one to one care.

Baby number 2

If you have been putting your child through nursery, and a second baby comes along, it is often more convenient to have both children in one place an under the care of one person. More and more working parents move towards a nanny when they have baby number two. For those looking for a more social setting but with added flexibility, there is always the option of a Nannyshare.

Starting School

Out of school care is a difficult one due to mid-afternoon pick-ups and long school holidays, none of which are conducive to work. This may be a time to consider a childminder, who can do the school drop off and pick up and serve tea, and who can also care for your child in the holidays. Or see if the school or local nurseries offer before and after school clubs. Otherwise a before and after school nanny who can cover holidays is often the most flexible answer.

Schoolchildren doing FunMats project (low res)
The older years

As your child gets older, there is less of a need for childcare, but if you’re a working parent, that need never completely goes away. At these later stages in their lives, you may consider getting an au pair, but that only works if you have the space in your house for them to live. The holidays are the real challenge. Check out any clubs that are running in your area, or consider getting a temporary nanny.

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