They say that raising a child takes a village, and anyone with a toddler is likely to agree! While working parents routinely need childcare, even families with a stay at home parent rely on external childcare at some point. If you have children, you’re expecting a baby or you’re planning to have a family in the future, it’s important to know what your childcare options are.
By having a strong support network around you, you can ensure that you have the help you need, as and when you require it. With this in mind, take a look at the childcare options you could use for toddlers in the UK:
Toddler Childcare Options in the UK
1. Day Nurseries
Nurseries typically care for children from birth right up to the age of five years old, so they’re ideal if you’re looking for a long-term childcare option. Private nurseries, local authority nurseries and even workplace nurseries are all available, but you’ll need to check your local area to find how many are situated close by.
It’s worth noting that reputable day nurseries can have long waiting lists and the facilities at each nursery do vary. If you’ve got your heart set on your child attending a particular nursery in your area, be sure to talk to them early on and find out how long their waiting list is.
A nanny is typically employed by a family to take care of one or more children. Some nannies work on a live-in basis, while others live-out and only visit your home when they’re taking care of your children. Although this can be a great option when you want to access flexible childcare, it can be expensive. Furthermore, parents are required to adhere to relevant employment regulations when they hire a nanny.
Childminders tend to be self-employed and take care of children in their own homes. In most cases, a childminder will look after numerous children at once, although there are limits on how many kids they can care for at one time.
If you’re considering using a childminder, do check that they’re registered with the relevant body and that their certificates are all up to date. Again, reliable childminders are in high demand, so there can be lengthy waiting lists involved.
4. Au Pair
Au pairs tend to be foreign students who want to spend time in the UK and there are many agencies that can help you to find the right person. You will need to provide your au pair with board, food, and pocket money, although individual contracts are negotiable. Some au pairs have childcare experience or qualifications, while others don’t. Typically, au pairs only stay with their host familiars for a matter of months, so this might be a viable option if you’re looking for short to medium-term assistance with childcare.
5. Family and Friends
If you have family members or close friends living nearby, they might be happy to help you out with childcare on a regular basis. If you pay them for their services, however, they will need to register as a childminder. If they offer childcare on an ad hoc, informal basis and there’s no payment involved, however, then it can be an easy way for your nearest and dearest to give you the practical help you need.
Financing Your Toddler’s Childcare
If you’re relying on a nursery, nanny or childminder to provide childcare for your toddler, you’ll soon see how quickly the cost can add up. Although parents are entitled to support with childcare costs, the fees often exceed the grants or free childcare hours you’re able to claim.
Before you decide which childcare options are viable for your family, be sure to consider the financial implications. This guide for parents from newhorizons.co.uk makes it easy to see just how much your budget will increase as your child grows. Fortunately, finance credit can be an effective way to manage your increased expenditure. With access to hundreds of quotes, New Horizons makes it easy to see what your options are when it comes to loans and credit. With a simple search, you can find out just how much you’re able to borrow in seconds.
Finding the Best Childcare for Your Family
When your child is being cared for by anyone else, you’ll want to ensure they’re safe and happy. Furthermore, you’ll need to know that your childcare arrangements are reliable and unlikely to change without advance warning.
Finding the right childcare option can make family life far easier to manage, so be sure to take your time and consider all the options. By visiting local childcare centres, talking to other parents and even interviewing potential childminders and nannies, you’ll get a good insight into which type of childcare is the right fit for your family.