When looking for the right solution in terms of the right type of childcare it's easy to get a bit lost... especially new parents! Here is an overview of the different types of childcare possible. We hope it will help you in your search.
Occasional care for a one-time event. Romantic getaway, dinner party, cinema etc: the babysitter can look after your children at your home or a place you have decided together.
Need childcare for your kids regularly on weekends, after school etc... and at your house? You can use a student babysitter whose schedules are compatible or someone who's looking for a part-time job. An employment contract is established between you and your employee.
A childminder is officially registered by OFSTED with the right to look after children in their own home. They will also have a DSB check. There are different levels of courses that can be completed. With this option using a childminder gives you that extra peace of mind knowing the house has been passed as a safe environment for your children and they have some form of training.
A Nanny is someone directly employed by the family to provide childcare, normally for pre-school children in the family home. They can be either live-in or live-out according to the family's needs. They often travel with the family on holiday and can also be there for overnight care when the parents are away. A Nanny demands a higher salary than a 'babysitter' as they often have experience and qualifications and see this as their main profession. Nannies can also work for two families and ask for an increase in wage depending on the number of children. A fully trained top professional Nanny is often employed by the family soon after the child is born and often stays with the family for several years to bring up the child.
Two families who have decided to share a nanny to care for their children. They also share the nanny's salary and expenses. The nanny can care for the children from one or both of the parents homes.
Between 2 and a half months and 3 years, toddlers whose parents work can be accommodated in a creche. They are managed by qualified professionals. There are several types of creche: public/private, workplace creche etc.
The nursery welcomes children usually from 3 - 5yrs from a few hours to full time weekdays, on a regular or occasional basis. It allows mums to have a little free time and socialise or get back to work. Beware, some nurseries are asking you to register the baby from the sixth month of pregnancy!
When your child is of an age to join your local school it's become increasingly common for them to offer a breakfast and after school club that is often much cheaper than hiring a childminder. Check with the school what options they offer. You can arrange these extra hours of care occasionally or every weekday.
An Au pair is usually a young person wanting to discover a new culture and gain experience in learning English. It's common for students or people taking a gap year to spend the entire school year abroad living and working for the family. He/she normally stays within the family home unless you can provide accommodation close by. It's normally expected that the Au pair should work no more than 30hrs per week and this should be in exchange for room and board, transport costs as well as a reasonable allowance depending on hours - roughly between £70-£100 per week. The Au pair will be living as part of your family and you will both be expected to treat the experience as a cultural exchange, something that benefits both parties. If you want to employ an Au pair as a cheap childcare solution think first about how someone will feel moving to a new country and whether your family would work with someone living under the same roof. It's not a solution for everyone and shouldn't be chosen if you're not prepared to provide reasonable working conditions.
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