Friday, 12 June 2020

Choosing your Childcare with Childcare.co.uk



{This is a collaborative post}

Ensuring that your children are well looked after is one of the biggest worries for working parents. I remember when I was pregnant with JJ nearly 17 years ago and I was all set to go back to my high-flying career, where I worked crazy long hours and commuted 30 miles each way. Then came the reality of him being born and looking at childcare options that would suit our family, and it really wasn't easy finding the right option that would allow me to commute, work late and have some flexibility.

Using Childcare.co.uk


How I wish the website childcare.co.uk has been around then, to help me see clearly that there were more options open to me than I realised. It is such a great resource that over 2 million people have used since it was set up in 2009, and I find it reassuring that it has been around for over a decade now, so I know that it is reputable. Childcare.co.uk is the UK's largest online community of parents, childcare providers, household helpers, schools and private tutors. You can use the website to find all forms of childcare - babysitters, registered childminders, nannies, private tutors and nurseries.

I did a quick search on my old address to see what options would be open to me if I was now seeking to get JJ looked after and I was astounded to see there are 535 childcare options with a 5-mile radius of my address in Hertfordshire. In truth, this could feel a little daunting, so I was glad to see that I could filter the results to show the aspects important to me, such as those with a DBS certificate or first aid training, or perhaps those who have experience with children with special needs, are purely male or female carers and more. There are lots of options, which is great.


I could also sort my results (at the bottom of the search page) by the highest rated childcare provider, who is the nearest to my home, who has a photo (and thus gives me peace of mind) or who has logged in recently and is, therefore, is an engaged user of the site.

It was super easy to do this initial search without registering, nor giving any specific information about me. However, once I want to start to contact potential providers, I do need to register and that was easy and quick and I like the fact that I real person checks my profile before it goes live on the site.

Once my profile is live and thus my childcare needs are known, potential providers can contact me, or if I want to be more proactive (or time is tight) then I can upgrade to be a paid gold member and gain access to direct contact details for the childcare providers I have shortlisted as suiting my needs.


What I like about Childcare.co.uk


  • It's quick and easy to register for a free account
  • You can find both long-term and one-off childcare 
  • The search facility is intuitive and easy to use
  • You can easily see if the childcare provider is Ofsted registered and if they have not uploaded their certificate, you are advised of this and recommended to ask to see it at the interview stage
  • It's free for childcare providers to register on the site and as such you get a great variety
  • You can read reviews for users of that childcarer, so you get a true picture and a valuable recommendation
  • You get advised who has looked at your profile and you can message them if you're interested in their service
  • There is a messaging system within the platform so that we don't have to share personal contact details until we feel more sure we wish to progress the relationship
  • There is an app for both iOS and Android if you prefer to search and communicate in that way
  • Option for paid gold membership, that you receive a Tastecard and Kids Pass free with, so you can message all members and access loads of great discounts on restaurants, cinemas and days out. Paid fortnightly or monthly and you can cancel as soon as you've found the right childcare provider for you.


Using Childcare.co.uk for Emergency Childcare


In light of the current coronavirus situation, it is imperative that you can find emergency childcare at times, as your current provider may become ill or have to self-isolate due to someone in the family being symptomatic. Childcare.co.uk is great for this, as you can upload your profile request letting the providers on the platform know what you need and they can get in touch with you quickly and offer their services, or as a gold member, you can get the direct contact details for the people you'd like to contact.

There is even a filter at the moment for 'Corona helpers' and also for childcare providers who are offering free places for the children of NHS emergency workers or who can take the children of key workers.


Loads of Useful Information


Definitely check out the Help and Advice page as there are so many useful articles that will help you loads in your search for the right childcare provider. When JJ was born I didn't even bother looking at the option of a Nanny as I assumed it would be complex and I wouldn't have been able to afford it, but I now see that if I had done some reading up, it could have been a really good option for me.

There really is a wide range of information available on each different type of childcare provider, about how to choose the right provider for you, thinking about summer provision, suggested pay rates and sample contracts, and even general parents guides. With topics such as coping with tantrums, bedwetting and ditching the dummy, to name just a few.

In all, I think childcare.co.uk looks like a great place to find a new childcare provider for your child or children and I wish it had been about when I was seeking care for my kids.




 

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