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How We Chose The Right Childcare Provider For Us


When it comes to returning to work after maternity leave, you are awash with so many emotions: guilt that you have to leave your little one; anxiety that you are doing the right thing returning to work and apprehension that you may have completely forgotten how to even do your job. The last thing you need is the added worry of how to find the perfect childcare on top of all of this.

I would always recommend trying to sort out childcare as early on as you possibly can, simply because places on nurseries fill up fast and once it’s sorted you don’t need to worry about it on those weeks leading up to your return to work which will be filled with worry and dread. (At least they were for me anyway!)

Nursery or childminder?

Picking a childcare provider is a very personal choice, each option comes with its own merits and downfalls. Throughout pregnancy and babyhood I had my mind set on a nursery local to us, but at the last minute after having a conversation with a work colleague I decided on a childminder and I’ve found that it’s been a great decision for us.

How to find the right person?

There are thousands of childminders out there and I needed to make sure I was picking the right person to look after my son for thirty five hours a week. One of the things that put me off about a childminder initially was that I thought anybody could register and there would not be the structure of learning and development like there would be in a nursery; but I soon found out I was wrong after reading that childminders are inspected by Oftsted just like schools and nurseries.

Childminders aren’t just registered with Ofsted though, they also undergo various background checks including CRB checks so people with anything dodgy in their pasts can’t be left to look after children.This also includes all the adults living in the home too. This gave me huge peace of mind.

I wanted Dexter to be in a homely environment as opposed to a structured setting and I envisaged him being welcomed into someone’s home and being treated like part of their extended family. I was put off by seeing young girls in my local area near to the nursery I had initially thought of putting Dexter in outside smoking, and I didn’t like the idea of having to deal with multiple people from one day to the next.

Google is my best friend and of course it was Google I turned to when I decided to look in the local area for a childminder. This is when I stumbled upon our childminder who was listed on the first page of Google (Thank you SEO!) I read with interest that she had recently been visited by Ofsted and been declared Outstanding in all areas. I actually wept as I read the report which stated “The quality of teaching provided by the childminder and her assistant is inspirational and worthy of dissemination. They have an excellent knowledge of child development and offer great learning opportunities that are fun and capture children’s interests.” 

The next worry I had was that this lady would not have any space, but after a few quick emails we arranged a visit and some settling in dates. We haven’t looked back since.

The right decision?

Dexter has been with his current childminder six months now and he has loved every single day he has spent there. Each week there is a theme and every morning is spent out and about in playgroups, int he woods or at the beach. The afternoons are made up with crafty activities and baking and there’s still enough time for three healthy and nutritious meals, snacks and a mid afternoon nap. I suppose the biggest downside to having a childminder instead of nursery is that if our childcare provider is sick, we have to find alternative childcare, which wouldn’t happen in a nursery. However, this hasn’t been an issue as of yet and we’ve been lucky that our holidays have coincided due to our term time only contract.

If you’re looking for childcare in the near future, it’s so important to weigh up all the pros and cons and come to a decision that works for you and your family. Just like children themselves, every situation and every family is different and what works for us might not necessarily work for you. Most of all, best of luck in your return to work and finding the right childcare provider for you.

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post

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28 Comments

  • Reply Abbie - Lilypad & Bow

    My mum has been a childminder her whole life and so I’ve been used to growing up with lots of young children around our family home for yearzs! There’s so many misconceptions about childminders, that they have no learning structure etc but it really is exactly the same as you would find at a nursery, even the amount of paper work they have to fill out and everything. My mum has a outstanding ofsted grade and people are often surprised when she says that as they had no idea that childminders are inspected by ofsted in the same way schools are. A childminder is a really good option for your child, as he is likely to receive more one on one time than he perhaps would in a busy nursery setting. So glad Dexter is settled and enjoying it, it definitely sounds like the right decision for you guys! x

    17th January 2018 at 12:42 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Thank you for sharing your experience Abbie, did you find it tough growing up with lots of other children around? I definitely agree that it feels more homely him being with a childminder in her home than a nursery setting. However as he hasn’t been in a nursery I suppose I can’t really make judgement and am slightly biased!

      21st January 2018 at 1:59 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    I have three children and I’ve used nurseries for my older two in the past (my youngest isn’t old enough yet for me to want to leave him!) I don’t know why but I never considered a childminder – I think as I have previously worked in nurseries I always felt drawn to them!
    Great post! Dex is lovely! X

    17th January 2018 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Jenna Newell

    I am so tempted to look into a childminder once aoife starts school – it would make getting to work so much easier as they could do the school drop off for me. x

    17th January 2018 at 2:03 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Childminders come in great for school drop offs and pick ups!

      21st January 2018 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply Jenni

    It’s so important to find the right childcare for you. I was so worried about finding a childcare provider for my daughter, I have even moved house so that my daughter can start at the nursery attached to the school that I want her to go to. I feel that was the right decision as she loves her nursery and I can see how amazing it is.

    17th January 2018 at 7:14 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Ah that’s great Jenni. It’s definitely worth the move to find the best childcare for your child. We hope to do the same this year.

      21st January 2018 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply Hannah | MakeDo&Push

    I’m so glad he’s having a ball! My son goes to nursery on a farm, but we searched and searched for the right place for him!! Other nurseries were so dark without much outdoor space xx

    18th January 2018 at 9:02 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      Oh, a nursery on a farm sounds so idyllic, I bet he LOVES it!

      21st January 2018 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply Claire @ The ladybirds adventures

    I found it so hard the first time to choose a nursery. I looked at 3 but I took ages to choose which one. Thankfully I’ve never looked back and it was so easy to sign my youngest up for the same nursery.

    18th January 2018 at 9:28 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      I’m glad you found a nursery that works for you. It’s great that when you have your second it’s another thing you don’t need to spend ages worrying about.

      21st January 2018 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Su Chanprasong

    It cannot be easy for mum’s with that guilty feeling of returning to work – let alone choosing childcare. Great post. #KCACOLS

    21st January 2018 at 1:11 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      It is certainly a mixed bag of emotions when you decide to return to work but luckily I am loving it which has been made easier by having a great childminder!

      21st January 2018 at 1:51 pm
  • Reply Becky @ Educating Roversi

    We’ve been so lucky with our childcare. Little L went to nursery and is now at ore-School. Both he loved/loves and adores the ladies that look after him. To be honest, I dont take a lot of notice of the OFSTED report and tend to go on a feeling.#KCACOLS

    22nd January 2018 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply Bread

    I think childminders are the way to go. Glad he’s enjoying his time there. #kcacols

    22nd January 2018 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply The Mummy Bubble

    I thought long and hard about what childcare we wanted for my first. In the end we went with a nursery as it was extremely convenient and has excellent Ofsted reports. However I think childminders are great too x #KCACOLS

    25th January 2018 at 11:10 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      That’s fantastic, it’s a huge decision and definitely one worth lots of thought and research!

      27th January 2018 at 3:04 pm
  • Reply Dani

    Whilst I’m a stay at home working mum I too will be making this decision for Eco and was initially drawn to a montessori nursery setting but after reading this I might just look into a childminder too and then make up my mind. I just find it hard to trust other (especially a stranger) to look after my young Son, it’s so hard isn’t it? x #KCACOLS

    1st February 2018 at 9:09 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      It’s one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as a working Mum. Good luck with finding the right place for Eco xx

      4th February 2018 at 11:30 am
  • Reply Laura | Dot Makes 4

    You’re so right that you have to weigh up everything when choosing the right childcare. We’re so lucky that we have an amazing nursery right near us.
    Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time 🙂

    1st February 2018 at 3:20 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Thanks Laura, and thanks for being a great co-host!

      4th February 2018 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Kelly | and Jacob makes three

    Interesting post. We went with nursery in the end, but I did consider a childminder. I think there’s no right answer really, as long as the little one is happy #KCACOLS

    1st February 2018 at 7:50 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      The little one being happy is definitely the most important factor!

      4th February 2018 at 11:28 am
  • Reply Veronica Lee

    So glad Dex is happy with his childminder.

    Choosing the right childcare provider is a big decision. We want our little ones to be comfortable and happy.

    #KCACOLS

    4th February 2018 at 2:57 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      That’s the most important thing isn’t it!

      4th February 2018 at 11:27 am
  • Reply Erika Parker

    Really good and useful advice. I’ll bear it in mind as I get nearer going back to work. Thanks.

    14th February 2018 at 9:01 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Great stuff. Good luck with your return to work Erika!

      17th February 2018 at 4:34 pm

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