Returning to work? Or just need the odd bit of childcare here or there? Worried about who is suitable to look after your baby? Family and friends are likely to be the people you look to first of all. They know your baby and they know you and how you parent your baby. But family and friends aren’t always able to give continued help so now you may be looking for childcare outside of your familiar circle of carers.
It is worth looking for childcare well in advance of when you may need it. This will give you a chance to look around for the different types of care available, the times you can use them and, most importantly, the cost.
It is also worthwhile writing up a list of questions to ask them about their views on parenting and specifically breastfeeding as how they handle your expressed breastmilk and feed it to your baby is important to know. You want to have a carer who has the same or very similar views on your style of parenting. To have someone who is completely opposite in thought on parenting to yourself may perhaps make you unsure of using them but more importantly it could confuse your baby and make their separation from you harder. Your baby’s normal development includes learning that it is ok for mummy to go and come back. Your baby may find it difficult to accept separation anxiety and may not be able to get through this normal developmental stage if he becomes confused.
Ask each childcare provider to provide you with the following:
- Their registration certificate (Ofsted in England, CCSIW in Wales and The Care Commission in Scotland). For some childcare occupations registrations are voluntary but is considered good practice. If you claim tax credit against your childcare cost then your childcare provider must register
- Their inspection reports which you can ask to see
- You can also ask for details of any complaints made against them personally or the facility
- A disclosure and barring service (DBS) check or a protecting vulnerable groups (PVG) scheme check as all childcare occupations should have either one of these that you can ask to see. As an employer you can either see their paper copy or if they have signed up to the governments online service you will be able to make an initial check and then random checks throughout the year
- If your child carer is going to drive with your baby/children make sure that they are correctly insured, have up to date MOT and tax, a clean driving license and importantly vehicle breakdown cover
- Proof of identity – ask to see 2 sets of proof of identity including: passport, driving license, birth certificate plus a utility bill dated within 30 days of when you see it. You may also want to check visa and work permit are in date.
- If you child carer is non-British citizen there are rules you can check on the HMRC website
- You could also check out your child carer through social media
- Check your child carers job qualifications also any others such as paediatric first aid. Ask to see their continued professional development folder and ask them questions about its contents
- References are very important and you should try to contact the person writing the reference if you can – preferably by phone
- Individual child carers may also have their own policies – you could ask to see these as well
- Childcare.co.uk is a good place to start looking into the type of child care you want and how to go about making sure you get the right childcare for you and your baby
It is worth researching different child care providers and it is not wrong to ask questions – after all they are going to look after your child and you want that to be as close to your parenting styles as possible. You are likely to find someone with the same or similar philosophy as you do toward parenting. This will help your baby to settle with this new carer.