Childcare Options for the New Year

Childcare Options for the New Year

If you are going back to work in the New Year, one of the things you may be thinking about are childcare options for your children.

Nanny
Nannies provide one-to-one care for your child in your family home, which allows for plenty of stimulation for your child to develop. Having childcare at home allows your child to adjust more gradually to you returning to work, along with the familiarity of being at home with all their own toys and routines.  If you work long hours, a nanny can be flexible, as they can do the homework, dinner and bedtime. Although employing a nanny is expensive and you could look into the option of a nanny share with another family. If your nanny is Ofsted registered, you can use childcare vouchers to help offset the cost of paying for a nanny.

Childminder
Childminders are Ofsted registered and provide childcare from their homes.  The number of the children for each childminder varies, as it depends on the ages of children. It allows children to make friends with other children of different ages. Depending on the school your child attends, some childminders will also collect your child from school. This option is great for working parents with older children especially. Childminders are trained in the EYFS curriculum and also can support older children with their homework. One of the cons is that childminders do get booked in advance so spaces hard to obtain.

Nursery
Nurseries provide childcare in a group setting to children of a similar age group. The nursery staff are trained to create a fun environment for your child to play and develop, helping them gain confidence and social skills. The age range of nursery enrolment varies, starting from birth to 4 years old. Low income families may be eligible to claim tax credits, to help towards the cost of childcare. All 3-4 years old are eligible to 10-16 hours free childcare per week, which will also help to offset your childcare costs. One of the main cons is that if your child is sick, they cannot attend nursery. Also, nurseries have opening/closing hours and will also close for holiday periods.

Grandparents
Grandparents are a wonderful source of childcare, as you are leaving your child with a family member. Childcare would be at you’re your home or theirs, making it a familiar environment for children. They know the children well and it gives you peace of mind that the children are being taking care as per your instruction. Age or health of grandparents could be an issue, as some may find it hard to care for small children all week. Also, some grandparents may not be in a position to take the children out as much or have the social networks to allow for children to interact with other children of a similar age on a regular basis.

Mrs Manjit Shah, Director of Buttons Nanny Agency, December 2019

Childcare Options for the Summer Holidays

Childcare Options for the Summer Holidays

The summer holidays are a time of year that all children look forward to, however for parents it can prove to be stressful, as you need to make provisions for alternative childcare. There are a number of options that are available, however do need to be booked in advance as in some cases places are limited.

Nanny
Employing a nanny to cover the days you need childcare is very simple. A nanny can work to your schedule, from the comfort of your own home. They can take the children out for trips and excursion, do activities at home, as well as prepare meals and arrange bedtimes to your children’s routine. A nanny should have the relevant certificates and documentation ahead of employment and going through a nanny agency, ensures that this is taken care of.

Summer camps
Summer camps are a popular solution for parents, especially those for older children. They are usually based around a theme or sport and allow the children to learn a new skill, whilst making new friends. Times and prices differ for each camp so do some research beforehand.

Parents/Grandparents
If you are looking for a free childcare option, then parents and grandparents are the best option. The family know the schedule and the kids are taken care by people they know well. Parents have to juggle their own holiday allowance with their employer and in most case, leave won’t cover the entire school holidays. It can work in some cases, you just need to coordinate the diaries of all the family members involved.

Nurseries
Many nurseries offer childcare throughout the year for children up to 5 years old, covering all the school holidays. It’s a familiar setting for your child and you know the nursery staff well. Contact your nursery provider in advance to book your child’s place as they can be limited due to reduced staff numbers during these periods.

Childminder
During term times, childminders are a lifesaver for working parents – even if they just making sure your kids get to and from school. Some registered childminders do continue to work during the summer holidays and offer the same level of care. You can obtain the list of all registered childminders in your area from your Local Authority website.

Mrs Manjit Shah,  Director of Buttons Nanny Agency  www.buttonsnannyagency.com

Childcare Strategies for the Christmas Holidays

Childcare Strategies for the Christmas Holidays

1. Plan Ahead
When events come up, we tend to pop them in the diary and think we will sort out provisions at a later date. WRONG. Christmas is the busiest time as good babysitters are in demand and get booked fast. As soon as you have your event confirmed its time to think of the options you have available and secure them in your diary.

2. Childcare Options
a. Family
Family are a great option as your children will be familiar with them, which gives you added peace of mind. It’s a low/no cost option which makes it appealing however you need to book in advance to ensure they can take care of your children at the specific date and time you require. Another issue is that for some, you may be time conscious and not want to stay out too late.

b. Babysitters
Babysitters are hugely in demand at this time of the year. If you find yourself in a situation with no childcare then hire a babysitter. If your usual babysitter is booked then, try calling friends who are also parents as they too will have a few trustworthy babysitters numbers handy. If this fails, then try contacting a babysitting or nanny agency as they can assist you in finding a qualified childcare professional. All nannies have valid police check (DBS) undertaken against themselves and have a valid Paediatric First Certificate in place. References can also be contacted and make sure you see such documentation for your personal assurance.

c. Playdates/Sleepover
If you have very good friends then sharing the childcare between two families is a great way of helping each other out. The children would know each other and feel comfortable at the prospect of staying at their friend’s house and you know the other family well to know the kids would be taken care off. It’s a low cost option and means you aren’t time pressed to return home at a set time. It does mean you have to return the favour and may end up having double the amount of children to care for at some point – but its all good fun and the kids would enjoy it.

Mrs Manjit Shah, Director of Buttons Nanny Agency, Dec 2018

School Holidays…So What Are My childcare Options?

School Holidays…So What Are My childcare Options?

For working parents, a child being at school for the duration of the day means that their childcare is covered. However, the dilemma for a lot of parents is what to do during the school holidays – who will care for the kids? Childcare options can range from being relatively cheap, to ending up being a costly affair. There are a number of options available to parents:

Grandparents/family

This is a time when families step in and help out where they can. It’s a great opportunity for family members in particular grandparents to spend quality time with the grandkids as they may not get the chance during term time. It’s a cost effective option for many families and a popular option for many.

Hiring a temporary nanny

In recent years, more parents are opting for paid 1-2-1 childcare at home through the means of hiring a temporary nanny during the holidays. As with a permanent nanny, families would still meet and interview nannies prior to offering them the role. Using a professional nanny agency who have interviewed and vetted the nannies fully, ensures that families are meeting with high calibre, childcare professionals. Nannies would care for the children at the family’s home, take the children out on day trips, take the children to any of their sports activities during the week etc. Nannies would cook and prepare the children’s meals as well ensure that the home is tidy and well maintained. Nannies allow parents the flexibility of arranging childcare to their specific needs.

School holiday activity camps

The concept of holiday camps originates from the US, however tend to be more day camps rather than overnight stays. Summer camps can be either on a specific topic e.g. science camp, football camp etc or a generic camp which covers a range of activities during the day. Lunch is usually provided in the price. They allow children the opportunity to meet with other kids on a daily basis plus allows them to learn new skills. It’s worth researching which camps are operating in your local area or speaking to other parents if they have any recommendations.

Childminders

Local childminders are a huge asset and allow parents to drop off their children to a childminder and know that their child will be fully entertained. They provide all activities and work to a high standard ensuring that the children are doing age based activities, developing their skills. You can view all the registered childminders from your Local Authority website. Childminders do get booked up fast as the number of spaces available are limited, so it’s worth doing your reach early.

Manjit Shah, Director of Buttons Nanny Agency, May 2018

Nanny Share – A Flexible Childcare Option

NANNY SHARE – A FLEXIBLE CHILDCARE OPTION

What is a Nanny Share?

A nanny share is when you and another family share the costs and responsibilities of employing a nanny. It’s a good option if you want to employ a nanny but can’t afford the expense on your own.

The nanny would be employed on a daily basis and would look after your child and another family’s child in either of your homes. This may be at the same time, or each family may have different hours. Another option is that the nanny may live with one family, but also care for other children within that home.

Nanny shares work best when the two families involved know each other, as its important that you can place trust with the other family and their home is a safe environment for you to send your children to. If you would like to enter into a nanny share but seek another family to join up with, then you can ask around amongst friends, local nanny agencies, playgroups, nurseries or children’s centres.

Advantages of a Nanny Share?

  • It provides your children with the best of both worlds, as your child is receiving near 1-2-1 care from a nanny but has other children around for company and play, from the comfort of a home setting.
  • You have the flexibility of having a nanny however with lower costs
  • You can also negotiate more flexible hours with a nanny if your working hours vary or if you work evenings or weekends.

Disadvantages of a Nanny Share?

  • You may have difficulty finding another family willing to do a nanny share. Or finding a family who shares the same views as you on issues such as discipline, meal plans, learning and development for the kids etc.
  • Planning and coordinating interviews can prove tricky and should be done with both families. You and the other family should both feel completely comfortable with the nanny you employ.
  • Nanny shares can be complicated in terms of your responsibilities as an employer.
  • Its important to spend time with the other family as you will need to work out how much to pay the nanny and what benefits you will offer. If you haven’t employed anyone before, you’ll also need to understand the law regarding tax and pensions.

How to Make a Nanny Share Work?

  • One parent will need to be the main contact point for the nanny, as this prevents confusion for the nanny.
  • Before you start looking for a nanny, you need to agree on how the arrangement will work with the other family. Where will the nanny and children be based? Split between two homes or based at one family’s home?
  • Once you have found the right nanny, you will need to have a contract drawn up between you (employers) and the nanny (employee). It will need to cover the arrangements, schedules of work, hours of work, salary, rates of pay etc to prevent any misunderstandings.

Manjit Shah, Director of Buttons Nanny Agency, July 2017

The Modern Day Mary Poppins – A Guide to Employing a Nanny

The Modern Day Mary Poppins – A Guide to Employing a Nanny

Childcare is one of the key issues for all parents, especially when they decide to go back to work. There are 4 key options that parents are presented with – grandparents, childminder, nursery or a nanny. In recent years, the number of families opting to have a nanny care for their child has increased and it’s no longer deemed an elitist option.

What does a nanny do?

The primary benefit is that a nanny cares for your child in your own home. They provide one to one childcare, building on your child’s learning development as well as performing some light household chores.  They prepare the child’s meals, do the children’s laundry, ironing, take the child to any baby groups etc. For older children, they would take the children to school and collect them, help with their homework and take the children to playdates or after school activities. To have someone dedicated to the care and wellbeing of a child provides enormous peace of mind to any parent.

The Pros to having a nanny

Peace of mind – parents are able to go to work knowing that their child is safe and cared for at home with a trustworthy childcare professional

Emergencies – if your child is sick and can’t go to school/nursery or if you have to work late, then there is someone to take care of them even if you can’t.

One to one childcare – a nanny is there to focus on your child, which builds on the learning and development all in the comfort of your own home. The child is comfortable as they can still play with their own toys and you can maintain their routines.

Family – nannies do this as a career as they have a genuine passion for caring for children. They often become a member of the family and continue to stay in touch with the children once they have grown up.

The Cons to having a nanny

Costs – employing a nanny isn’t cheap, however if you know another family who are in a similar situation, then you could nanny share which reduces your costs. Also there is the option of childcare voucher scheme which some companies offer to employers. This will help offset your childcare costs when employing a nanny.

Paperwork – Essentially you would become the nannies employer which means it’s your responsibility to sort out their salary, tax and National Insurance. Most families use an accountant or a nanny payroll agency to take care of this.

What to look for in a nanny?

Most families choose a nanny agency to help them find a suitable candidate. Nanny agencies take away the stress of finding a nanny. They have interviewed the candidates, do all the relevant checks and thoroughly vet the nannies. They have a large database of nannies for any given area, so you know you are getting the best possible nanny CVs to view for your role. Nannies are also loyal to agencies, so they tend to go back to the same agency that found them a role, which means for some of the established agencies, they tend to have a full employment record for the nanny.

 

The key things you need to look for when employing a nanny is the following:

  • They must have a valid DBS (formerly known as CRB check)/Ofsted certificate in place.
  • checking CVs and references thoroughly
  • check if the nanny has any childcare qualifications

Manjit Shah, Buttons Nanny Agency, March 2016

New Year…New Childcare

New Year…New Childcare

Deciding which childcare options are best for your family

Nanny

Nannies provide one-to-one care for your child in your family home, which allows for plenty of attention and stimulation for your child to develop. Having childcare in your home allows your child to adjust more gradually to you returning to work along with the familiarity of being at home with all their own toys and routines.  If you work long hours, a nanny will be more flexible than other childcare providers as they can do the homework, dinner and bedtime. All nannies should have a valid police check undertaken on them (DBS) and would have a background in childcare. Although employing a nanny is expensive and you could look into the option of a nanny share with another family. If your nanny is Ofsted registered, you can use childcare vouchers to help offset the cost of paying for a nanny.

Nursery

Nurseries provide childcare in a group setting to children of a similar age group. The nursery staff are trained to create a fun and happy environment for your child to play and develop in a group. This can help them gain confidence and develop social skills. The age range of nursery enrolment varies from each nursery, starting from birth to 4 years old. If you’re on a low income, you may be able to claim tax credits to help towards the cost of childcare. All 3-4 years old are eligible to 10-16 hours free childcare per week, which will also help to offset your childcare costs. One of the main cons is that if your child is sick, they cannot attend nursery. Also, nurseries have opening and closing hours which is an issue if you work late. The nursery will also close for holiday periods, which means you would need to ensure you have alternative childcare options in case of any of these eventualities.

Childminder

Childminders are registered to care for only six children younger than 8 years old (including their own child). Only three of these should be 5 years old or younger, and only one should be under 1 year old. The number of children the childminder may have will be dependent on the size of her home and if she employs an assistant. As the children can be of varying age, it means your child would benefit from mixing with children of different ages. One of the main cons is not all childminders collect children from school/nursery. Childminders are inspected regularly to ensure that they provide good quality care.

Manjit Shah, Director of Buttons Nanny Agency, December 2016