When the time came to look into childcare options for my baby, Charles, now nine months, there only appeared to be two real options – nanny or nursery.
The nanny option I dismissed as being too expensive for us with only one child and after looking round a few local nurseries I concluded that, whilst they all had fantastic recommendations, I wasn’t sure this was the right route for us either.
It was only when my sister in law, a far more experienced mother of three, suggested a childminder – an option I wasn’t previously aware of – I began to see how it might just work for me when I went back to work.
I’ve been back at my job for a month now and couldn’t be happier with the arrangement
I’ve been back at my job for a month now and couldn’t be happier with the arrangement – and most importantly neither, it seems, could Charles who goes in and comes out with a big smile on his face.
I found Joanne on Wandsworth Council’s website – most councils have a list of registered childminders on their websites. She look after three children in total – Charles plus a three-year-old and four-year-old.
I pay her on a weekly basis but we’ve signed up for a 12 month contract which is the norm. It works out about half the price of a nursery which I find amazing given the care Charles gets – and in a home environment, which was important to me.
She doesn’t provide food though so I drop him off with a packed Annabel Karmel-type lunch and tea!
Here are some tips for choosing the right childminder for you and making it work:
Charles started going to her for a couple of hours a week from when he was 5 months old (even though I didn’t go back to work until he was 8 months old) and I think this made a huge difference in avoiding the dreaded separation anxiety – he got used to being at Joanne’s from such an early age he’s never complained about me leaving him there and seems to actively look forward to it.
(And those few hours to yourself once you start doing this are AMAZING).
Location, location location
Clearly choosing the right person is absolutely key but so is their location! If you can pick someone who lives between you and the station/tube/bus stop you use to get to work, this is going to make life so much easier and allow more time for breakfast and bath time!
Just one baby please!
If you can, choose a childminder who only looks after one baby (yours) at a time along with a couple of older children.
Babies are more work so this will mean she has more time for your precious bundle and can follow the routine you give her to the letter.
Go with your gut instinct
I liked Joanne as soon as I met her and instinctively knew she would be a good choice – on the other hand I met a couple of childminders who I knew weren’t for us. Trust your gut instinct, it’s normally right!