It’s important to explore the options when looking into childcare. Ask potential caregivers the right questions. This includes what their policy on internet use for older children. Jo Wiltshire is a parenting expert at childcare.co.uk. She shares her top tips.
After-school nannies and childminders assist families with after school collections and look after their child until Mum or Dad get home. A childminder will bring the child to their home. A childminder will go to the child’s home. Both can help with homework, reading and evening meals.
“See the setting and adults through the eyes of your child”
After school clubs
If your child is over 4 years old, extended schools are a great option if you need to provide wrap-around care. Extended schools help parents manage work and family obligations while offering support for their children’s studies and a wider range of interests and experiences. Check out the schools in your area to see what they offer.
These tips will help you choose the best childcare provider for you once you have decided on your after-school care.
- You should visit the place. If you have chosen a childminder’s home, make sure to visit it. You should visit when there are other children there and not during the night. Take a look at the children. Are they happy, clean, and confident? Is the childminder friendly and welcoming? Is the environment bright and clean, with evidence of outside play and safe places to wash and use the toilet, and food? Are toys clean and new? Do you have books, paper and pencils? Are they building toys, role play toys and stimulating colours? Are you able to relax for hours?
- Ask questions. Your potential caregiver and any family members or friends who may have used them. It’s possible to spread the word by word of mouth – provided you are able to ignore personal grudges and disputes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the caregiver – they will gladly answer any question you throw at them. You can ask about their qualifications, discipline policies, and practicalities like providing food. Also, what is the best way to help someone who is sick? Ask them again if they don’t know or refuse to answer.
- Make your child feel safe and happy at every stage. Your child will see the environment and people in it through their eyes. Your child will not be concerned about records and policies, but they will be more interested in friendships, food and the feeling of being loved and secure in their environment.
- Double-check and check again. Do your research. To find out if the setting has been featured in local media, check the Ofsted report and take up references (at minimum two). Drop in unannounced if you’re using a childminder/after school club to see how things are when they’re not expecting. Do the children seem happy, clean, and well-occupied? You can ask to use the toilet so you can walk in areas that are less “prepped” for visitors. Although you may feel like a spy, if they don’t have anything to hide, it won’t be hard for you to catch them!
- Communication is important. These people will see your child many hours per week. They will be able to influence, teach and inspire them. They might witness many of the ‘firsts’ or key stages that your child achieves. You should have a strong bond with your child. It is essential that you can communicate with your child easily, warmly, and often. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your caregiver if you aren’t confident. No matter how impressive or beautiful the premises, they are worthless if the relationship isn’t working. Your gut instinct is the last box to check – communication is likely the key factor that will influence.
Parent Info’s advice is not necessarily the view of Parent Zone or NCACEOP. It is written by experts in their fields.