Why should you choose a childminder?

Trusting someone else to care for your child isn't easy. What are the pros and cons of using a childminder?

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Pros of using a childminder

  • Childminders look after children in small groups their own home
  • Many childminders are flexible with their hours -a lifesaver if you work long, or unusual hours
  • They can offer drop-offs and pick-ups – collecting from school, pre-school classes or playgroups.
  • Childminders are often ‘plugged’ into the local community – taking children to playgroups, parks or libraries. In other words, all the places you’d take them yourself.
  • Your child builds up a consistent relationship with one caregiver – some studies suggest this is better for a small child’s psyschological health and stress levels, particularly the under-3s.
  • They provide consistency for parents too: they get to know your family’s needs, and you can develop a trusting long-term relationship.
  • They’re usually cheaper than hiring a nanny, while offering some similar benefits. However, unlike nannies they’re self-employed and look after their own tax and national insurance
  • Many are happy to care for children with special needs – for example, a learning or physical disability. They can often also accommodate special diets.
  • Minders may be more flexible if your child is unwell.
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Cons of using a childminder

  • If your childminder is sick or has an emergency, there’s no one else to rely on.
  • You may have to coordinate your holiday with theirs
  • Childminders often look after a range of ages simultaneously, which doesn’t appeal to everyone.
  • It may be tricky to monitor what your childminder is doing during the day – for example, if they’re letting children watch more TV than you’d like.
  • At the end or beginning of the day, your child may need to accompany the minder for pick-ups of older childen.
  • If there’s another child that’s difficult, or if the childminder is looking after her own children simultaneously, it’s possible your child will get less attention
  • Some parents prefer the formality of dealing with a nursery.

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