The Childcare Chapter

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Once upon a time I naively thought I might not need childcare. When Freya was six months old I decided to leave my full time writer role and work from home freelance. I had several visions. The main one was me sitting at my computer in a sunny, tidy room (this bit’s not unlike Carrie Bradshaw in SATC) I’m impeccably dressed and my baby is rocking sweetly in her bouncer, or maybe building bricks on her play mat. It’s a serene scene. The reality is a bit different. Here’s a window to our world: Me typing furiously on my computer in a room strewn with toys as I call over my shoulder, “Freya…no, not the plug socket!” and “Freya, not in the bathroom, nooo don’t put teddy down the toilet!” I’ll admit I’m not exactly living the dream, in fact I’m completely frazzled and my toddler is in need of stimulation.

So, I’ve made the hard decision to sign Freya up at a childcare nursery. Although it turns out that’s actually not the hard bit. Picking the right childcare is a baby minefield, and you’ve got to be focused to survive. First it’s important to decide which kind of childcare you’d like – whether it’s a child minder, day care nursery or a nanny (I went for a nursery). Then you need to find the local providers in your area (see some web links below for help) and it’s a good idea to check out their reviews and Ofsted reports. Then you need to call them to find out if they’ve got space and arrange to have a look around. You may well find at this point it would have been a good idea to be on a waiting list when your baby was still in the womb, but don’t be put off! Once you find a well-recommended nursery with a space, then it’s time to counter in details like admin fees and deposits. And then, when you’ve done all of that, you’ve got to jump the biggest hurdle of them all. Handing your baby over for the first time.

We have found a really lovely nursery nearby where I’m confident Freya will play, grow and learn and next week we start our five days of “settling in.” At the moment I’m on the verge of tears every time I think about it…so I’m not sure whether this is for her or me! Here are some of the websites which helped me in my search…

The Daycare Trust is a national childcare which provides information on daycare and campaigns for affordable childcare for all.

Childcare.co.uk is a website matching parents to all kinds of childcare from babysitters to au pairs, and there’s a postcode search engine.

Childcarelink.gov.uk – will direct you to the services your local authority provides

About freyablog

I am Freya's mummy and a freelance writer living in Hither Green, London.

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