All the pro’s and con’s of the different options available to you

Part of the immediate stress of an imminent return to work is childcare. Will s/he settle in? Will they look after my child as I’d like them to? Can it fit with my work schedule?

“Both of my children took to childcare very differently, and so I think it’s hard to predict how well your child may or may not take to it.”

All you can do is take comfort that you’ve done everything you can to make the right decision and taken the time to settle them in properly. It’s also worth saying here that it pays to start your search for childcare early, especially if you are likely to take the nursery route. Getting the days you need, when you need them can be tricky, so there’s no harm sitting on a few waiting lists ahead of making a firm decision.



  1. Socialising with other children continually/ becoming independent

  2. Forced to learn to share

  3. Can offer varied food choices

  4. All carers are already referenced and checked

  5. Open pretty much year-round – not dictated by an individual’s holidays

  6. Good, regular developmental reviews

  7. Often (but not always, good) photo/info sharing sites

  8. Can provide varied activities

  9. Not impacted if your key carer is unwell

  10. Can use childcare vouchers & free hours (although don’t assume an hour means 1 free hour in every location)


  1. Can’t choose your own key carer

  2. Staff can come and go

  3. Child is not cared for on a 121 basis – sometimes nappy changes etc can be delayed/over looked

  4. Often fined when you’re late

  5. Bigger personalities may get more of the carers time



  1. Socialising with 1 or 2 other children regularly (albeit probably at different ages) (depending on the childminders other commitments)

  2. Forced to learn to share

  3. Can pick the person who is specifically caring for your child

  4. Depending on the childminder they can often offer more flexibility for pick-up etc. than might be available from a nursery.

  5. Benefits of developmental reviews and keeping parents updated with photos etc. will depend entirely on the childminder

  6. Food can be tailored to your child’s likes and dislikes


  1. Need to arrange childcare to cover carers holiday

  2. Child is normally not cared for on a 121 basis – sometimes nappy changes etc can be delayed/over-looked

  3. Food is only as good as the carer’s ability – likely to be less varied than a nursery

  4. May be fined when you’re late

  5. Bigger personalities may get more of the carers time

  6. Need to work out cover when your carer is sick

  7. Will need to get your own references

  8. May/may not be able to use vouchers/free hours



  1. 1-2-1 care

  2. You can control a lot of your child’s commitments and tailor to their needs and interests

  3. Can structure the arrangement around your own commitments

  4. Works well with siblings

  5. You can choose your child’s carer

  6. Should have a comprehensive understanding of what they’ve been up to

  7. They can become part of the family

  8. Naps etc. can be easier in their own bed


  1. You need to set up as an employer and deal with everything that involves (Taxes, pension etc.)

  2. It is likely to be more expensive than nursery or a childminder

  3. You need to reference check

  4. You will need to be flexible around sickness and holiday

  5. Not forced to socialise as much as in other scenarios

  6. Can become very home-bound

  7. Their food is only as good as your Nanny’s ability

  8. Updates on development tend to be very informal

  9. You need to buy and plan all their meals

  10. Your home is not your own – if you choose to take a day ff work the likelihood is that you won’t be able to have your house to yourself

So with all that in mind here are some things to consider when selecting a nursery/carer and questions to ask:

1) What is your ethos when it comes to childcare and development?

2) If children are being naughty how is it handled?

3) How do you keep parents informed with their child’s activities and developmental


4) What is your approach to food/snacks & napping? How flexible can this be?

5) When does the nursery close for holidays/ how often/when do you go on holiday?

6) How many children will be in my child’s class/ in your care?

7) What activities are available to them?

8) How much can they be outside?

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