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Choosing Childcare Advice
5 useful tips for parents looking for childcare
Good Care Guide provides easy access to reviews of UK childcare providers:
We've partnered with the Family and Childcare Trust to provide information for parents looking for childcare. We hope you find these tips useful.
1) Think ahead of time about childcare
Some parents find suitable childcare as soon as they need it. But for others it may take several months of looking before you find somewhere that meets both your own and your child's needs.
Think about what you want and need from childcare and what kind of childcare best suits your needs. For example, do you need childcare in the evening, early morning or at weekends? Will you need additional childcare for school age children during school holidays?
More advice from Family and Childcare Trust: Different types of childcare
2) Read reviews of local childcare
Good Care Guide has details of all childcare providers near where you live or work, together with reviews from parents who have already used their services.
Your local Family Information Service (FIS) also provides information to parents, carers and others about local childcare and family services. They hold details of all registered childcare providers in your area, including nurseries, childminders, playgroups and more, depending on the service offered.
Get contact details for your local FIS using the link above, or by searching in your local phone book. For details of your local FIS in Wales, contact 0300 123 7777.
Notice boards in your local school(s), community centre or library may also include details of local childcare providers.
3) Visit local childcare providers
Visit several childcare settings and ask questions about the childcare they provide. It might help to take a friend and/or your child on the visits to help you decide.
More advice from Family and Childcare Trust: What to consider when visiting childcare settings
4) Check the quality of local childcare
Good Care Guide is the place to read reviews of childcare providers across the UK. Other parents' experiences of a childcare provider can be very useful.
Childcare providers should also be happy to put you in contact with other parents so that you can take up references about the service they provide. However, remember that what works for one family may not work for another.
You can also check the childcare provider's Ofsted report, from their Good Care Guide profile, or by visiting the Ofsted website.
More advice from Family and Childcare Trust: High quality childcare
5) What help with childcare costs is available?
Make sure you are getting all the financial assistance available to you to help you pay for your childcare costs. If you're a working parent you may get help through Working Tax Credit or employer-supported childcare, or if you are studying there may be help available from your college or training provider.
And don't miss out on free childcare - if your child is 3 or 4 years old, they are eligible for a free part-time early year's place of at least 15 hours a week in England and 10 hours a week in Wales. Some two-year-olds are also entitled to free early year's places.
More advice from Family and Childcare Trust: Paying for childcare