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how soon to start search for childminder

(4 Posts)
cogitosum Thu 10-Oct-13 13:32:26

ds is 11 weeks. I'm probably going back to work at the beginning of April but would like to have childcare in place from March so I'm comfortable with it before going back to work. I have pretty much ecided I'd like to use a childminder and ideally one who'll take him to groups etc and potentially a nursery from about 2

Should I start looking now? What's the best way to start searching. I've been on childcare.co.uk - is it worth paying the fee to send messages? My LA (Kent) have a search facility and provides phones numbers. Is it too soon to start phoning. I'd like to meet a few - is this normal?

minderjinx Thu 10-Oct-13 14:12:41

I think it would be fine to start looking now, though bear in mind that if someone you like has a place available now, they may not be willing to promise it that far ahead, or may ask you to pay a fee to retain it.

As for whether it is worth the fee to register with childcare.co.uk, I think that depends how many local childminders they have registered. Have a look and see who is on there, and who has logged on recently. Most childminders will be on the council list, but that may not tell you who is actively seeking families (i.e. have place/s), whereas if childminders are logging on to childcare.co.uk regularly, it is probably because they have a space or know they have one coming up. Regardless of whether you judge it is worth paying to register yourself, you will almost certainly get a better response from childminders if you are quite specific about what days/hours you are looking for and make sure you give the age and gender of your child - as CMs may well be looking at how well a new child might fit with their current mix.

DIYapprentice Thu 10-Oct-13 17:17:17

Unless it's a September start, when a CM will likely have children leaving to go to school, I wouldn't plan a place that far ahead.

By all means, do your research now, though.

What you might find, however, is someone who is in the process of becoming a CM. If they are a few months away from finishing the process they might be willing to book a firm place for you - it can take awhile for them to become full so a gamble worth taking, I would assume. I'm guessing best place will be advertising childcare.co.uk, or the local pages on here, or on Netmums.

MUM2BLESS Thu 10-Oct-13 21:33:14

You can to look around and plan ahead. but be aware that if you find the right c.m. you have to pay a retainer to keep that place secure.

I think around January time would be okay.

childcare.co.uk is an excellent place to start. as DIYapprentice mentioned

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