I'll be going back to work in October, just after my boy turns one, and am just looking at childcare. We already know we want somewhere in the town where we live rather than the business park ten miles away where we both work, which narrows it down to two nurseries and several childminders.
I have listed in order of preference and plan to visit whichever ones have space, as well as the nicer of the two nurseries.
Any advice on what i should focus on and what is important? At the moment I want to ask about holiday or sickness cover but that's about it.
I say this on all the cm threads, but I would go with your instinct, prepare to visit all on your list and go with the setting you and your child feel most comfortable with. You will know when you have found the right person/place. I think it's good you are open minded as well about either nursery or childminder.
Although..... On my list was, do they provide food/snacks, and is there a separate charge, or do you. Example of activities they do in the day How many other children they care for Which school runs they do Sleeping arrangements for naps
Arrangements if they/you have to cancel (notice, pay, substitution, illness etc)
Only because I found out after the fact that my registered childminder had left all the kids with her non registered/qualified parents, at their presumably not childminding ready house while she went a smear test.
Then told me she would be available for childminding over Christmas so I would have to pay whether DS was there or not. When I said that would be most handy for Xmas shopping she suddenly wasn't available any more
I think I was just very unlucky, there were very few childminders in my area so it was the pick of a sucky bunch.
Also, ask in detail about their illness policy - what illnesses will they mind children with, what illnesses will they not mind children with, will they administer Calpol etc? Will they fill in a daily diary? Holidays / bank holidays / sickness (your DC's / them / their DCs).
How much 'stuff' will they do with your child if they have to? I mean things like dentist visits, hair dresser visits etc. This isn't necessarily a bad thing btw, it's good for your child to see dentist visits, you might be able to get your child's hair cut etc.
Do they do messy play? (Jelly, gluing etc) Do they have the tv on during the day? Do they take the children on trips (do they have a driving licence?) Will they provide you with a diary of what your child has done each day? How do they feel about overtime (if you get stuck in traffic for example.) Will they be happy to administer medicine to your child if he or she needs it?