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First time parents and childcare

(7 Posts)
CannonPark Thu 20-Nov-14 12:32:06

Hi there,

This is my first post so please be gentle with what I know is a very broad and general question :-)

We are expecting our first child and I want to be as organised as possible! I think we have most bases covered in terms of knowing what to expect but there is one issue that is keeping me awake a little at night and that's childcare.

We live in North London and moved away from our friends and family almost 10 years ago. whilst we are all still very close and see family regularly we will be on our own in this sense which we always knew would be the case.

My wife will be taking approx 7-8 months off work and we are at least lucky enough that our employers are flexible enough for us to each work one day from home per week meaning that we will only require 3 days per week in terms of childcare.

As I'm totally new to this I'm not sure as to whether nurseries actually accept children so young. Is this the case or would it have to be a child minder? Is there anywhere I can look in terms of knowing the differences? Is one more expensive than the other etc?

Our employers both provide childcare vouchers and we were hoping to take advantage of those too.

Any thoughts or signposting at this stage would be very welcome

HappyAsASandboy Thu 20-Nov-14 12:55:34

The answer to your question about nurseries is simple - yes, they take babies at 7/8 months smile Most will take them from 3 months, and some will take them younger than that.

I think I have to comment on your WFH plans though. I work from home one day per week, and have done for two years or so.

Firstly, it is impossible to work from home and actually achieve a day's work if you have children at home. It is possible to monitor emails, reply to emails that don't require any thought etc, but phone calls and actual sit-down-and-concentrate work are impossible until your child is asleep. So you may get a couple of hours (probably 2 hours) during the day, and then after 8pm ish (if you've already eaten before child goes to bed) to actually work.

Secondly, if you make this an official agreement with your employer then they will almost certainly make childcare a condition of working from home. I use a mixture of nursery and my mum caring for my DC, and keep records of who had the children while I was working so that I can satisfy my employer that I didn't have sole charge of DCs while working from home.

The only way working from home is going to save you two days childcare is if your employers don't mind you either doing a half-arsed job, or if you can make up hours at the weekend when the other parent can look after the children. If you and your partner both do this though, then you'll have very little time together as a complete family as one of you will be working every day.

I hope you find a solution that works for your family smile

Cindy34 Thu 20-Nov-14 13:10:41

New scheme will replace childcare vouchers in Sept 2015 but vouchers will exist for those already in that scheme. So specific date may be important as depending on Date of Birth and length of maternity leave after that may determine if you could get childcare vouchers or have to join the new scheme. In which month would you specifically be starting childcare?

Have yet to figure out which of the schemes is better for those with one child. It may depend on income, so are you both earning under 40k, over 40k each but under 150k combined?

Nursery is group based, your baby will be with varying numbers of other children of a similar age. Some nurseries have baby rooms for those under 1, others have rooms which are for under 2's and others are more open plan and combine things together, so children typically up to age 5.

Childminders care for a small number of children in a group, home based but probably go out and about the local area a bit, as you would do if you were a parent with varying aged children. Being at a childminders is like being in an extended family, there are older children there who may be a bit like brothers and sisters.

You are best to visit a few of each type to see what you prefer. Both will take babies from quite young, 3 months, but some may take from older and some may take younger. So always ask.

CannonPark Thu 20-Nov-14 13:53:46

Thank you both for your responses which are appreciated.

The WFH plans are not a worry for us although I absolutely take your point about getting things done. We currently work a day from home most weeks and are in positions where a days work can be delivered in short bursts or as you say on an evening if necessary.

Our current jobs are flexi time so don't require us to get child care as a condition of working from home. We could under our terms and conditions work our full working week hours in four days and take a day off if needed; which is likely to happen i'm sure.

Baby is due in May 2015 (I told you I wanted to be organised smile) but childcare may possibly start in January 2016 so we have birth in one camp and return to work technically in another though my wife is planning on taking all 10 keeping in touch days so will be in work from about September on occasion.

We are both just under the £40k salary cusp and hence lower rate tax payers.

Are there any sites I can check both child minders and nurseries on? Presumably the local authority website will have info about the latter?

Thanks again for your responses. Just speaking to those more experienced is a great help for me.

nannynick Thu 20-Nov-14 15:39:00

Local authority will have lists of all registered childcare. You can often call/email local authority Family Info Service for a list based on distance from postcode.

Greenfizzywater Fri 21-Nov-14 06:20:25

Whereabouts in N London are you? I have experience of using a couple of N London nurseries, do feel free to PM me if you don't want to make this info public.

CPtart Fri 21-Nov-14 07:19:26

Bear in mind nurseries IME, will only take babies on set days, they will not be willing to swap and change from week to week.
Also consider what you will do for childcare when your child is unwell. Who will stay home? My DC were constantly picking up bugs at nursery when young, I have many memories of me and DH having a stand off at the last minute as to who could take time off work with least hassle. In fact DS2 is 9 and we still have this problem!

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