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First time mum needs childcare advice

(8 Posts)
camel87 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:10:02

Hi all I am new to mumsnet and a first time mum. I had my DD in January last year so she is nearly two now. I was due to return to my retail job in January last year but a few months before that, whilst still on maternity, I decided that I did not want to move up in the company so decided to hand in my notice. Recently I have decided to start job searching again as the DD is much older now and I would feel comfortable leaving her at nursery. I am a single mother and don't really have access to a lot of advice from mothers in my position - that is being a single parent without friends, family and/or a partner readily available or willing to help with childcare - so I am here asking three questions that are really bugging me.

The first is I am only in the job searching stage so do I register and/or start looking for childcare now or after I have been offered a job?

In relation to the first question, how long do I need to leave for nursery searching and, with that in mind, can I apply for immediate start jobs or should I say I need notice (eg. 2 weeks, 3 weeks, etc)?

My final and related question is: does anybody know of any reputable registered nurseries in Croydon (preferably South Norwood) that offer late opening and/or weekend hours? There are a lot of jobs I could do but I am put off from applying because an essential requirement is to be able to work some evenings and weekends.

Thanks in advance for any replies smile

JackThePumpkinKing Tue 13-Nov-12 14:22:02

I would definitely recommend having childcare in place before you start interviewing for positions. Its worth having a look around nurseries and speaking to their managers. Find out what their policies are, find out if they need a definite start date or if that can be a little bit flexible.
I was able to find somewhere that had a place, and then give them a very rough start date of about a month away - if I hadn't taken the space I would have lost my deposit (about 35) but it was worth it to have the space reserved tbh.

It will be a plus when you interview to be able to say that you have childcare in place as well, and it's better to ask the nursery/childminder to be flexible than a prospective employer smile

camel87 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:34:16

Hello JackThePumpkinKing,
Thanks for the prompt reply. I am a worrier and like to be organised so these things have been bothering me for some time. Having childcare in place before interviewing is what I thought I should do so thanks for confirming that for me. And yes, now that you mention it it does make sense to ask the childcare provider to be flexible rather than the prospective employer.

Well, as of tomorrow I shall start ringing up places and organising viewings and take your advice to discuss their deposits, start dates, policies, etc.

Thanks again smile

JackThePumpkinKing Tue 13-Nov-12 14:41:33

smile No problem.

It will largely depend on how each nursery runs. Some can be very strict, some are more flexible. Childminders are probably more likely to be flexible, and may be able to do better hours for you - nurseries are obviously very rigid in their opening hours, whereas a childminder is more likely to be able to have your DD until 6:15pm for example.

When looking at nurseries check opening times, whether they open for bank holidays etc, whether you'll be charged for bank holidays if they're not open (many do).

Also, looking to the future, check that any nursery will take the childcare vouchers. Your DD will be entitled to 15 hours free a week the term after her 3rd birthday, so check that places can use these hours.

camel87 Tue 13-Nov-12 15:03:33

Hmm the childminder thing is one I'm not too sure about since my research shows that although, like you say, they tend to be more flexible, in some ways they can be more unreliable. For example if the childminder is sick I would be stuck with no alternative childcare. I guess I'll have to work that one out and make a choice.

Your last piece of advice is very good to know since I'm only looking for part time work atm and don't plan on going to full time until DD starts school and/or I work my way up to a significant salary.

Thanks for the great advice I know what to do now smile

ChunkyStu Sun 18-Nov-12 18:17:22

I know a childminder in your specified area that takes children from 7am till 6pm (though 7am till 8am counts as unsocial hours and it is therefore double the usual rate for that one hour). However, I don't know if she would be able to do weekends. My son has been with her for 3+ years, and I am very happy with how it has worked out. PM me if you would like her details.

BackforGood Sun 18-Nov-12 23:11:22

What research ??? hmm
Not my experience at all. I'm not a CM, but have used a few over the years and would suggest that is clearly untrue!

Goldmandra Mon 19-Nov-12 09:00:29

Most childminders have a reciprocal arrangement with another one nearby which means they cover for each other if one is off due to sickness. It is a system which usually works very well.

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