searching for childcare

Searching for childcare ?

searching for childcare


Is your head spinning looking for a childminder? You are not alone!  I am going through this dilemma as i reluctantly plan to go back to work and hopefully excel at my job again.  Being on maternity leave for a year does obviously change the skillset (hopefully for the better!) but would things change drastically?  Will I remember or pick things up quickly? Can I handle working?

To accompany the fear of returning to work, I am also faced with the worries about being a working mummy.  I am being presented with utter guilt of leaving Joshua in someone else’s’ care.  I actually want to be there with him, to see all those amazing milestones that he will achieve.  Experiencing his firsts for activities will be shared with a stranger or family member but not I! So to add to the mix – I wanted to find the best environment for Joshua.

A home that he would develop and learn in, with enough space that he can cruise around and have fun, along with insurance of his safety.  With an array of questions, examining the childminders personality and capability becomes part of the quest to find the most suitable childminder.

I’ve got to say – I’m no expert but i have seen my fair share of childminders already.  And I have to be honest – there are some shocking childminders out there! How they get away with it – and charge – ludicrous! Martin, Joshua and I had met various childminders – to the point I was getting so fed up! How can one, not watch your potential client, in this instance Joshua and not notice he was playing with a sharp fork which was in the toy box which was put down infront of him?

No apology or haste to get it away from him.  How about a tiny room filled with 9 children! Or taking on friends children randomly without any planning? What about loads of toys of different ages being mixed? Would you like the childminder aggressively dumping your child on a sofa? Or saying no I don’t take the children out (even though there is no garden)?

You may think I’m picky but I want a home away from home style carer, whereby values, exploring, and caring are met. I understand it can be a bad day (we all have them), and I totally get that not 100% attention will be there as it needs to be shared amongst all the children.  However I want the best for my child, especially when I am paying for it – childcare is not cheap!

So when you see the childminder and her home, treat it like an interview.  Just as much as you are interrogating her, she will query about your child and you.  One of my childminder friends mentioned that it’s just as important to get on with the parents and for the child to fit in with the other children. Well said! I’m so happy with the one I found!

I’ve put together a quick list of a few questions to help you understand the childminders skills, along with helping you decide if they are suitable to your needs.  I hope it helps!

How to get there ?

Consider the travel journey of how easy it is to get there and to work. Would you need to leave the car or pram in the vicinity? Location is such a big part, especially if you have got to be at work at peak times and come back at peak times.


Is the price reasonable compared to others? Most childminders include meals and snacks.  Some even include trips.?  Are there any caveats – ie lateness, upfront costs, sickness costs?

What is the environment like?

Does it look clean to you? Is it safe for your child? Is there a decent amount of space for the total number of children on the day?

Attitude of childminder  

How comfortable are you with her?  How is she towards your child?  How does your child react with her? Is she nice?  Is she pushy? Is she stern? Is she strict

What is their availability?

Can she do the days that you require? How flexible in times is she? Is she going away/on holiday? Does she work during holiday seasons?

How do you provide insurance of safety?

Look around the place !

Childminders qualifications

Is she Ofsted registered? Are they doing any courses? What is the training they have done? Its great to know they are putting effort and learning new skills to look after your child. Where is their experience?

What activities do you provide?

Is there plenty of good quality toys, equipment and resources?

How do you discipline?

Are their policies and rules? Is positive methods used?

How do you support learning & development?

What type of interactions is used? Praise, encouragement and laughter? Are themes used? Are the activities engaging and able to develop the child? Is the Early Years Foundation Stage met?

Do you have a routine/follow a child’s routine?

Is the days planned and structured? Do you know where your child will be and what they will be doing?

How many children do you look after?

Childminders can care  for 6 children under 8 years old, along with only 1 under 1 year old.  Check on the days you would like how many they would look after and if you were happy with the age range.

Do my child and I feel comfortable?

Its so vital that both will get on!?

How do you keep me informed?

When dropping and picking up your child, sometimes these are rushed moments and there isn’t always time for a catchup.  How else can the childminder update you?  And in turn how can you update them?  Notebooks? Emails? Childcare app on phone?


Whats the process and what happens when either the childminder, your baby or other babies are sick on holiday?


Click below for your free printable!







what to pack in your hospital bag

What to pack in your hospital bag.



I highly recommend preparing your hospital bag early.  Can you imagine your partner, or family member trying to pack your bag whilst you are in hospital? At 33 weeks of pregnancy, this happened to me which is all described on my previous post A taste of what is due to happen.  Martin did well, I must add! But that’s with the help of knowing what to pack.  Then at 36 weeks I ended up in hospital again and gave birth to my little Joshua. Download the free printable at the bottom of the page. So here’s a helping hand:

Mum bag

Bag I found it helpful if the bag has wheels and pockets.  I’ve been moved to different rooms throughout the stay, etc – so it just made it easy to drag the bag rather than carry it.  When you have a big bump, and wobbling, you just need things to be easy peasy.

Pregnancy notes/birth plan Please please please carry your pregnancy notes everywhere you go.  You just never know when you need it.  Trust me!  It takes longer for doctors to check you if you don’t have them.  (Like me, you may just feel stupid not having them).  I actually had a great memory and remembered everything so when Martin went all the way back home from a different hospital (poor bloke) I was impressed with what I recalled.  However the doctors did need to read everything, so it did delay being examined.  As for the birth plan, it’s not imperative.  (Ours went completely out the window) but it is handy.  Your partner and doctors can try to do everything as close to your wishes for the birth.

Clothes  I cannot stress how comfortable clothing is needed- it’s a requirement.  Don’t bother with pretty tight little things!  You are stuck on a hospital bed before and after labour.  Obviously it’s great to walk around (if you can) but how you look is really not a priority. As long as you’re healthy and your baby is the cute munchkin, then no –one gives a crap about your looks. Your vagina or your stomach may be in agony too. Comfy clothing ladies! Breastfeeding? Then accessible to boob clothes are key – ie vests, and nursing bras.  .

Straws I was incapable of holding a drink during labour so Martin gave me water through a straw.  Then afterwards, when you are holding your little bubba or feeding him and your lips are quenching for a drop of water – your partner can help with the straw!

Maternity pads The docs actually provide this for you but if you are longer than a day or 2, you are kind of expected to have your own.  Plus you don’t want to be in that awkward situation where you need to change but have to wait for them to give you some.

Throw/Pillow Of course the hospital has these but having the throw helped because I got cold easily, so an extra layer was brilliant.  Also it’s a great way to act as a shawl when nursing and still keep you warm.  The additional pillow just made the bed more comfortable along with aiding in nursing.

Large knickers It is not about getting thongs, or pretty frillies on,  Downstairs has been through alot!  Enough said!

Phone/camera/charger Papparazi on JJ like crazy.  You will just want to be snappy happy! And of course, more than likely you would want to tell your nearest and dearest the good news!

Baby onesie/hat I’ve added this because when your little cute bubba enters this world, you will want to clothe your baby. This will be the first clothing, of which I would suggest a onesie/all in one sleepsuit.  Temperature of babies is regularly monitored, so include a vest just in case.  You don’t need to bring their wardrobe just yet, that’s in another bag.


Baby bag

Clothes Sleepsuits/onesies, mittens, booties, hats, cardigan/jumper, and tshirts/vests. We didn’t bother with bottoms.  Joshua didn’t get a chance to wear too much clothes as he had to be under the ultra violet light most of the time.

Cotton wool Again, the hospital will have these but it’s always handy. Cleaning your baby’s poo and urine with these are great.  You don’t need wipes just yet as water and cotton wool will be sufficient.

Muslins Make sure you have several of these.  You can wipe anything that comes out from your baby’s mouth.

Baby blankets Babies like to be swaddled when they sleep.  They like the warmth and it makes them feel secure.


Loose change Bring a lot of loose change. It’s needed for parking if you have a car and for all those vending machines.

Blanket/pillow It’s not comfy for the partners, so try to make yourself comfy.  Some hospitals allow partners to stay the night and some don’t.  During the day, when you both need a nap, it can come in handy.

Snacks Not just for your partner but for you too!

Hospitals provides the basics for the first few days.  If for any circumstances you are in hospital longer, you need to ensure you can get refillable’s from a family member, or friend, such a nappies, formula, cotton wool, maternity pads, and nursing pads.

Click the below image to download the free printable below.



What did you pack in your bag? I would love to hear from you.

Drawing by Martin Southam, my other half 🙂