My school run adventure started a few weeks ago, when I joined millions of other parents and carers around the UK who had already headed back in to the cauldron of school runs since the summer break.
Looking at the bigger picture, Mrs Dinenage brings with her a wealth of experience as the Women and Equalities minister. She has been working hard to reduce the pay gap. With women still making up 98% of the early years workforce, surely being armed with this experience and knowledge will be a boost to the industry?
Having gone through two nurseries and visited several more, I can say with some authority I now know what to look for, so Mums and Dads, here's what you really need to think about..
As a parent who has put their own child through nursery, and as a childcare practitioner for over 15 years, I know all too well the feeling of apprehension when you leave your child at nursery for the first time. It can be one of the most difficult things to do, and it pulled hard on my heartstrings, but at some point in your child's upbringing, you are most likely going to need some sort of childcare provision, for you and, arguably, for your child's development.
To find my first au pair I contacted a reputable agency and paid a fairly hefty fee to bring over a French 23-year-old girl. We interviewed her on Skype and she seemed really friendly but quite shy. Her English was very basic but we were assured that it was of an 'intermediate' level and that she would become more confident when she got to know us..
All good things, and Australian working visas, must inevitably come to an end. And so here we are, back on the merry go round of childcare. Only there isn't that much that is fun about this experience. Finding a nanny who fits in with your family, who you trust, who will be your kids everything while you aren't there, well, it's not just tough, at times it seems impossible!
As the schools break up, children all over the country will be celebrating the start of a long summer holiday. For most of their parents however, work and other commitments carry on as normal, except now they have the additional task of finding childcare for the next six weeks.
For those with children this week marks the end of the school year which brings much excitement to children around the country, but economic worry to ...
Ultimately who can unite both the Tory party and Britain? It's a huge challenge, but now the men are out of it, the games can stop and the serious players can show that they really care - about ordinary families, their struggles with caring responsibilities and giving everyone, whatever their age, the best care and support.
I've been speaking at the NDNA Annual Conference and of course the burning question is: "What will our exit from the European Union mean for early yea...
I hesitate to add to the outpourings since the Brexit vote. The consequences of political and economic turmoil are already clear to see.
Namely to hold on to their commitments made at the last election and, among other promises, deliver the childcare support so many families need to balance work and home; as well as to invest in early years so that all our children, including the most disadvantaged, get the best start they deserve for our brave new world.
Financially we're okay from one month to the next. Except there's a list of things that need doing to the house as long as your arm. One by one we'll sort them out. When we do however, two more things appear on the list. Then there are the unexpected big expenses - for example three weeks before Christmas when the fridge freezer broke.
In many parts of the country, lots of childcare settings including the vast majority of childminders do not deliver the current 15 hours of free early education all 3- and 4- year olds receive. Increasing this to 30 hours for eligible children will only make matters worse.
Bonding with your baby the moment they are born is natural, right? Well actually it's not as straightforward as it may seem. In a survey by the National Childcare Trust, one third of new mothers say they struggle to bond with their baby. I say, that's not unusual at all, let me explain.
According to statistics from Carers UK, there are currently around 6.5 million people the UK who are carers and this figure is destined to rise with the prediction that there will be an enormous 9 million people caring for others by 2037.