New parents often ask me what is the best type of childcare to choose. But finding childcare is a bit like finding the perfect pair of jeans: there's no 'one size fits all' solution.
It depends on so many factors:
- The character of your child – a more outgoing child may prefer mixing with lots of friends at nursery.
- The age of your child – you may prefer the sole care provided by a nanny for a very young baby
- The kind of work you do – a childminder can offer more flexibility which may fit in better if your work is less predictable
There are so many elements in play, it can be hard to know what to do. And it's such a huge choice – who am I going to entrust with my precious offspring. But really there is only one question to answer when it comes to choosing childcare: what does your instinct say?Take an overall look at the childcare providers in your area and go to see as many as you can. Don't dismiss an option without doing at least a little research. Remember that the best solution for your friend, or even your other children, may not be what's best for this child.
When you walk into the place that your child might potentially be spending time, and talk to the people who might be looking after them, what's your instinctive reaction? Because if you aren't happy with it now, chances are you never will be. If it feels like the right place for your child, then chances are it probably will be. But if your instinct says no, take that as a red flag and keep looking.