We have three kids, ranging in age from 7 to 12 and it’s logistically been a nightmare over the years. A one point we did the maths and realised that it would take a gross salary of around £50,000 to deal with all the childcare costs every year (holidays, after school clubs and actual childminding for our littlest). Obviously that was a bit bonkers so my wife made the only sensible decision and restrained as a childminder herself. During her one OFSTED inspection she gained an outstanding rating, and was herself registered on the childcare.co.uk website.
because life is just as ironic as Alanis Morrisette would have you believe, we’ve actually been using childcare.co.uk from the other side recently. Due to a perfect storm of our regular babysitters going to Denmark and Australia for a year each, we’ve been a bit stuck locally. Although we love our children dearly, to be honest we can’t wait for the odd night out without the little darlings to come round as it can all get a bit tiring at times. I’m half convinced that they have worked out a complex routine for pestering us- some sort of rota or shared Google Calendar- because as soon as one has presented themselves to us at 10pm saying they’re too hot, another one is complaining of the cold, and the final one makes an appearance ten minutes later with a tummy ache.
As I’ve said, childcare.co.uk is great for finding well qualified childminders but it is also great for finding babysitters too. The filters are great, meaning you can find sitters who have been DBS checked, or sitters with SEN experience, paediatric first aid qualifications and pretty much anything else you could possibly either want or think of.
Where childcare.co.uk excels is the extra mile it goes in terms of safety. A babysitter I was looking at had a nice tick next to DBS check but also a red triangle that said whilst the sitter had stated she had been DBS checked, she hadn’t as yet uploaded her form, so be sure to ask her. It’s little things like this that make it easier to trust your kids to a stranger.
It took a matter of minutes to compile a list of half a dozen babysitters within a mile of our house who all seemed to fit the particular criteria that we were looking for. If only this sort of service had been available to my parents when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had to put up with Penny from next door babysitting and could have watched my taped off BBC2 collection of Hammer Horror movies without having to hover my finger permanently over the change channel button.
More useful still is a category I hope we never have to use and that’s the emergency babysitter one. There have been a couple of occasions where we’ve had trips to A&E with one child (nothing too serious!) and in an ideal world we’d both liked to have gone but since our parents aren’t that local, it hasn’t been feasible. This is where an emergency babysitter would have been a godsend.
It’s things like that, coupled with the review system (and a really high Trustpilot score) that make childcare.co.uk a great resource for parents!