Your choice of childcare provider will depend on a number of factors including your personal circumstances, your financial situation and the age of your child/children. There are a number of childcare choices available to you, all of which have both pros and cons.

Day Nurseries

Day nurseries look after young children from newborn up to the age of 5. Their main advantage is that they’re staffed by professional nursery teachers who are able to give very young children a stimulating environment and planned activities to suit each developmental stage. Each child is designed a keyworker whose task is to act as a liaison with the parents.

Registered and regularly inspected by governmental officers, parents are secure in the knowledge that they’re leaving their children in safe hands. Day nurseries also tend to offer longer hours (from 7am-7pm) to meet the needs of commuting parents and work all year round except Christmas and Bank Holidays.

The main drawback of day nurseries is their cost. For a child under 2, their average cost is £210-£280 per week although in larger cities where the demand is higher (such as the Greater London area), the cost can be even higher.


Childminders look after children in their own home (often with their own children if they are parents). However, there are restrictions about how many children they can supervise safety and their ages. Before registration with the relevant governmental department, childminders must complete a course in childcare such as food hygiene and child nutrition although many might have additional qualifications like a diploma or degree in childcare.

They are expected to provide toys and activities suitable for each child’s age group. However, the learning environment tends to be less structured than day nurseries. Although the average price of a childminder in the UK is £200, many will offer a discount for siblings.

Au Pairs

Au pairs come to the UK to improve their English skills. In return for full board and lodging plus some weekly pocket money (usually around £70 a week), they undertake childcare as well as some light housework (up to a maximum of 25 hours per week). Although this is much less than other childcare options, you would have to factor in the additional cost of another member of the household. Although au pairs might have some childcare experience of babysitting or looking after younger siblings, they aren’t required to have any training so they aren’t suitable for very young children under the age of 2 who are more demanding.

It can be quite a financial strain to find the money to cover childcare costs. Although childcare vouchers have been discontinued for new applicants, the UK government offers some financial assistance for working parents and/or recipients of state benefits depending on the household’s circumstances and the age of the children. Alternatively, high acceptance payday loans direct lenders can help out before government funding kicks in. FCA authorised firms are ones that can be trusted to act ethically.

Author's Bio: 

Zach McGavin is a freelance writer and blogger who loves to write about lifestyle and home improvement. At home, he likes to browse the web and read articles that captures his interests. When not busy, Zach likes to go on a picnic with his family.