At the time of writing this, the UK is in the middle of a lockdown. Right now, the majority of children are staying at home with a parent, guardian, family member or friend. Schools are only open for childcare purposes; to enable essential key workers to continue their jobs whilst the country is in Coronavirus crisis. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading, but childcare providers continue to offer care for a limited number of children; those who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and cannot be safely cared for at home. Childcare.co.uk has issued a useful guide on finding appropriate childcare, which is generally useful, and is especially helpful at the moment if usual providers are unavailable through illness, or for other reasons.
So, besides offering useful advice, what is Childcare.co.uk?
Childcare.co.uk is a community that connects private tutors, household helpers and childcare providers (such as registered childminders and babysitters) with parents. The hugely popular service was launched in 2009, has more than 2 million users and is accessible through their website, Android and IOS apps, as well as Amazon Alexa.
The core idea is that parents are able to search their area for whatever required service by postcode, which are then listed by distance. Of course, on the other side of the same coin; not only does Childcare.co.uk allow parents to search for care options but it’s also allows for finding childcare jobs too. However, that’s not the end of the features that the site has to offer…
The ability to search for childcare or find childcare jobs isn’t all that the service offers. It’s an excellent sort of information too, which of course is a valuable resource in itself. The site features help and advise on how to research and check for childcare providers, and it features reviews from other users, a safe and secure private messaging system, the ability to negotiate fees one-to-one and a special membership option. I can’t comment too much on the Gold Membership plan as I’ve not experienced it myself, but it does contain some impressive sounding benefits such as free legal advice, discounts at over 6,000 restaurants, additional resources and free online training courses and webinars.
Why Use Childcare.co.uk?
When it comes to childcare, there is no denying that it can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. Things quickly devolve into an ongoing battle of finding options that are suitable for your child’s needs, your own requirenents, and of course geographic and financial limitations. More so, when there are SEND considerations to take on board too. So what it all comes down to is finding a service that doesn’t overwhelm and frustrate. At the same time though, it’s important to have all of the information available to make an educated and informed decision. This is where the site’s strength lies.
Some Thoughts About Childcare.co.uk
Childcare.co.uk is designed in a way that puts the immediate search functionality front and centre. It is bright, colourful, well labelled and simple to use. In short, very easy to navigate and get started. What’s more is it allows you to search generally or by experience, qualifications, documents, availability and much more. Once the results are displayed, the profiles are very clearly sectioned into subheadings with clear indications of what the care provider offers, their qualifications and experience. Professionals appear to be encouraged if they have SEND experience which is extremely useful.
It might seem like an odd time to write about childcare. At the same time though, it is nice to think about the future, and what can happen when lockdown is over. And beyond that, Childcare.co.uk is more than just a service to find babysitters (although the ability to filter by overnight is pretty cool) and nannies. It is also a resource to help SEND parents and carers, or home educators facilitate a lifestyle where some extra support is quick and easy to find when required.
When I discovered the ability to search for extra household help that includes services like driving, house sitting, pet sitting, cleaning and cooking, as well as childcare and tutors, I couldn’t help but picture how much could be achieved with that extra help; the amount of stress it could reduce is priceless! For now, I will keep imagining… but do check them out when normality resumes!
*This is a collaborative post.