I have never lied about the fact that being a single parent is hard work. I heard on the radio yesterday, that the average parent gets a mere 32 minutes to themselves a day where they don’t have to do anything or have anyone making demands and this is often when they are hiding from their little ones…. I’m not sure this is the amount single parents get because I am pretty sure the only time I get is the moment between getting my pyjamas on and getting into bed. I would love to have more children and absolutely have no regrets in having my beautiful little girl, but I would never do it as a single parent by choice again. I am very lucky that I live with my mum and her partner – it might seem quite “lame” to some that a 30-something-year-old single mum is living with her own mum but it keeps us all out of debt and it allows Alyssa to have a better quality of life too. In the past year or so I have actually stepped out of my comfort bubble and not only attempted to date but made new friends who on the odd occasion I enjoy a lovely evening with and I’m lucky that once I have gotten Alyssa to bed, Nonna and Bear are happy to listen to the baby monitor. However, I was wondering recently what would happen if we all wanted to go out together and perhaps Uncle Peter and Auntie Kerrie weren’t free to babysit or we had two events on the same day and no one to watch Alyssa. It’s unlikely to happen often but when it does, I have found something new I’d love to try out called Childcare.co.uk
As most people who follow me will know, I do not have much of a social life (probably because I am so tired all the time) but it is getting progressively better and apart from the fact that Nonna and Bear might make plans of their own, I don’t want to always rely on them and take advantage of our living situation. That is why I was really please when I stumbled across Childcare.co.uk – The easy way to find local childcare.
Instantly I know what half of you are probably thinking as it was the first thing that popped into my head too… But I don’t know them, what if it isn’t safe? I don’t want a stranger from a website babysitting my child. I totally hear you and honestly that was/is a concern of mine too but when I started actually exploring the website I felt much more at ease.
For starters, you can actually choose to have someone with qualifications such as Ofsted training, first aid, special needs experience to name but a few. This is not some modern day version of The Babysitters Club this is a legitimate network of childcare workers from every corner of the business. You can simply go on and search and see if there are people in your area to begin with or you can sign up to a free account – on their website it states that they have over 1.8 million users which is pretty incredible.
When you do a search you filter it down to exactly what you need e.g. someone local, someone with training, someone available in the afternoons, someone with newborn baby experience. I was actually amazed at all the childcare on offer; babysitters, childminders, nannies, au pairs, nurseries, nursery nurses, maternity nurses, private tutors, schools and even overnight and hotel sitters. The list is endless!
So I did a search, because I am nosy and I also wanted to see what was available in my area. Each registered provider has a profile you can view with their location, name, gender, qualifications, experience, fees and availability. You’re perhaps thinking okay well maybe they are just saying they have the qualifications but don’t ACTUALLY have them… well, it turns out they do in fact have to load their certificates up to Childcare.co.uk when making their profile. This includes a DBS check which will obviously let you know if they are “safe” to work with children. Anyone who hasn’t uploaded these documents, has a small red warning sign next to their information, so you are kept fully informed about their status and advised on safety guidelines when looking for childcare.
The last thing I really like is that each profile has a reviews section where real users have tried the services and fed back with a star rating for Overall, Setting, Cleanliness, Food and Communication and there is also a section available for comments as well.
I did a search to find all types of childcare services within 5 miles of my home address and found 29 results but when I went as far as 10 miles it came up with 141 listings! I couldn’t believe the amount of choice there was and with all the information their about each one and their qualifications it definitely put my mind more at ease.
I never thought I’d be looking on a website for childcare and I completely admit that in the beginning I didn’t even know why I was looking. However, this site not only makes sure that it has everyone’s qualification certificates and DBS checks in order, but it is also a Department of Education winner and has a 5 start Trust Pilot score. I think if you’re looking for childcare like I will be, then Childcare.co.uk is definitely something you should consider looking at, for whatever type of childcare you are looking for. You don’t have to say no to going out anymore… just think, us single mums might get our social lives back now!!
*This is a collaborative post.