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Moving with children

Top tips when looking for childcare in your new neighbourhood

Finding childcare in an area you know can be tough enough, but relocating to a different country and trying to figure out what to do with the rugrats is a whole new ball game.

So how do you find childcare in your new neighbourhood?

You’ll have to ask the same questions and put out the same feelers as you would do in the UK, but if you haven’t done it before, or you are unsure just what you should be asking and looking out for, we have put together a few pointers to help you get started.

Watch how the carers interact with the children they are looking after.
If you want to see how your precious people will be treated when you aren’t around to oversee the interaction, drop into the nursery or childminder (whose services you are considering employing) to observe the staff in action. If you can, go in unannounced, you don’t have to stay for long, just enough time to watch how they are with the children in their care.

● Ensure they are paying attention to each and every child.
● Are the children happy?
● Are the staff on chairs observing the children, or are they on the floor engaging with them?
● If they are looking after babies are they cuddling them, reassuring them, giving them the love and attention babies need? Or are they absentmindedly rocking the cot with their foot whilst playing on their phone?
● Is there a tv in the room? Is it on, blasting visual stimuli and noise 24/7? Is it minding the children instead of the human you’re paying?
● Is there a maximum ratio of one adult to three children?

All small children, babies and toddlers in particular, for their cognitive development require warmth and affection from their caregivers. They thrive on one-to-one relations and for the under-ones it is vital that their ‘away from home’ routine is as similar to their ‘at home’ routine as possible, so as to minimise stress and upset.

If you are hiring a nanny or childminder, what is their commitment like?
Young children don’t react well to change. They need to have consistency and routine in their little lives in order to flourish and if they are going through carers like a hot knife through butter, it isn’t great for their emotional wellbeing.

Ask their potential caregiver if they can commit to a minimum time period of a year at least.

The same applies with nursery staff turnover. Ask the manager how long staff typically stay with the nursery. Alarm bells should be ringing if there is a regular turnover. It’s not just your child that wants to be happy with a familiar face. You want to know who is looking after them everyday too.

Know that you aren’t committed to the same childcare provider forever.
The key takeaway here is if something doesn’t feel right, walkaway. Whether you don’t like the childminder having the tv on in the background all day, or you don’t feel the nursery staff are paying enough attention to the children under their care, you don’t have to stay.

Your child is your priority, if you aren’t happy, chances are they aren’t either.

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Surrey, UK to Sydney, Australia - December 2020

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