A busy parent’s guide to the perks of childcare.co.uk
Most parents know the reality of the struggle of trying to balance a busy work schedule with an even busier family life whilst chasing the Holy Grail that is a social life with kids in tow. The need for flexible and easily available childcare has never been greater. Yet with so many families living away from grandparents and established support networks there is a significant need for a reliable childcare service.
Since launching in 2009 childcare.co.uk has become the trusted childcare service of over 2 million users. The website offers the services of a range of childcare professionals including babysitters, nannies, au pairs, childminders and tutors. A simple search tool allows your search to highlight relevant childcare providers close to your home address with clear filters to allow searches for specifics such as first aid training, SEN experience or DBS checks.
I decided to put childcare.co.uk through its paces to see how easy it is to find a last minute babysitter for our 4 children for a Saturday night. Something we have struggled with in the past. Here’s my blow by blow account of using childcare.co.uk as a busy parent desperate to enjoy a social life!
Most importantly childcare.co.uk is free to join. Signing up takes a couple of minutes as you enter your email address, chosen user name and essential personal details. You’ll receive an e-mail almost immediately to verify your account and you’re good to go.
Searching for a Babysitter
The search tools at the top of the screen make it incredibly easy to search for the exact childcare relevant to your needs. In my case I input ‘babysitter’ within 5 miles of my home postcode. Despite living in a fairly rural area I am presented with 39 options for babysitters within 5 miles of where I live! I decide to narrow my search to those willing to an offer evening service narrowing the search to 26. I’m amazed at the range of choice I have so close to my home address!
Narrowing the search
I continue to narrow my search by clicking on ‘advanced search’ where I request details of those able to providing services on a weekend evening. My options suddenly narrow significantly. But that’s okay. I now have just 3 options for a Saturday night babysitter. When I click on their ‘view profile’ buttons I can read about them in greater detail. The pages are set out so that key information such as qualifications, experience and fees are all easy to locate. There’s also a reassuring review area where former clients can sing their praises. I am able to narrow my search down to two potentials based on their profiles within a matter of minutes.
Once I had decided on my two potential babysitters I send them both a message asking about their availability for this evening. The messaging service runs through childcare.co.uk so there’s no need to share personal information like email addressees or phone numbers until you feel comfortable with the person you’re communicating with. I receive two replies within an hour…one saying they are unavailable, and one saying they are free!
I’m thrilled. With 4 children and living in a small village I have often struggled to find last minute childcare. I can’t believe how simple the process has been going through childcare.co.uk. Our babysitter is a great success with us paying her directly as the norm at the end of the night. I’ll be using both our new-found babysitter and childcare.co.uk again and will be saying ‘yes’ to last minute nights out more often!
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