How to find good childcare

Nanny reading book to children
Thinking about which type of childcare will suit your family best? The National Childminding Association shares their advice for choosing a childminder or nanny.

Around 300,000 children are cared for by registered childminders and nannies, making home-based childcare the second most popular choice of formal childcare in England and Wales.

Registered childminders work in their own homes, providing childcare for up to six children from different families at any one time, aged from birth until secondary school years. Nannies usually only work for one family from that family's home and some may live-in.

Deciding on a registered childminder or nanny means your child is looked after in a safe, family setting. Both nannies and childminders are part of the local community and this means your child will be able to enjoy learning from life experiences, such as visits to the local shops or library. 

Registered childminders are usually self-employed and as a parent you can have peace of mind of knowing that childminders are inspected by Ofsted (in England) or the Care and Social Services Inspectorate (in Wales). They have a paediatric first-aid certificate, hold public liability insurance and have to undergo professional training. They are also Criminal Records Bureau checked. In England all registered childminders caring for under fives deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage, just the same as nurseries. 

Nannies work in the home of the child and can register on the Voluntary Ofsted Childcare Register.

Many registered childminders and nannies care for siblings together and your childminder or nanny may also be able to take and pick up your children from school.

If your childminder or nanny is a member of the National Childminding Association (NCMA) you know they will be committed to offering high-quality learning and care.

Questions to ask a childminder or nanny

About them

  • How long have you been a childminder/nanny and why did you choose this career?
  • What do you enjoy most about the job?
  • Are you a member of NCMA?
  • Do you have any relevant qualifications? What training have you done?
  • Do you belong to a childminding group or network?
  • Are you taking part in a quality assurance scheme?

About the setting

  • How many other children do you look after, how old are they and how long have you been looking after them?
  • Do you have any children of your own, and if so, how old are they?
  • Can you describe a typical childminding day or week?
  • What arrangements do you have for meals and snacks?
  • What arrangements do you have if you become ill?
  • What do you consider unacceptable behaviour, and how do you deal with it?
  • What would you do in an emergency involving yourself or one of the children?
  • Do you ever take the children out in the car, and if so, do you have suitable insurance cover, seat belts and car seats for this?
  • Do you and the children regularly go on outings during the week?
  • Do you ever go on special trips out?
  • Do you have pets or a garden?
  • What do you do about holidays – both ours and yours?

About their paperwork

  • Please show me your registration, insurance and first aid certificates.
  • Please show me your Ofsted or CSSIW inspection report
  • Can I see any references from parents?