Raising kids is hard work. Many feel that it’s a full time job. From the moment they’re born, they’ll need around the clock care until they’re young adults who can function for themselves and be trusted with the responsibility of acting appropriately and independently without an adult watching their every move.

Of course, for some people, this is simple and they are in a position where they are able to look after their kids day and night. But others amongst us have other responsibilities or other places we need to be. You might have to go to work. You might have to care for other family members. You may simply want a break and to have a little time to yourself every once in a while. When situations like this occur, you will need to make use of some sort of childcare. This can feel a daunting area to get into when you’re first looking for childcare. After all, leaving your kids with someone can be a daunting task. But we all have to face it at some point or another. So, here’s everything you need to know on the subject to introduce you to some of the different options that may be available to you!

Nannies and Au Pairs

If you need regular child care – perhaps you have a hectic work schedule or other commitments on a daily basis – you may want to bring in a nanny. A nanny may live with you, or they may live independently, but these professionals will often be able to look after, educate and care for your children for larger periods of time. This could be throughout the day, overnight, or whatever other hours your agreement covers. It’s good to have a consistent nanny if your children are going to be looked after regularly, as it builds familiarity and bonds.

Alternatively, you might want to consider welcoming an au pair into your home. An au pair is a young person from overseas who lives with a family and is seen much more as a member of the family than an employee, which is generally how nannies are perceived. Unlike nannies, who may work around the whole house and help all members of the family, au pairs are only responsible for childcare and perhaps some simple domestic chores that involve the children (such as tidying their play area, making their meals, or doing their laundry). It’s super-easy to find an au pair, with sites like Go Au Pair dedicated to matching au pairs with families so, if this is something that appeals to you, you could potentially take a look at them with a view to finding an au pair for your children. 

Nursery and Playgroups

Compulsory education doesn’t start in many countries until a child is around the age of four or five. This means that until this point, you don’t have to send your child to any educational facilities where they may be away from you for hours of the day. But you do have the option to send your little ones to age appropriate groups and facilities. These tend to be referred to as nurseries and playgroups. In these places, your kid can get to know others their own age and will be preoccupied with plenty of fun activities that will teach them skills at the same time as being fun. Not only is this great if you need some time to do other things throughout the day without worrying about your little ones, but it’s a great step for them too. It helps them to get used to being around other people while you’re not there, which will make starting school much easier. It also gives them contact with others of their age group, helping them to build their social skills! Make sure to check out reviews of any nursery or playgroup you’re planning on taking your child to. This will give you confidence in their quality.

Childminders and Babysitters

Childminders and babysitters are people who will look after your child, either in their home or at your home, when you need to go out and do something. These individuals’ services are most commonly used in the evenings, when you may want to attend a social event with your partner, friends, family members or others. Some people will ask their friends or family to babysit their children. But you do need to make sure that any of your friends and family know how to look after children and have experience looking after children before you unload this big responsibility onto them. You can also find babysitters for children in many other ways if friends and family aren’t available, but generally, it’s a good idea to go through an agency who will have carried out background checks and other essential checks on any childminder or babysitter they send out to you.

Childcare can get complex. But we will all need it at some point or another. So, hopefully, some of the above information will help to familiarise you with some of the different options that are available to you. There are, of course, others out there. But these are some of the most popular!