Choosing childcare is a hugely important decision for the whole family. The right childcare provider will help your child to learn, have fun and make new friends, as well as meeting all their day-to-day needs.

When you have the peace-of-mind of knowing your little one is being well cared for and enjoying themselves, you will be better able to focus on your work or studies.

There are lots of types of childcare to choose from. You may prefer the personal service, flexibility and comfort of home-based childcare, provided by a registered childminder, nanny, au pair or family member. Or you may feel that centre-based care - such as a day nursery, nursery school, pre-school, children's centre or out-of-school club - will be better for your family.

There are all sorts of practical factors to consider when choosing great childcare too:

  • How much can you afford to pay? Can you access childcare vouchers or tax benefit support?
  • How far are you prepared to travel? Do you want to walk to the setting?
  • Does your child have any additional needs?
  • Do you work standard office hours, or unsocial or irregular shifts? Full-time during the week, or a mixture of days?
  • How will your childcare arrangement fit in with the rest of your family's routine, now and in the future? Have you other children to consider, too?

Read one parent's story about choosing childcare and returning to work.

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3 months down the line his enjoyment of his time at our childminder’s has surpassed our expectations

Dr Virginia Lumsden, clinical psychologist and PACEY parent

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Read one mum's story about returning to work