Going back to work after maternity leave, or returning after a longer post baby break is a stressful business – but a lot less stressful when you have your childcare sorted.

When it comes to childcare there are four main options;

  • Nurseries – Costs around £210 per week full time (outside of London)


Times usually fit into most peoples needs

You know your child is in a safe and secure environment

Your child gets to play and socialise with other children

All nurseries have to comply for EYFS ensuring their education and development are encouraged

Nurseries offer a wide range of toys, messy play activities, outside play – which may not be available at home

All settings are regularly inspected by Ofsted


To fit into routines pick up and drop off times are usually relatively fixed, which may not fit into your schedule

Ratios mean your child isn’t getting the carers undivided attention

Some nurseries have nappy change, feeding set times which may not fit in exactly to your childs needs

You may end up paying for more care time than you need, for instance, if you can collect your child just over the hours that are classed as a half day.


  • Childminders – costs around £200 per week (outside of London)


A trusting relationship, continuity and routine can be formed between your child and their minder as its always the same person providing the care

Child minders can only be in care of a certain number of children as one time so their needs are likely to be met straight away

Your child can socialise with other children who are also in the  same minders care – or when out

Special organised activities, play, and groups are available specifically to child minders

Ofsted now also inspect childminders

Pick up/drop off times may be more fluid and better suited to needs


Childminders may be harder to find in certain areas

If your minder takes holiday or is too ill to look after your child other arrangements would need to be made

Minders often have their own children in the same setting which might be an issue of preferential treatment

Usually work Monday to Friday

  • Nanny – cost around £350 for day cover outside of London


You child can form a close bond with their nanny

Working times are set by you and can be fully flexible and include weekends and evenings

References can be sought to ensure they are reliable and  good with children

You child gets one to one care

You get to interview and choose who you would like to be trusted with your child


As the most expensive care cover it might not be affordable

Your child won’t get to socialise with other children as much

You become an employer and so have to ensure you are in line with all rules including, maternity, pension, sick and holiday pay


  • Relatives – usually free


You child knows and loves this person, and same goes in return

Fully flexible care can be arranged between you and your relative

Is completely free in most circumstances, so great if you are short of cash

You know one to one care is being given and their needs are met at all times


Your child doesn’t get to socialise as much with other children

the relative may not be as focussed on their development, but just their enjoyment


My main advice would be whichever option is right to you peace of mind is the most important thing, and be sure to trust your instincts.

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