The Three Tiers & Childcare – what’s allowed?

The new guidelines have added yet more confusion for parents about what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to childcare. We’ve been helping parents understand what is and isn’t allowed so here’s a simple breakdown of the guidance when it comes to childcare. 

London is in Tier 2

London was moved into Tier 2, “high risk” on 16 October. This means, in most cases, households can no longer mix indoors. BUT helpfully, the Government set out an exception so families aren’t stranded without childcare.  

Most childcare is allowed

The guidance states, “you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies.” 

Of course, If you or anyone in your household has symptoms or has been told to self-isolate by track and trace you should not mix households even for childcare.

Friends and Family

This is probably the aspect of the guidance that has caused most confusion amongst parents. You can still use friends or family IF it’s a regular arrangement and they’re part of your "childcare bubble".

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households. Someone cannot provide informal childcare for two different households and you are not allowed to arrange for different friends or relatives from more than one household to look after your child. 

A question we have seen asked a lot in parent groups is "can both Grandparents look after their Grandchildren?" We think the answer to this is yes, provided the Grandparents live together and they are only providing childcare for one household. If your child has two sets of grandparents, only one set can look after them.


This one is simple – childminders are registered childcare providers, so they are still allowed to work. 

Nannies and Nanny Shares

Nannies can continue to work in your home, so you can continue to use your full-time or part-time nanny. Most nannies only work for one family, so nannies are a good option if you want to limit mixing. At Koru Kids we recommend that social distancing rules are still observed between adults – your nanny can be in close contact with the children but should socially distance from any adults in the household where possible.

Nanny shares where two families share the same nanny together, at the same time, are also still allowed – just as childminders are.

After School Clubs

After school clubs and holiday clubs can still run. However, many are restricting numbers or haven’t been able to re-open which is causing parents lots of stress.  

Indoor playdates are off, but outdoors is on

Unfortunately, indoor playdates aren’t allowed even if the children see each other at school.

Playdates can still take place outdoors though (we imagine sales of thermals have increased dramatically!). The rule of six still applies and both adults and children must socially distance. 

If you’re considering a part-time nanny who can provide consistent and regular childcare. You can sign up for free with Koru Kids and see available nannies near you. 

You can read the full guidance on childcare from the Government here.