New parents guide to childcare

Becoming a new parent is a minefield of new experiences: from changing nappies, to sleepless nights and navigating the world of childcare. Each step is a learning curve, but few things cause bigger headaches than finding someone to care for your child as you head back to work. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to childcare for new parents, so you can make informed decisions on the childcare options available to your family.  

New parents guide to nursery

Nursery is the tried and trusted choice for many established families, and it is very popular with new parents too. Nurseries tend to be larger settings, with multiple rooms, and have space and capacity for lots of children.

What are the pros to nursery?

Nurseries provide kids with access to socialisation (a fancy way of saying other children to play with!), and can be ideal for first-borns, as they don’t have siblings to play with and learn from. Learning is often particularly well-structured at nursery, and because of the larger staff team, nursery activities can be more elaborate than is possible in home-based care. 

Because they’re larger, nursery places come available more often than at a childminder —  this is ideal for new parents who may be unsure when they’ll be ready to return to work, or have left finding childcare to the last minute (unaware of the challenge it can be!). 

Although nursery is the most talked about choice of early years childcare in the UK, it doesn’t suit everyone. Let’s take a look at the reasons why new parents may wish to explore alternatives to nursery…

What are the cons to nursery?

Although large settings mean children have more playmates on hand, it also means that each child receives less 1:1 attention from adults. All nurseries carry some risk that your child may be unable to form the secure attachment they need, due to a revolving door of key workers. When viewing a nursery, you should always ask about their staff turnover. New parents should take their child’s personality and developmental needs into account. Not all children are suited to a large, busy setting. 

Despite its benefits, daily socialising with large numbers of children also means that children are more likely to catch coughs and sneezes. Most nurseries ask that parents keep children at home for 24 hours after a temperature or vomiting. For parents who can’t work from home, this may create a last minute panic to find emergency childcare. 

New parents guide to childminders

Childminders are a smaller setting than nurseries and they usually operate from a childminder’s own home — so parents pick up and drop off at the childminder’s house or registered premises. Childminders in the UK must be registered with Ofsted, or an Ofsted registered childminder agency (like Koru Kids). 

What are the pros of a childminder?

A childminder often looks after a few children from different families, so the kids still develop important social skills and still enjoy plenty of group interaction. Childminders often care for older children after school too, so kids learn from children older than them and form sibling-like relationships. Childminders follow a structured curriculum like nurseries, called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Many new parents favour childminders over nursery because of the lower cost associated with them. In London, the average childminder charges around £7 per hour, which is typically less than a nursery place.

What are the cons of a childminder?

New parents may worry about leaving their baby with a single adult, with little oversight from anyone else. Unlike nurseries, which have multiple key workers who could spot mistreatment should it occur, childminders usually work alone or with an assistant or two. Childminders are also usually only inspected by Ofsted every few years. If you like the benefits of a childminder, but find lack of regular oversight intimidating, you may prefer a Koru Kids home nursery. Our settings are inspected annually and we vet and train all our childminders (which we call Early Educators — because they do so much more than just ‘mind’ children!). 

New parents guide to nannies

A nanny cares for a child (or children) in a family’s own home. Nannies usually just work for one family, unless they’re part-time or part of a nanny share agreement. Nannies are generally not Ofsted-registered, although Ofsted-registered nannies do exist (it’s just a lengthy and time consuming process). 

What are the pros of a nanny?

With a nanny, new parents have more say in how their child is cared for, which most closely mirrors life during maternity or paternity leave. This provides continuity for little ones and means their needs are always met. 1:1 care also means that your nanny can create activities solely based on your child’s interests, unlike at nursery or a childminder.

Nannies provide the greatest flexibility for families, and are particularly well-suited to parents who work outside of standard nursery or childminder hours. Koru Kids offer part-time nannies with early years experience, that can fill the gaps in your childcare jigsaw. 

What are the cons of a nanny?

There is a significant increased cost associated with a nanny, particularly to new parents because they can’t benefit from saving on childcare costs for multiple children. Most nannies charge more per house than regular nursery or childminder hourly fees. Plus, parents must provide the resources for any activities that the nanny is doing. Parents cannot use Tax-Free Childcare and Funded Hours on nannies (except for Ofsted-registered nannies). When you hire a nanny you become an employer, and need to pay tax and national insurance for your employee. If they’re aged between 23 and state retirement age, you will also need to make contributions into their pension. Koru Kids takes away the stress of these responsibilities — our flat hourly rate is comprehensive and covers DBS costs, training costs, nanny gross wages, holiday pay, PAYE costs, National Insurance contributions, payroll costs, pension setup and more. We have a handy app where you can keep track of everything.

New parents guide to Koru Kids Home Nursery 

Home Nursery is forest education, nursery and childminding all rolled into one. It’s childcare built for the 21st century, meaning we’ve designed the service to ensure that both new parents and little ones flourish.  

Your child is based in the home of one loving Early Educator but every day, the kids venture outdoors to local green spaces to play and learn. The afternoon is spent back at the Early Educator’s house, where children have a nutritious lunch, take a nap and enjoy an afternoon of play and activities. 

What are the pros of Koru Kids Home Nursery? 

Our home nurseries have a maximum of 3 children to 1 adult, so that each little adventurer gets lots of individual attention and strong bonds can be formed between children. It’s proven that children who experience greater caregiver stability show higher degrees of social competence

The freedom to explore the local area means children aren’t confined to one learning environment — this is much like maternity or paternity leave. Plus, kids who breathe in fresh air and interact with nature are healthier, happier, sleep better and gain an early appreciation for the environment. Our Early Educators are forest education trained to maximise the kids’ time spent outdoors.

Home Nursery provides new parents with the reassurance that their childcare is reliable. We only turn away children with contagious illnesses, so you’re guaranteed more hours of childcare for your money. Plus they’ll be socialising with a much smaller group, so they’re less likely to get the sniffles in the first place. If your home nursery has to shut, where possible, we will offer you replacement childcare at another local home nursery.

While childminders and nurseries are only inspected every few years, Koru Kids home nurseries are inspected every 12 months. No more reading 6 years out of date inspection reports!

What are the cons of Koru Kids Home Nursery? 

If you’re looking for a large setting, with lots of children for your child to socialise with, Home Nursery may not be the best option. Home Nursery is particularly popular for newborns and toddlers, but as your child approaches school age, transitioning to a nursery may be a good stepping stone, to ease kids into busy classrooms and spending the day in one location.

We hope this new parents guide to childcare has helped you feel more equipped to make your decision. If Home Nursery sounds right for your family, check out our home nurseries in your area.