The post is sponsored by Childcare.co.uk
So as I’m sure you’re more than painfully aware if you read our blog or know us in the real world, Gav and I generally get out and have a date night about twice a year if we’re lucky. We go out every August, to celebrate our Disney Fairytale Wedding anniversary and Gav’s birthday [which are days apart] when my mom and dad have the boys for a week [woohoo!] and then sometimes we manage to get out on my birthday too. This year we went to see the Murder She Wrote Join-Along event and it was AMAZING. Anyhow, my parents live 137 miles away and so we’re short on help.
For parents like us, though, there is help at hand – we were asked to review the Childcare.co.uk site and see what we thought of it. The name of the site kind of gives it away, but as we discovered, it’s much more than a babysitting search engine. Over 2,000,000 users have been on the site – but I’d yet to try it, so I was excited to see what it was all about.
NOT JUST CHILDCARE
I had no idea that Childcare.co.uk was more than a website for people needing a babysitter or childminder as the name suggests – it is, in fact, a huge and valuable resource. The Childcare.co.uk database holds contacts for a whole range of help – private midwives and doulas, household help and nursery nurses, private tutors and out of school clubs to name a few. I was really impressed to find that I could hire Japanese tutors or Emergency or First Aid Trained Babysitters – or even Babysitters who offered a free one hour service whilst you nipped out to get your smear test done. This one caught my eye because I remember having to bounce Baby Hero on my chest whilst Lyoto tried to escape the nurses’ room and Jensen rifled through my handbag whilst I had my last test. Fun times!
EASE OF USE
So using the site is very easy – simply decide from the drop-down menu in the banner above that you can see, what kind of service you’re interested in, pop in your postcode and pick the radius that you’re comfortable in either traveling or having someone travel to you with potential travel costs included. The search is available for up to ten miles away from your chosen location. Click the button and a list comes up with profile photographs and descriptions.
I love the layout. It’s simple, there aren’t a million pop-ups and it’s very easy to navigate. If you’re searching for any kind of childcare, this is absolutely the best place to go and I so wish I’d known about it a couple of years ago.
KNOW WHO YOU’RE HIRING
So once you’ve had a search for your criterion, a list of suitable people will pop up. Inside each person’s clickable profile page, is a space where they can list their qualifications and experience, and what they have to offer. You can check their availability, fees and documents. I love this section – it’s so much better than a business card – you have the chance to really sell yourself here if you’re advertising. As a parent, I’d steer clear of the profiles with scant information, but that’s just me.
The documents feature is something I really love about this site. All service providers are invited to upload relevant qualifications and registration certifications and CRB checks for parents to see. The documents are uploaded and checked by trained Childcare.co.uk staff who endeavour to verify the validity of the documents provided – and there’s a little key which notifies the person reading which documents have been seen.
Although there is no requirement to provide parent access to documents, as a parent I wouldn’t even consider someone who hadn’t taken it upon themselves to upload the obvious and necessary documentation that I’d expect you to have if you were to be in a caring role with my children and I’d rule you out instantly. Naturally, Childcare.co.uk advise you to ask to see the original copies and check the validity of these crucial documents yourself upon meeting with your potential childcare person but initially seeing that they are provided and are valid documents on the site saves time and gives a little surety that you’re about to employ a professional.
SAFE MESSAGING IN CHILDCARE.CO.UK
Within each personal profile is the option to like and message them. Childcare.co.uk recommend staying within the platform whilst making initial contact for everyone’s safety until both parties are comfortable and in a working relationship. If at any time you’re unsure or feel uncomfortable about a message, there’s the option to report it.
GETTING INTO THE SPECIFICS
If you’re thinking that this all sounds well and good, but you need a very niche person and you don’t want to trawl through a million profile pages, there’s also an advanced search on the site! So, if you’re seeking something very specific – for instance, a Welsh tutor on Wednesday afternoons, you can input this and see who’s available. I love this because sometimes you have time for browsing and casting your net wide, and sometimes you need to be specific, time is at a premium, and it’s refreshing not to have to trawl.
Once you’ve searched through and narrowed down your list, each person or organisation listed is clickable, to produce further details on your selection.
We’re fans of the site – it’s easy to use, lacks a million pop ups that frustrate me no end when I’m searching online for something, and the way the site is structured is easy to navigate. Service providers have the perfect platform for advertising their services clearly and transparently to a HUGE market and it’s certainly a site that we’d come to when we need to search for someone to help us out.