Some families use professional childminders, while for others grandparents or other family members look after the children while parents are working.
You might choose to use a childminder or a nursery even if not working, so that you can go back to study. You may decide it is helpful for your child to have the stimulation and fun of playing with others the same age.
There is sometimes funding to help with the costs of childcare for toddlers, so please ask your Health Visitor for up to date information
The most important thing is that you leave your child with someone that both they and you feel comfortable with, where they will have all they need and be loved and cared for.
It is a big change for both you and your child so here are some ideas to help manage it:
It is perfectly healthy for both you and your child to feel sad or scared when dropping off, even at a grandparent’s house. Try to stay calm and happy yourself, and talk confidently with your child about what will happen during the day, and how you will see them again
Expect some protest, especially at first. Your child wants to be with you, and that is OK. With time, this will get better as they gradually understand that they are going to be well looked after, and that they will see you soon
Your childcare or nursery provider should be very skilled at welcoming your child and helping them to settle. But what works can be a bit different for each child – if problems persist, it is worth having a chat with them to see what could change to make it easier.
Often your child will be delighted to see you, but sometimes they might be very busy playing and won’t rush straight across the room to you – it is all normal!
Try to have a little “getting home” routine, when things are always the same – maybe a time playing and talking together, or a story, or some outdoor fun like a walk or a game
Remember you might be tired at the end of the day, or hungry for lunch, and so will your child be – so don’t expect too much.
In particular, be careful with questions – if your child tells you about the day, that is great, but don’t bombard with lots of questions if they are not saying much!
Parents who work all day sometimes have high hopes of fun and bonding in the evening – your child has been “working” too, so won’t always be up for lots of activity – it may be better to wind down together so as not to be disappointed
Some children are more quiet and withdrawn than others – this is not an issue in itself, though it can cause problems. For some ideas to help, click here