I remember when we searched for childcare for our eldest, Edie. We weren’t familiar with any websites back then, so we relied on word-of-mouth and a few random Google searches that spat out some dated childcare directories. From the limited results we had, I recall interviewing two local women; one was extremely uptight and didn’t even acknowledge Edie – we didn’t pursue that one, and the other wasn’t great with dogs (we have two), so that wasn’t going to work either. Then one day, my mother-in-law got chatting to an apparently charming woman at the swings, found out she was a childminder and caught her first name. Armed with her name and assuming she lived locally, we tracked her down via some more random Google searches, then contacted her and arranged a meeting and settling in session. Upon arriving, and the door opening, it was a completely different woman to the one we’d been told about. Two childminders in the same location with the same name – what are the chances? But all was well. The childminding stars must have been aligned that day as we loved her and quickly signed up, leading to almost two years of care. Then, upon our son Arlo being born three years later, she was obviously our first choice again (despite having moved to a new house and the journey being considerably longer).

That entire process could have been a lot easier (and a lot less down to a stroke of good luck) if we’d known about childcare.co.uk back then.

I’ve been looking through the childcare.co.uk site and have been thoroughly impressed. It’s light and bright, not too busy with gimmicky and unnecessary widgets, it’s easy on the eye and importantly, easy to navigate.

Within a few seconds I found long list of childminders* near my location, and was impressed with the following search results:

The About Me Section – as daunting as this might be to write for some people (who ever likes talking about themselves?), I think first impressions are vital.

The photo of the carer – in most cases a photo was present, and as above, first impressions count.

The distance they are from my location.

Whether they’re a smoker or not.

Their experience and qualifications.

Their availability.

Their reviews – possibly the most important info there for me. You can have every qualification under the sun, but an honest review is more valuable.

There’s more info available on the carers, but from the above, I think I’d easily have enough information to whittle down the results to a strong shortlist of candidates.

*you can also search for babysitters, nannies, au pairs, nurseries, nursery nurses, maternity nurses, private tutors, schools and even childcare jobs.

The site is hugely impressive. It’s extensively detailed but not overwhelming. It has a simple design but is still professional. Importantly, it provides parents reassurance during what is a heart-wrenching time. Handing your child over to, let’s face it, a stranger, is a hugely daunting prospect for any parent. But this site, thanks to its thoroughness and supporting reviews, its Trust Pilot score, it’s awards and certificates, and even down to its comprehensive Help section, does enough to help parents fulfil such an important decision in their young child’s life.

If you’re in need of care for your child, I’d highly recommend using childcare.co.uk (and then you won’t have to reply on childminding stars being aligned and random Google searches like we did all those years ago…)