Childcare options

Nowadays, the vast majority of mums has worked before their first child was born. Regardless of how many children followed the first one, or how long the mother stayed at home, there is probably a point, where she is thinking about doing something for herself, without the children. So, she will start to evaluate childcare options.

Several questions will help parents to determine the possible childcare options:

  • How many hours is the family looking for a childcare facility?
  • How regular/irregular will the family need help with the childcare?
  • How much money is the family willing to spend for childcare?
  • Do the parents get childcare vouchers?
  • For how long will the need for childcare persist?
  • Which period is the childcare needed for?
  • Is childcare needed during school holidays?
  • Who will look after the children in case they are ill?
  • How much qualification/experience of the carer is needed?
  • Are there other duties a childcarer could potentially help with?

Which are the most common childcare options in the UK?

There are two different childcare types:

  • having the children looked after in the parents’ home
  • having the children looked after elsewhere

For the first option, there are various childcare options like nannies, granny nannies, mothers help, Au Pair or Demi Pair available. Nannies and mothers helper normally live somewhere else and come to the home to look after the children.

Au Pairs and Demi Pairs stay with the Host Family and hence, live in the same house and should be treated similar to a real family member. The granny nanny would either live with the family or may have her own apartment.

Options where children will be looked after outside of their homes are nurseries, childminder and – at least some days outside the home – a nanny share. Depending on the nanny share arrangement, the nanny looks after children from two (or several) families and they spend some days in house A and some days in house B – unless it is organised differently.

What costs to expect for childcare in the UK?

Childcare in the UK is in general expensive. Maybe not the most expensive childcare in Europe as nurseries in Switzerland are even more expensive. While comparing the costs for nurseries in the UK to similar countries like France, Germany or the Nordics you will find the UK to be way more expensive.

Here in the UK and probably especially in London, you can end up paying a fee for one month full time nursery for one child which you would have paid for the whole year in another country!

Especially if families have two or more children, other childcare options than nurseries are normally cheaper. However, all childcare types and options also come with advantages and disadvantages. In the end the parents need to decide an option which fits their children the most.

Some children may feel more comfortable in their own house, some may really enjoy being able to play with other children toys at a childminder’s house or at a nursery. Please read more about the different childcare options on our pages.


On the following pages we wrote down all the important information for the different childcare options: Demi Pair, granny nannies, nanny and summer Au Pair.

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