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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Twins & Multiples Childcare Checklist
Twins & Multiples Childcare Checklist
Before you make a final decision about the best childcare to suit your and your children's needs. consider the questions on these Checklists. they cover guidance and questions to ask when looking for Nurseries. Childminders and Nannies.

Your options
  • Look at several options to get a good idea of what's available?
  • Work out how much it will cost you each week?
  • If you can't afford your preferred option. find out what Government help may be available?
Your children's main carer
  • Is the carer trained and/or experienced? Do they have any experience with multiples ?
  • Have you spoken in person to at least one (preferably two) parents who've used the carer and heard good things about her?
  • Does the carer respond to your children as an individual and communicate well with you? Are you and your children made to feel welcome?
  • Is she willing to help you continue your children's routine with things such as sleep. food or any special needs?
  • Is she willing to fit in with your ideas on discipline. toilet teaching. sweets and other issues?
  • Does she like children and enjoy caring for them?

Your children's environment
  • If outside your own home. is the place safe. clean and well equipped?
  • Will your children have contact with other children?
  • Is there a safe outside space where they can play?
  • Are there plenty of appropriate toys. and will your children have lots of opportunities to play with them?
  • Is it an environment in which your children will feel happy and confident whatever her ability. race. culture. language or gender?

Your instincts
  • Do you like the person who'll have responsibility for your child?
  • Do you find them easy to talk to and willing to listen?
  • Do you feel relieved to have found someone you can trust?
  • Once you're satisfied on most. if not all. these points. you're in a great position to go ahead and book your children's place with the carer of your choice.

What to Ask ?
When you visit any childcare provider or interview a nanny. there are important questions to ask. It may help to take this list with you as a reminder. but many of these topics will come up naturally during your conversation

Suggested questions
Here are some key questions to ask a childminder:
  1. How long have you been working with children? What made you decide to work in this area?
  2. Have you undertaken any training for your job. and do you have any qualifications or certificates (eg. first-aid training)?
  3. What do you like about working with children?
  4. How will you encourage good behaviour in my children?
  5. How many children do you look after. and how much individual attention will my babies or children receive?
  6. What sort of food and drink will you provide for my children?
  7. What will my children do all day? Do you have a routine that will help him settle in with you? (This is also a good time to bring up the TV question - in some homes it's on all day as a matter of course.)
  8. Where will my children sleep during the day? Can I see the room and/or the cots?
  9. Do you go out to play clubs or the park regularly?
  10. How will you let me know how my children are getting on?

You can ask most of these questions of a nanny. too. although you may also want to add these:
  1. Are you willing to go to playgroups or parent and baby groups so my children can mix with other children?
  2. What has been your experience with babies of my children's age and any experience with multiples ?
  3. Are you able to be flexible about hours if necessary?
  4. What would you do if there was a health or safety emergency?
  5. Do you have any friends working as nannies in the nearby area? (If so. they're likely to come to your house in the day so you'll need to meet them too. if only briefly.)
For a nursery or preschool. you can ask all the above questions. and add others:
  1. Can I look around the building and see the rooms where my children will be? Where is the outside play area?
  2. How many children are your staff caring for. and how much individual attention will each of my children receive?
  3. Do you organise regular outings for the children?
  4. Can you offer flexible hours and/or a part-time place?
  5. When was your last Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) inspection and can I see the report?
What to Look For :

As well as asking the right questions of your potential childcare provider. there are a number of specific things you should look for. Here we give you a few tips. ...if you're visiting a nursery or preschool
  • Children who look calm. safe and happy.
  • Plenty of clean toys and equipment for the children to use. plus an attractive outdoor play area.
  • Carers who listen to the children. take notice of them. answer their questions and play with them. You're looking for carers who enjoy being with children and obviously like their work.
  • Plenty of examples of the children's work displayed on the walls.
  • Children mixing well. talking and playing together.
  • The member of staff showing you round should show an interest in what you want for your children. If your children are with you. she should be keen to make contact with them.
  • A clear routine for the children.
...when interviewing a nanny
  • Qualifications and experience. References from a previous employer are essential - as well as a written reference. you should talk to the previous employer.
  • A positive. cheerful attitude and a willingness to talk to your children straightaway.
  • A clear idea of a child's needs and a willingness to talk through all the key issues such as food. discipline and routine.
As nannies don't need to be registered. it's all the more important that you make sure your chosen nanny is the right person to be looking after your child. Have a trial period while you're still at home to make sure you've made the right choice. Check out the new Childcare Approval Scheme for carers in the home at www.childcareapprovalscheme.co.uk

...when meeting a childminder

Childminders in England caring for children under eight have to be registered with Ofsted. The organisation will ensure they've passed a Criminal Records Bureau police check. and will carry out a home inspection and interview. Childminders will have completed first aid and childminding courses and have to hold necessary insurance. Other things to look for :
  • A clean and welcoming home. with lots of suitable toys and an outdoor play area. or a park nearby where the children will be taken.
  • Registration certificate and references from other parents.
  • A draft contract from the National Childminding Association. Childminders can also draw up their own contracts and although this is not a legal requirement it's good for both parties to have a document covering the basics such as hours. pay. sick pay and holidays.
  • A reasonably flexible approach to your children's particular needs or routines.
You should also have a clear discussion about who else lives in the house and whether anyone smokes. Also find out whether there are any pets (especially important if your child has asthma or eczema).

Our exclusive Double Daycare Diary is daily care, activity and development guide designed especially for twins. Whether they attend nursery, have a nanny, childminder or family carer looking after them, the Double Daycare Diary is perfect for capturing all the essential information that YOU need to know about their day!


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