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A lot of parents either want to go back to work once their adoption/maternity leave ends, or financially, they have no choice. Finding the right setting for your child can be stressful so this article will give you an idea of what the options are.

Every child is different and what works best for one, might not work for another with the same needs. There are a wide range of styles of setting from a curiosity approach nursery to playgroups and childminders, so research is the key. Get as much information as you can about what’s available in your area and then go and have a look around to see what’s going to be best for your child. Ask lots of questions and if your child has particular needs, make sure the setting is aware and has the resources to manage them.

I think childminder or nursery settings are the kind of thing where your first impression is the right one. When we were looking for a place for our eldest daughter, we only visited one nursery. It felt safe and welcoming straight away and we knew it was the right one for our daughter.

Our experience

Our eldest is shy and has separation anxiety which was quite bad when she first started nursery. She used to get very upset at drop-off but settled quickly after I left. As hard as it was at the time, for her, nursery was the best option. Mixing with other children of her age really brought her out of her shell and helped her to be more confident. She thrived in the setting and made a lot of friends.

The staff were brilliant with her and extremely supportive, particularly at drop-offs. They knew about her background and were sensitive to it when they did work about families with the children. She didn’t need any additional support, but we knew it was available to her if she did.

Nurseries are a great place to introduce children to their peers and help to build up their social skills. The days are structured with a range of learning activities and play. They usually open early in the morning until early evening making them a popular choice for working parents.

Childminder or nursery. Child building a tower with blocks
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Early Years Pupil Premium

From the age of three, adopted children are entitled to access to Early Years Pupil Premium which entitles their childcare provider to extra financial support to help them achieve their full potential. How it’s spent is up to the provider and may be used for something like providing additional training or services such as a speech and language therapist. If your child has a particular need, speak to the manager about whether the funding can be used to support this.


A childminder looks after up to six children in their home. Because there’s a smaller number of children, each child will get more individual attention. It is therefore better for children who don’t cope well in loud, busy settings and feels more like a home from home for a child.

We used a childminder for wrap-around care when our eldest daughter started school and it really suited her. She was shattered after a day at school and there is more opportunity to relax at the childminder’s. But I don’t think it would’ve prepared her for school as well as nursery did. She still struggled with separation anxiety when she started school, but we’d all learned how to manage it better because of the skills she’d gained at nursery.

A childminder or nursery – which is best for your child?

So, the answer as to whether a childminder or nursery is better for your family will very much depend on the needs of your child. If they need more individual, one-to-one time, a childminder is probably best. For those who crave being with lots of kids of their own age, nursery may be best. Or, they may need a combination of both.

Childminder or nursery. Children playing with toys
Photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash

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