choosing the right childcare

Choosing the right childcare

Maternity nurse, Teresa Boardman, gives the three most important factors to consider when choosing a childminder.

Choosing childcare can be a daunting task, particularly for new parents. There are factors that will make an impact on your final decision. What are the three most important factors that a parent should consider when choosing a childminder or nanny?


Always choose a candidate with ample experience. It is important to make sure that the potential candidate’s experience matches your family’s needs. For example, if you have a busy toddler at home it is best to go with a nanny who has experience with a growing toddler and is familiar with the various phases of development your toddler will go through. The same is true for newborns; choose a candidate that has proven experience with babies and is more than familiar with the techniques of winding, weaning, and so on.
Sometimes families are under pressure to find a candidate by a certain time frame and in doing so may overlook relevant experience as long as a nanny has the right qualifications. It is important to note that employing a nanny with the experience that matches your needs is paramount in ensuring she is a long-term childcare solution for your family.


A candidate with several solid references readily available is usually a good indication of a good candidate. While a nanny that is able to supply written references on demand is usually indicative of a good nanny, it best to follow up with as many references as possible via phone. This way, you can ask questions that are tailored to suit you.

choosing the right childcare

A good nanny always has her references readily available and the references should be easily contactable. Personally, I look for nannies who still maintain a good standing relationship with the former families. I always look for examples when interviewing nannies myself, someone who is passionate about their job usually demonstrates this by telling stories about the children that they have been looking after. Maintaining a lasting relationship with the children she has previously worked with is one of the most excellent indications that she will most likely be a good future and longstanding addition to your family.

First aid and Garda vetting

Safety is the most important factor to consider when employing a nanny. The process might seem daunting, but checking that a candidate is Garda vetted and has an up-to-date First Aid Certificate is absolutely vital. If you find that a candidate’s certificate is out of date but she fulfils all other criteria, you could also offer the possibility that you attend a course together to give both you and the nanny peace of mind when dealing with any potential emergency situations.

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Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.



Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.