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Different types of childcare

There are lots of different types of childcare to choose from. Some families use informal childcare, such as other family members, friends or neighbours. However you may also find that you need to make more formal childcare arrangements. Some childcare settings provide specialist services for disabled children, however all childcare should welcome and include disabled children.


Childminders are trained, self-employed carers largely based in their own homes. They are registered with Ofsted and both the childminder and their home are regularly checked.

A childminder will normally be able to look after up to six children under eight-years-old including their own, but only three of them can be under the age of five.

Childminders are perfect if your working day doesn’t fit the 9-5, Monday to Friday pattern or if you have children of different ages and you want them to be looked after together. You may also want your child to be cared for in a home environment by just one person.

Day Nursery

Day nurseries offer childcare and, in most cases, early education. They are for children aged from birth to five years old and some may also offer out-of-school care for five to 11-year-olds. Opening times tend to coincide with a standard working day, 8am to 6pm on weekdays.

Nursery School and Classes

Nursery schools offer early education and are for children between the ages of three and five. They are open during school hours, normally only in term time for full or half-day sessions. Nurseries are free if part of a state education system (excluding meals and trips). Independent schools charge fees.

As always it is best to check with the nursery school or class you’re interested in to find out about available places and their admissions policy.


Usually organised by community or voluntary groups, often with the help of parents, they normally offer early education places. They give your child access to different toys, equipment and activities and ensure they mix with other children. Sessions last between two-and-a-half to four hours and take place either every day or several days a week, during term time. They are for children aged between two and five years.

Before and After School Clubs

Some clubs are open before and after school and all day during school holidays. They offer a quiet space for catching up with homework as well as plenty of fun activities for children. Clubs tend to be for primary school children, but some do offer care for children up to the age of 14 (and up to 16 for children with special educational needs). Most breakfast, after school and holiday play schemes are linked to local schools.

Schools now offer a variety of activities on top of the normal school day such as music, art, sport or additional study support.


A home carer or nanny would be someone that looks after your children in your own home. Because they are looking after children in your own home they are not required to be registered with Ofsted but some choose to go on a voluntary register. If you go through an agency you may need to pay a finders fee.

If you arrange a nanny or home childcarer directly you become their employer. This means you become responsible for recruiting an appropriate person; carrying out a criminal record check; ensuring they are trained; agreeing terms and conditions and taking care of their pay including tax and National Insurance Contributions.


A babysitter is someone who temporarily cares for children on behalf of their parents or guardians. Babysitters are generally responsible for planning activities (games, sports, art) or supervising play dates. However, some babysitters will have other responsibilities such as cooking, feeding, transportation and helping with homework. Above all, a babysitter is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the children whilst in the care of the babysitter.
The majority of babysitting jobs are considered as part-time jobs, paid by the hour, by either specific occasion or regularly scheduled (every day from 3pm - 6pm or every Saturday night, for example). Salaries for babysitters range widely depending on hours, experience and location. You can find a babysitter by using a specialist agency (which will more than likely charge you a fee) or by advertising yourself. Babysitting agencies will often be listed on the internet.
Five essential tips for choosing a babysitter

  1. Interview the sitter (click here for guidance on questions to ask)
  2. Ask for at least two references and follow up with the referees yourself.
  3. Follow your instincts. Don't use them if you have doubts.
  4. Ask friends, family and colleagues if they can recommend any babysitters or agencies that they regularly use.
  5. Will the sitter be prepared to act in the case of an emergency (first aid and infant CPR)?

"The Family Information Service (FIS) have not vetted any agency and inclusion on this website does not constitute a recommendation. Babysitters are not registered with Ofsted; however, they can be registered on the voluntary Ofsted Childcare Register if they meet the requirements. More information is available at Parents must take care to check credentials.
Please note that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea takes no responsibility for content of external websites”.

Babysitters of Kensington & Chelsea Babysitters of Kensington & Chelsea was founded in 2011 by Kensington resident, Anna Cameron. They specialise in providing an easy way for parents across West and South West London to book a reliable, experienced and caring babysitter. The babysitters listed with the agency have all completed a strict registration process and parents and guardians can book babysitters online, eliminating the need for cash. The agency charge a flat rate per hour with no hidden registration, subscription or booking fees.To find a babysitter in Kensington and Chelsea please refer to the agency 'Babysitters of Kensington and Chelsea' you can also contact them via telephonem email.

Telephone 020 7193 2925

Last Updated 10/05/2021

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