What is the best for my child? SHOW
This is personal to individual families depending on their requirements, and it depends on what you are comfortable with.
For example, childminders are usually more flexible especially for parents who are shift workers. While day nurseries offer full day or sessional care and have set opening and closing times.
The environments will also be different, you will need to think about whether you want more home-based childcare or not.
You know your child best, so look for a setting that you feel is suitable for your child.
View more guidance on choosing a childcare setting.
What childcare options are available for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) SHOW
We have a list of local childcare in and around Southampton which have provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
If you need respite care for your child you can also view options for short breaks and respite.
For further information and available support you can view our SEND pages or speak to our Brokerage Service.
What is blended childcare? SHOW
Blended childcare is early years providers working in partnership to provide the childcare for a child. For example, this could be:
- A childminder and a pre-school
- Two pre-schools
- A day nursery and a pre-school
- An out of school /holiday provider and a pre-school
What if I have concerns or complaints about a childcare provider? SHOW
You should always raise any concerns you may have with your childcare provider. Your childcare provider should have a Complaints Policy, but here are some useful tips on what you should do:
- Bring up any concerns you have in a formal chat with the childcare provider, listening to the provider's view point
- Make suggestions on how to solve the issue. Can you reach a compromise?
- Agree on a plan of action. If necessary, agree a time and date to review the plan
If things don’t improve, you can check your notice period in your contract and seek alternative childcare. Southampton's Family Information Service can help you find alternative childcare.
If you cannot resolve a concern or you feel unable to talk to the childcare provider then you can contact Ofsted's Early Years Complaints Helpline on 0300 123 4666. Ofsted can only help with complaints or concerns about the quality of care – not with complaints or disputes about fees or contracts.
If you are a parent/carer or member of the public and have specific concerns about a person who is working with or in a position of trust with children or young people and are in need of advice or support, please contact the Children's Resource Service on 02380 83 3004 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm and Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm) or 02380 23 3344 (weekends, Bank Holidays and outside of office hours).
What help is available to pay for childcare? SHOW
Whether you're a new parent, have a toddler, are out of work, or are just struggling to pay for childcare, there is a lot of financial support available to you, depending on your situation.
Please see the Help paying for childcare section for details.