Written by: Shani Fowler
Family holidays are great and they’re what we all look forward to, but even on a family holiday mum and dad might want the odd night out or day trip somewhere where, catching up with the adult side of life. But how? Trusty Nana and Granddad are back in blighty along with Aunty Susan, so who can you trust to look after the kids for a few precious holiday hours? If you are wanting childcare whilst you are on holiday, it’s often better to research the options available to you before setting off. Options are usually booking a family friendly resort, using short term babysitting services or taking a nanny. Let’s explore each of these options.
Family friendly resorts
Family friendly resorts are the way most of us manage. You can source a hotel that is a family friendly resort by making it part of your holiday search criteria. These resorts offer day care and/or babysitting services. These resorts are geared up to entertain and meet the needs of children; kids clubs give the opportunity of the children making new friends. They usually have different groups for different age ranges. Normally you are able to book crèche or club sessions once you arrive at your resort and sessions last around two hours. They are usually free, as the charge has likely been built into the overall cost of your holiday. Babysitting at family resorts however is normally an additional charge. Some hotels allow you to book childcare on an hourly basis, which is great if you want to pop to the spa, or have a leisurely lunch with the other, half!
If you are self-catering you may just wish to go out for one night during that holiday, you will need to establish what child care is available nearby. It is usually best to check with the letting agents as an initial starting point, or contact local childcare agencies to find out if they provide short-term babysitting or child minding.
Take a nanny
If you can afford to, you could always choose to take a nanny on holiday with you to ease the holiday pressure, allowing you a bit of time to yourselves – but this option won’t be accessible to everyone. Once the holiday and all the extras are paid for there is likely little left in the budget to then fund a nanny. But if you can and you want to, there are agencies that specialise in providing holiday nannies. Agencies usually offer a varying range of holiday nanny packages; they will be able to look after your children for an agreed number of hours per day or evening. But you will need plenty in that holiday budget, because as well as paying for the fees for the nanny you also have to meet the costs of travel and accommodation too.
Checking before Check in
If you are arranging child care through agencies or individuals, it’s recommended that you make sure the person who will be looking after your child/children has been Disclosure and Barring Service checked. This is the service replacing CRB checks; also make sure you are happy that they have sufficient experience in looking after children, following up with references. If at all possible, get the person who will be looking after your children to meet them beforehand.
Child care ratios
In the UK there are stipulations as to how many children can be looked after by an adult, it’s wise to make sure you are happy that these are being adhered to. Childcare registered in the UK should be as follows:-
One member of staff for every three children, up to two years of age.
One member of staff for every four children, aged between two years and three years.
One member of staff for every eight children, aged between three years and eight years.
If the ratio is recorded in the holiday brochure, make sure this refers to childcare adults, not the total number of adults on the site. Also again, make sure staff have been DBS checked and the resort has a good child care policy. Find out what your child is likely to be doing during the hours of any childcare. Also importantly, establish what their first aid policy is, are there first aid kits accessible to staff and are they qualified to do first aid? And is there access to a nurse or doctor? If you are somewhere warm you need to know how your children will be protected from the sun, if they lose their hats or need further sun cream will they be catered for?
What to take
As well as knowing what is going to happen, you need to know what to take, such as nappies, spare clothes, food or toys. It’s better going prepared than having to race round trying to gather everything up.
Once you are happy you have all the necessary provisions in place, all that remains is to ensure you enjoy it and relax, because as we all know – it passes very quickly.