Working Parents

Daddy Day Care – The Cornish Way

As my wife’s year of maternity leave came to an end we sat down to contemplate who would look after our child when she went back to work 3 days a week.

My suggestion of boarding school was voted out by committee and after some back and forth over child minder vs nursery we opted for the former. The only question now was how many days we needed? My wife was going back doctoring three days a week, and with me being self-employed, a day of DDC (Daddy Day Care) was definitely an option. With my wife’s reduced income, pressure was on me more than ever to pay the shackling mortgage and bills each month, 3 days with the childminder would be financially more viable. After much deliberation and knowing I wouldn’t get this chance again I thought ‘sod it’ and made the commitment.

It was the single best decision I’ve ever made, and now every Wednesday I get to hang out with my best mate.

The only problem is, I thought there would be more of us (dads that day care that is). The reality is we’re still a rare breed and in the minority at playgroups and swimming lessons.

Cornwall has a greater percentage of home working freelancers than anywhere else in the UK but even here in Kernow it’s rare to find a dad that does weekday care of their kids. I’m sure there are more of us than ever before but this particular wolf pack is spread thinly. The bottom line is, it’s hard to find other dads with similar age kids outside our normal networks.

This isn’t to say hanging out with mums is not fun. It is. Whether it’s at a parents and babies fitness class with Elizabeth at fired up fitness or a more relaxing coffee and cake, mums are always swift to lend a hand if it’s needed or have a good old parenting chinwag. Don’t get me wrong, this is lovely. I’m up for a heart to heart about the best cream for nipple sores, or a deep and meaningful about Gina Ford and if her book is indeed the baby bible or best burned (as our midwife instructed us to do).

I’m really, really up for all that parenting chat (honest) … but mostly I’d rather be hanging out with my fellow dads and seeing who can dress their kid in the most embarrassing outfit.

Where is the toddler surfing club? (where one dad hauls a train of pushchairs down the beach while the dads surf nearby). Where are the long distance, baby carrying, coast path walking groups? And when is someone going to open climbing wall, soft play area and cafe in same building?

So male Tot’s About readers, if you’re keen to hang out with the dads that day care and have a great time while doing it then join our newly formed Facebook Page:  www.facebook.com/cornwallddc

Top 10 tips for choosing childcare

There comes a time after having a baby that many of us need to think about returning to work to pay the bills.  There are many different childcare options available and although daunting at first, these top ten tips from the Department for Education should help you work out the best option or options for you.

Top ten tips for choosing the right childcare setting for you and your children

  1. What type of care is best for you and your child. e.g., ‘group care’ is normally with a team of staff working with a number of children.  Childminders work at home and care for a smaller number of children.
  2. Are the staff and children talking and playing together and are the children inspired and encouraged to ask questions?
  3. Do the children have the chance to take part in a range of different activities? Does the location have plenty of space inside and outside – how easy is it for children to move freely between the two?
  4. Will you see your child’s paintings and other work – how will the staff talk to you about what and how your child is learning?
  5. Think about safety – do they have finger guards on doors? Do they have visitor control systems in use? How do they report incidents to parents?  Ask to see the written safeguarding policy – every group childcare provider should have one.
  6. Look at the staffing levels. A nursery or children’s centre should have at least one member of staff for every eight children aged between three and five-years-old, and there should be a key person with special responsibility for your child. A childminder could be caring for up to six children under eight.
  7. Do staff have relevant qualifications?  Did you know that quality is generally better in childcare settings where the staff have qualifications, particularly if at least one member of staff involved with the children is an early years graduate?
  8. How does the nursery, pre-school or childminder deal with misbehaviour, or homesickness? Again, ask to see the written policy.
  9. Is there a healthy, balanced diet on offer? Ask about how they manage children’s dietary requirements.
  10. You should always visit the nursery, childminder or pre-school when it is in full flow, and take your child with you to see what they think.

Mums in Business

Want to start a business?
Starting a business is tough for anyone but with a young family, making that decision is even harder.  Before you start there are some important points to consider;

Your business idea
Your idea may be a passion or something you are good at but you need to research your market and make sure there is a need for your product. Don’t over rely on feedback from friends and family.

Have a plan
The most successful businesses have a clear idea of where they are heading. Consider why you want to set up in business; is it to make more money, to have greater flexibility to be with your family or to follow a dream? Make sure you set realistic targets and consider how you will achieve them.

Get Advice
Don’t just focus on sales and marketing. You need to consider the tax and legal implications or you could end up with financial penalties. Many accountants and solicitors will spend an hour with you free of charge to make sure you start off on the right foot.

Get Customers
To run a successful business you need customers and like it or not you will need to become a successful sales person. Make time every day for selling and marketing activities and speak to other successful business people for tips and advice to get new customers.

Don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to run your own business but make sure you remember why you are doing it and good luck.