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Childcare - relatives and friends

Advice on the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a friend or relative to provide private childcare or babysitting services for you and your baby.
Over half of working women choose relatives or friends to care for their children. Although friends or relatives may not be professionals there are several advantages to this childcare solution.


You and the carer know each other's views and she or he is likely to genuinely care about your child's happiness. A family member or friend may be able to offer flexible hours. It could be cheaper and possibly free. If the carer is your partner or baby?s granny this may be a wonderful way for them to bond. A friend with her own baby could also be a good option, providing a potential friend for your baby. A friend or relative may also be familiar with your home and vice versa, which may help to erase the separation from your child and will probably be able to continue to look after your child if he or she is ill.


How will you tell your friend, mother or mother-in-law if you become irritated or disagree with their views? Granny may be a fantastic granny, but is she the best person to care for your baby all day? Does she have old-fashioned views which conflict with yours? Will you feel guilty and unable to ask for flexibility or favours, especially if you do not pay for childcare.

A relative does not have to be registered with the local council, however a carer who is not a relative and receives payment must be registered. Occasional babysitters are exempt. Contact your local council for more information.

  • Begin with a discussion when you both discuss your concerns and areas of childcare you feel strongly about. Try saying what you really think, it is better to air issues at the beginning, rather than things going horribly wrong at a later stage.
  • Discuss discipline, hours, illness, holidays, feeding, hygiene, safety, attitude to crying, contact with other children, and cancellation.
  • Discuss payment, a relative may be looking after your child may not want cash, but you may wish to give a present or provide a weekend away now and again.
  • Make the arrangement for a fixed time, after that you may wish to change things.

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I would like a friend to look after my child while i am working and want to know the legal issues that relate to this issue.
by Ladybug78 17th Feb 2009, 9:40am