Types Of Childcare

There are a number of different types of childcare services available in the UK and we will help you find the childcare you are looking for in your area. The type of childcare service you choose for your child will depend on their age and your financial and social circumstances. Here we give you a guide to childcare services in your area, ranging from crèches, nurseries, childminding, babysitters, preschools, nurseries and children's playgroups:


You're most likely to find creches operating in local community centres, leisure centres, or other similar venues and they are designed to provide occasional childcare for children under the age of eight.

Toddler groups

Toddler groups are generally attended by children and their parents together, and offer you the opportunity to socialise with other parents and your child the chance to interact with other children. However, some toddler groups are run by trained staff who will care for your child for an hour or longer while you go shopping, or do some household chores. Toddler groups are aimed at children under five years of age.

Preschools and playgroups

Designed for children aged three to five, preschools and playgroups can be attended on a half-day or full-day basis depending on your child's development and your personal circumstances. Playgroups provide fun but educational childcare for a child to help them interact with other children and learn vital skills they will need when they start school.

Day nurseries

In most cases day nurseries charge a daily, monthly or annual fee for their childcare services and allow you to leave your child for a full working day (or shorter day if you prefer). Specially trained nursery nurses run the day nurseries and can care for children from birth to five-years-old, allowing you to return to full-time employment safe in the knowledge your child is receiving great childcare. Preschool and playgroup activities are often used in day nurseries for older children to prepare them for school.

Out-of-school clubs

Once your child has started school you may want to return to full-time employment. However, there is generally a two-hour gap from when your child finishes school for the day and you finish work. To compensate for this and to encourage more parents to return to work, schools, community centres, and other organisations offer out-of-school clubs for children aged four to 12. This provides safe and stimulating childcare, where children can play and learn outside of school hours.


Registered childminders usually look after children under the age of 12, either at the childminder's home or in your own home, if you prefer. This is a good childcare choice if you need your children to be picked up from a local school and cared for until you get home from work.


Trained nannies offer similar childcare services to a childminder as they care for your child in your own home. However, they can look after children of any age all day long, not just after school. In some cases, a nanny will live in your house so they can be on hand to look after the children whenever you need them to.