Childcare - How far in advance?
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  1. #1
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    Default Childcare - How far in advance?

    On average, how far ahead would you say your families have contacted you for childcare? I know we hear stories of families enquiring way, way in advance, sometimes even before the child is born, and then we hear the other extreme where parents don't even have time for settling in visits before they want to start. What's the sensible average though?

    In the past, the parents I ended up working with contacted me just a few weeks before they needed me and I really liked that time frame, but I'm wondering if that's the norm in other areas? Just curious.

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    I have had a few parents contact me whilst they are pregnant and have told them to contact me agin once the little one has been born and they have a clearer idea of what they actually need as I seem to get the calls saying not really sure what they need maybe 2 or 3 days a week, no idea what days either ! Most of my spaces normally occur when current ones move on to school in the September so I normally start planning around the April if I need to fill the space for September but I have been lucky the last few years as there has always been someone waiting for an up coming space. This summer I only have 1 leaving and the children that are already here have taken the extra hours, next year I have 3 leaving for school but one of them has a new sibling due later in the year so they will take their sister's space.
    Pixie Dust

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    I get the extremes... just pregnant and looking for care when child is 12 mths, looking for care to start the next day, and then, I had an afterschool request 2 1/2 yrs in advance.

    I tend to have a change over in September as children go off to school, so i know what spaces are coming up. One of my current schoolies mums is expecting in the autumn ... we've penciled babe in for the one day space i KNOW I have available in sept 21. Nothing set in stone, until babe is here and all plans can go ahead.

    I do tell parents of bumps to contact me when babe arrives and they know what they want!
    Otherwise I either take details and say I will contact them if /as/when a space occurs , but i also generally tell them if i think a space will come up .... i have had 4 other enquiries ... 2 for Sept 21, 1 for Summer 21 and 1 isn't sure, but thinks summer/Sept 21. I can't possibly do all of them, so as and when I know who is moving on/ what is happening, I will contact the parent whose request best fills the space! It's a nightmare!
    I get the 'very in advance' calls, because people know I'm full and want a chance of getting in, but then sometimes a cheeky last minute call pays off as unexpectedly a space can turn up!

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    It depends whether I’ve got expected or unexpected vacancies. The expected ones are mainly in September when children move on to school and they’ll often be filled 6 months in advance. I usually know by the Easter who I’m going to be have starting in the September. Occasionally there’ll be a space for September that doesn’t get filled until July or maybe August, but I’m always confident I’ll get someone in last minute.

    The unexpected vacancies pop up less frequently and are not something I’d foreseen - parent made redundant, family moves away or a space becomes available at nursery. I try to fill those spaces with families who want an immediate start although I will wait a short while if they’re don’t need care straight away, especially if I think they’ll be a good fit with my other families.

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