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By Sue Cowleyeducational author and trainer

Sue Cowley reveals what parents really look for when choosing childcare and offers valuable advice on the best ways to ‘sell’ your setting

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Parents now have access to a wide choice of early years settings, such as preschools, nurseries and childminders. Visiting different settings will help parents to make a decision about the best childcare option for their child. But what do parents want to find out when they come to your setting? And what makes them choose one setting over another?

When parents visit your setting, there are various factors that will help them feel it is the right place for their child (or not). This is partly to do with the practicalities, but also about whether the child will be happy, safe and successful in the setting. There will be many questions they want to ask…

Practicalities of your setting

  • Is the setting in a good/convenient location? For some parents this is about the ease of the onward journey to work; others will consider whether the location feels safe and pleasant.
  • What are the transport options to and from the setting? Some parents want a setting within walking distance of the home; others want to know whether traffic is going to be an issue when dropping off their child.
  • What hours can the setting offer? Parents might need childcare that fits in with their working hours, or with picking up another child from school.
  • How much will it cost to send my child to this setting? This is especially important for parents on low wages, or those whose children are too young to receive the nursery grant.
  • What age must my child be to attend the setting? A private nursery or nanny will often take babies; parents of younger children will want to know whether the child needs to be toilet trained to attend your setting.
  • What happens during holidays? Working parents might need to know whether your setting is able to offer childcare during the school holidays.
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