Posted on October 5, 2018
Choosing the right childcare is a very complex issue, with many options available all offering various benefits and values for money. These complexities are magnified when dealing with children who may have special needs, dietary requirements or behavioural issues. Selecting the best combinations is an important decision and crucial to the smooth running of family life. Families expand, parents separate, while work and children’s schedules become increasingly more complex. All this can add to the stress of being a parent in the 21st century!
While it is the parent(s) who are required to address issues surrounding core childcare needs, we can assist by providing back-up cover for eventualities such as: evenings, weekends, shift patterns, school closure days, staff sickness, child sickness, extra working hours, training days, exclusion days due to sickness or just some well-deserved respite. Day care is often inflexible and is traditionally booked in blocks. Childcare costs should only be incurred where and when it is genuinely required and not just because it has to be booked and paid for in advance, whether your child attends or not!
Home based childcare is not always an option considered by many families although in many cases it can be the most viable and cost effective option. Nannies are paid for by the hour/ day/ week and this is for the nannies services not per child. In households with more than two children this can therefore be a cheaper option than day care.
Nannies are also able to facilitate dropping off and collection of older siblings to school and out of school activities. This can buy back more of your precious time each day. Nannies duties may also include any household chores directly linked to the care of the children such as cleaning their rooms, changing beds, washing ironing food preparation etc.
Historically employing a nanny has been viewed as being a luxury only available for the very wealthy; the face of childcare is changing and now as a result of OFSTED regulations allowing nannies to become voluntarily registered. Flexible nanny services can be obtained from Freedom which also means you would not need to get involved with employment issues and can access services to fit your changing needs.
If required, Freedom Childcare can also help your family recruit a nanny. Our standard strict vetting and recruitment procedures are applied and you are introduced to Nanny’s who meet your unique needs and requirements. We can then provide you with back up cover for sickness and holidays. We can also provide your Nanny with ongoing training and development opportunities ensuring they are kept abreast of current information and ensuring that their mandatory training is regularly updated.
Family and Home Support
We have been assisting parents with their childcare needs since 2001. To ensure we can really understand your family and your childcare needs we meet all our families face to face in their own homes. This can be organised at a time to fit around your busy schedule. This unique service ensures we can gather all the information we need to accurately match our staff with your family, resulting in successful pairing.
Whilst mostly rewarding, parenting can be a difficult and exhausting job and parents could benefit from support from time to time! All families are different and we don’t have a one size fits all solution; however we will work with your family to achieve the best possible outcomes. Our help is designed to give families the support they need before issues can spiral out of control.
Our services can be provided privately or after receiving referrals from the local authority.
The following although not an exhaustive list gives you some examples of the type of help we can offer:
- Schedules for household chores
- Behaviour strategies
- Parenting skills
- Child development knowledge
- Health and hygiene
- Home Organisation/Functionality
- Social awareness
- Accessing meaningful pastimes for all family members
All parents can receive help with the cost of their childcare. This can be through salary sacrifice vouchers or Child Tax Credits, creating up to 80% reduction in the cost of your childcare. With the introduction tax free childcare which is being introduced in autumn 2015 further savings will be possible.
Home based childcare is now a viable option for families from all financial backgrounds and can in many cases be the best solution.
The Tax Credit Help Line – 08453 003900 – will be able to advise you on you eligibility, and the Government website has advice and information on how to get help with childcare costs.
Posted on September 3, 2018
If you’re looking for a great way to spend time with your kids this summer, why not take your family meal outdoors and indulge in some alfresco dining? Not only is this a nice way to make the most of the warmer weather, but it’s also a great way to shake-up a family meal and introduce the kids to new foods and flavours.
However, while the main objective of your BBQ should be to enjoy great food with even better company, it’s essential that you stay mindful of the hazards involved in throwing a BBQ. Even for the most experienced, cooking meat to a safe temperature on a grill can be a tricky, but is key if you want to avoid causing any upset tummies. Remember, charred on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cooked on the inside. To help kill off any harmful bacteria and get an even cook throughout, try marinating your meat beforehand.
As well as this, there’s a host of fire and gas issues you should consider when planning for your BBQ. On average, half of under-5s attend A&E every year following an avoidable accident. With this in mind, it’s recommended you position your BBQ on a flat surface away from children and pets so you can concentrate on the task at hand and minimise the risk of any accidents occuring round very flames and hot coals.
To give you a helping hand, KETTLER has created the following guide on how to throw a safe and successful BBQ with your kids this summer. It includes advice on cooking meat to the correct temperature and lots of helpful fire and gas safety tips, as well as useful information on BBQ fuel disposal.
Posted on August 24, 2018
With just two months before the Childcare Voucher scheme is set to close to new entrants, opposition MPs in Parliament have signed up to support keeping it open – your voice is being heard!
An Early-Day Motion, stating the government should not close the scheme without a proper analysis of the winners and losers, calls for MPs to have the opportunity to debate and vote on the proposed changes in Parliament before they are fully implemented.
As you know, the Childcare Voucher scheme is due to close to new entrants on 4th October 2018. Many ordinary working families stand to lose out if Childcare Vouchers close to new entrants and time is running out.
Here’s how you can make a difference and Keep Childcare Vouchers open:
- Contact your local MP. The delayed closure of the scheme in March shows the difference people can make. Contact your MP on behalf of your business and ask them to put pressure on the government to keep Childcare Vouchers open – its free, easy to do, and takes less than five minutes. Just visit www.theyworkforyou.com, enter your postcode to find out who represents you, and click on the green “Send a message” button to contact them.
- Share this campaign with your networks. Encourage parents who use your services as well as staff and colleagues to write to their MP. As the deadline to join the scheme approaches, they may lose out unless the government keeps it open.
- Share this campaign on social media. Use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to demonstrate your support for the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign and follow @Save_CCV for important news and updates on the campaign.
Click here to find out more about the campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers and how you can help spread the word.
Posted on August 3, 2018
How gardening can help you feel good
While a bit of weeding and pruning might not seem like the most energetic of activities, studies show that gardening goes beyond providing a good workout, as it can also be therapeutic and reduce anxiety as well as physical pain.
Research has shown that prolonged light exercise, such as gardening, can burn more calories than a gym session, in spite of feeling much easier to do. This physical exercise, in combination with spending time outdoors being creative and productive, can also improve mood and self-esteem. Amazingly, images and recordings of natural environments alone have been proven to reduce feelings of pain and even improve healing times in hospital wards.
The therapeutic value of gardening is becoming more and more recognised, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, which promoted the positive impact of horticulture and green spaces at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show, with two Chelsea gardens pledged to NHS patients.
Garden tweaks to improve wellbeing
Aside from green-fingered tasks, there a few tweaks that can make your outdoor space reach its full wellbeing potential:
- Create space to sit in
It’s really important to find a place in your garden to enjoy its beauty and serenity. You can choose garden furniture to reflect your taste, making it an elegant and useful part of your living space. Whether it’s with al-fresco meals at a dining set, basking in the glorious sun on a lounger or enjoying some tranquillity with a good book on an outdoor sofa, take the time to relax in your outdoor space.
- Grow from seed
Grow plants from seed either on your own or as a fun way to get children to experience the joys of gardening. The enjoyment you get is timeless, and people of all ages will not grow tired of seeing their seedlings germinate and then grow on in the garden.
- Try your hand at growing fruit and veg
There’s nothing more exciting and rewarding than nurturing tasty fruit and vegetables to put on the kitchen table. Buying vegetable seeds and planting them with your children is an affordable and easy activity for the school holidays and teaches them how food is grown.
- Fill your garden with plants that welcome wildlife
By growing flora that attracts bees and butterflies, your garden will become a hive of activity. Plants from the Lamiaceae family, including lavender, rosemary and sage are best as they’re also low maintenance and easy to keep.
For more useful advice, have a look at these handy tips on creating a feel-good garden from RHS award-winning designer Matt Keightley.
The health benefits
Whether you have a lifetime of gardening experience or are just getting started, we’ve created a handy visual guide. From the physical health benefits to improved mental wellbeing, our guide covers the benefits of outdoor living across all age groups.
Posted on June 5, 2018
Freedom are providing support for this invaluable research with creches and childcare professionals. We are trying to help the project by informing families in Portsmouth and Southampton about the milestones this project requires.
Please also feel free to call us on 0800 0851444 if you have any questions.
Posted on May 3, 2018
Scheme Extended by 6 Months
Plans to end the Government’s Childcare Vouchers scheme will be delayed by six months, ministers have announced.
But in a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds made the concession to extend the scheme by six months.
Childcare vouchers are being replaced by an alternative system called Tax-Free Childcare, but this scheme has suffered a succession of problems, including website issues.
The exact date on which the Childcare Vouchers scheme will now close to new applicants has not been announced yet, but it’s expected it’ll be around October.
For full info on how the scheme works, and the pros and cons, see our Childcare Vouchers guide.
What are Childcare Vouchers?
Childcare vouchers can save many parents with kids aged up to 15 (16 if they’re disabled) over £1,000 a year on childcare as they allow you to pay for childcare out of your pre-tax and national insurance income.
They are only available through your employer, but lots of companies sign up to the scheme. The vouchers can be used to pay for childcare Including Ofsted registered Flexi Nannies. and Ofsted Registered recruited nannies.
How to Apply for Childcare Vouchers
The process will vary depending on who you work for. Yet in short, you need to:
- Ask your HR department if they offer childcare vouchers.
- If they do, you’ll need to complete a salary sacrifice agreement. Your employer will help you do this. If you’re on basic-rate tax, it works something like this…You give up £1,000 of PRE-TAX salary in exchange for £1,000 of childcare vouchers. As you would have paid tax and National Insurance on that salary though, it would only have been worth £700ish in your pocket. So by exchanging salary for vouchers, you’re about £300 better off.
- After your application has been submitted to your employer, it will reduce your salary in the next payroll by the requested amount and arrange for vouchers to be provided to you.
Posted on April 25, 2018
Wedding season is fast approaching and Freedom Childcare will be out and about at a variety of locations showcasing our Wedding Day Childcare Services.
Whether you are booking for this year or in the future we would be delighted to discuss your plans and how our bespoke Childcare packages can enhance your special day. Sandra generally attends the wedding fair as she has worked for Freedom for the past 12 years she can help with any questions you may have. We recently attended a wedding fair at the Concord Club in Eastleigh who offer a variety of wedding packages.
All of our Wedding clients tell us that although childcare was an additional expenses they hadn’t considered it was really worth while and ensured the children were entertained and kept untimely interruptions throughout critical parts of the day to a minimum.
“Just a quick email to let you know how delighted we were with your staff at our wedding! They were amazing! Kayleigh was so professional and the girls took to her straight away! She was better than my expectations of a nanny. Thank you and thank you to your team”
“Thank you for organising Ann Colwill to babysit our 4 year old son on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd April. We were so pleased with Ann. She arrived promptly and immediately took over our son. She was prepared for the evening and how she would entertain him. She immediately engaged him and quickly built a rapport, so much so, he didn’t even look up when we said goodbye as we left! It was so lovely for us to be able to enjoy our evenings out, knowing he was in such good hands.”
Posted on April 18, 2018
Freedom Childcare have developed Craft Bags that are a great addition to creches for weddings or events. The bags are designed for 5-12 year olds and have everything needed for the creation.
The children love them and parents quite like them also! The craft bags are made from 100% natural materials and are fully recyclable.
Throughout the year we attend several events to promote the business and the bags can be bought as a stand alone item. With our hotel partners they are stocking them to keep children entertained during their stay.
If you would like a craft bag please call 0800 0851444 and we will post one out to you, they cost £5 each plus postage and packaging.
Posted on April 9, 2018
Weddings are such fantastic event for the whole family however if you have children attending you do need to consider what they will be doing whilst the adults are catching up, drinking, listening to speeches etc. Weddings are about families fusing creating a day everyone can enjoy is the secret. Providing childcare in the form of Nannies, Babysitters or a mobile creche can alleviate anxious parents, bored children and compromised expectations.
Creating this any day of the year is a challenge we embrace, and time and time again create a bespoke package that meets and exceeds everyone’s expectations—doing this on an annually epic evening such as New Year’s Eve adds an additional dynamic –I am proud to say our Team were again sensational!
Wedding Creche and Babysitting
Rhinefield House – 31 December 2017
I just wanted to send an email saying thank you to you and your staff (especially Emma) for their amazing work and efforts on our wedding on New Year’s Eve. The did a fantastic job, all the parents were so happy that the kids were having such fun and were entertained throughout the day and looked after at night.
My sister especially loved the creche for her kids and I know that Floyd would have stayed in there all day if he could! All the kids benefitted, as well as the parents. My sister really appreciated the contact via text and updates on how the kids were doing, she said it put her mind at ease for the whole day. It just let the parents enjoy the day that little bit more knowing the kids were in safe hands and having a great time.
Please pass on all our compliments to your staff, we cannot fault them and so glad we made the decision to have Emma and the team come along. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the creche in full swing, which was probably a good thing as I may have ended up in there for hours with the kids! But from what I did see, and from all the praises the parents are singing, the service was second to none.
Thank you so much again, you were invaluable.
All the best,
Posted on January 4, 2018
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a portable bed for your children with this great idea. Just sew four pillow cases together, insert the pillows and you have a bed for all purposes. Fold in the top pillow to raise your child’s head.
This pillow bed is also easy to keep clean as the pillows just slip out and the covers can go in the washing machine. Great for travelling and sleepovers!