Practical Life in Edinburgh

Childcare, Babysitting in Edinburgh

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Child care is increasingly needed in a society where both parents work. There are a variety of options in Edinburgh to fit all needs. Always research your options carefully before leaving your child with someone else.

There are some common factors to evaluate in any situation:
Budget: It is important to know what you are able to spend to help determine where you should look. Think about the number of hours and time to day you will need a sitter to determine your total costs.
Language: If your child does not speak the dominant language, English, you may search for a speciality group or service so they are comfortable.
Age of Children: Care for infants (0-6 months) is quite limited. Above that age, parents should have no problem finding care. Some schools require that children be potty-trained.
Service Provided: Some facilities offer "drop-in" care which you can use on a sporadic basis. Other places require a contract and a regular schedule.

The government offers a helpful site on

Scottish Child care. Here you can find general advice, schools, and links.

Child care Vouchers

Child care Vouchers are provided to help cover the cost of childcare. These are usually given by the employer through a government supported program. A helpful fact sheet explains all aspects of the program.


When choosing a care center, check staff turnover. Consistency in caregivers is a major benefit for your child. Proximity is often the deciding factor when choosing child care. This is an important element in creating a happy situation, and a happy life. Among your options, there are:


Nurseries are run by a team of staff with activities planned for entertainment and education. This is also a place for children to make friends outside the home and learn new social skills. Private Nurseries are found all over Scotland.


Playgroups may work in partnership with local government to provide free part-time pre-school for three and four year old. These groups may have specialities such as Gaelic or Croileagans.

Out of School Clubs

These clubs are for school-age children to play and learn. They may be held at or near schools and be set-up by families. They must be registered with the Care Commission.


Different facilities have different prices, but in general you should expect to pay 158 GBP per week, per child in Scotland. Prices in the city are usually slightly higher than in the country. Also, children below 2-years-old may incur additional costs.

There's no such thing as standard payment when it comes to care provided by friends and relatives so this is something you'll need to negotiate between you along with other essential details such as holidays, hours, sick days and the like.


Babysitter's are generally employed on a temporary or short-term basis. Often a friend of the family or relative is employed for an evening to watch over the child at the parents' residence. In the UK, babysitter's may be called "childminders".

Usually young women are the babysitter's and may offer their services as a business. A babysitter should have civil liability insurance and the babysitter's parents must be informed if the person is a minor. Only baby-sitters aged 15 or more can ask for payment.


The cost of care provided by a childminder is usually slightly lower than the equivalent cost of a nursery. This is because the overhead is lower and their status as self-employed avoids the charges of tax or national insurance contributions. Expect to pay about 155 GBP per child per week in Scotland.

With friends and family, there is not a standard payment. It will be up to you and the babysitter to negotiate a reasonable rate.

How to Find a Sitter

Most families find a babysitter by word-of-mouth, letting friends and family know that they are looking. Parents may also try posting on bulletin boards at community centres, grocery stores, or expat hang-outs.

A great on-line resource is to post on expat classified's, like on Easy Expat's babysitter search.

Other popular sites in which to find babysitter's and childcare are

Update 8/04/2011


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