Unregistered childcare is more informal than registered childcare.
Unregistered childcare includes:
- family and friends who look after your child
- sessions where parents attend, such as parent and toddler groups
If you use unregistered childcare you will not be able to claim financial help with childcare costs.
Many parents rely on friends or relatives to recommend a babysitter. However, whoever you use, it is your responsibility to make sure the babysitter will:
- act responsibly
- safeguard the wellbeing of your child(ren)
- maintain the security of your home
There’s no law about the minimum age of a babysitter.
There’s no law that states the age at which a child can be left on their own.
The NSPCC (National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children) advises that children under the age of 13 should not be left alone.
Parent and Toddler Groups
Parent and Toddler Groups don’t have to register with Ofsted. This is because:
- they are voluntary groups which usually operate for under two hours
- parents or carers attend the session
They allow parents, carers and children under the age of five to socialise and participate in activities.
Anyone who cares for a child can attend, including parents, grandparents, carers and childminders.
Nannies and Au Pairs
Nannies and Au Pairs are 'unregistered childcare' unless they're already registered with Ofsted's Voluntary Childcare Register as a Home Childcarer.
Nannies are employed by parents to look after children in their own home and may live in or out. A Nanny may be:
- a qualified childcarer
- experienced in child care but not qualified
Au Pairs are employed by families to help in the home, but generally have few formal childcare qualifications. They shouldn’t be employed specifically to look after children on their own, as they are usually placed with a family to help them learn English and need time to study.
They will often help with some chores including maybe some babysitting, collecting from school or light housework, but should not be full-time child carers.