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Return to work

Going back to work can bring a mixture of emotions, and no two people will feel the same way about it. When, how, and if you return to work is entirely down to you and what suits your family best. Just as every child is unique, every family is unique.

If you’re feeling worried about returning to work, you’re not alone. Research from PACEY revealed the true extent of the emotional impact that many mothers face. Nine out of ten mums (90%) said they felt anxious about returning to work after having a child, and around half of those (48%) felt very anxious. 

The decision as to who would look after their children was a major worry – half of the respondents (48%) were anxious that they wouldn't find suitable childcare. Read more in our news story here. 

Childcare providers play a vital role in reducing parents’ concerns during the transition back to work and in supporting children to settle in. Explore the childcare options available to you and consider the type of setting you think will best suit your child. Spend time with potential childcare providers to see how they respond to your little one and the other children at their setting. 

If you're a parent whose child is about to start childcare and you're returning to work, we have the tips, advice and guidance to support you. 

Useful resources

Are you thinking about staying at home with your children? Explore becoming a registered childminder

Top tips

If you're a parent returning to work, we understand the emotion and anxiety you might be feeling. Here are our top tips to take the stress out of returning to work:

  • Do your research and plan ahead. Often childcare settings have waiting lists, so it’s a good idea to start your search early. Spend time choosing a childcare setting that’s right for you and your family. It’s important that you feel happy, comfortable and confident with the person or people who’ll be caring for your little one. 
  • Think about settling in days for your child. Many parents stay for a couple of sessions, then do some mini sessions to support a gentle transition. Ask your childcarer how they usually help children to settle in. In time, a good childcare provider will develop a strong bond with your child, helping them to feel happy and safe in their new environment.
  • Share your child’s likes and dislikes. This will help your childcare provider to get to know your child as an individual. It will also mean they can lay out some of your child’s favourite things to make them feel at home.
  • Speak to your employer early if you’re thinking about changing your hours. You might be considering part-time or flexi-hours. Asking about these things in advance will help you to feel prepared.
  • Share your worries. Talk to your childcare provider about any concerns you have and keep the dialogue flowing. A strong working relationship will benefit all of you and provide stability for your child.
  • Choose qualityFinding the right childcare will lessen your anxiety about returning to work. A childcare provider who is a member of PACEY is demonstrating their commitment to professional standards and delivering high-quality childcare.