Babysitters, Au Pairs and Activities for Children

Understand the choices you have for childcare and toddler activities in the United Kingdom...

There are a number of websites that provide a baby-sitting and au pair searching service. Amongst the most well-known are:

The hourly rate for babysitters is around £5 an hour. Costs vary depending on where families live.

Au pairs are usually youngsters between the ages of 17 and 27 who live with the family. They do not have to have any formal training, and should not be left in sole charge of children under two, according to the website The average pay for an au pair in the UK is between £55-60 per week, for up to 25 hours a week.

Toddler Groups

There are a huge number of very well-subscribed toddler groups in the UK, and a wide choice of activities can usually be found in any small town. They are called mother and baby groups, and they are a great way of meeting likeminded people with children of similar ages. The most popular groups include baby yoga, baby massage, baby swimming, music and rhythm, and baby gym.

For a list of local groups see the local authority website, or the following resources:

Activities for Toddlers

Most towns and villages have a play ground, and it is usually well looked after by the local authority. Playgrounds are free, with age appropriate facilities.

There are also a growing number of indoor play areas, usually called 'Soft Play'. A list of the nearest soft play areas can be found on the UK's Soft Play Area Guide.

In addition there are a large number of theme parks and family attractions.

Useful Resources for Parents