Choosing a Childminder

Childcare is becoming an increasingly necessary requirement for parents. With more and more of us needing to work we often require the services of childcare experts.

In this article we will look at selecting a childminder and offer guidance on how to ensure they are the right one for you.

Registered childminders will care for your children in the childminders own home. A childminder can care for up to six children under eight (these may include their own children) but only three can be under the age of five. Childminders generally work between 8am and 6pm, however some may offer extra hours of cover.

Considerations when choosing your childminder -

. Is the childminder loving and caring?

. Are they experienced?

. If they have children do you like their behaviour?

. Are you happy with the house and garden where your child will be cared for?

. Is the house safe and clean?

. How does the childminder plan the day?

. What activities will the childminder do with your children?

. Check the childminder's registration certificate

. Check the childminder's latest inspection report

. Check the childminder's first aid certification

. Check the childminder's insurance certificate

. Does the childminder have a suitable selection of toys and books?

. What meals will be provided?

. Obtain references and speak to the families directly to ask their opinion of the childminder

. Will they be able to do the school run if you require it?

Childminders are self-employed so as a parent you are not responsible for their tax and National Insurance as with a nanny. All registered childminders must complete a basic training course that incorporates first aid. Some childminders will have additional childcare qualifications and will have completed Quality Assurance awards.

Childcare qualifications include -

. Introducing Childminding Practice (ICP)

. Developing Childminding Practice (DCP)

. Extending Childminding Practice (ECP)

. Diploma in Home Based Childcare

. NVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education

Registered childminders will be Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) registered. Ofsted will carry out regular checks on the childminder and their home. Each adult (over 16) living at the childminders house will be police and health checked.

A childminder may care for children from a few months old and are only registered to care for children under eight. Children over eight may be cared for providing they do not adversely affect the care of the younger children.

What should you provide as a parent?

. Inform the childminder of any of your children's allergies and medical requirements.

. The childminder should have yours and your partner's emergency contact details.

. Common courtesy of dropping off and picking up your children punctually.

. Time for your childminder to talk to you regarding your children.

What should your childminder provide to your family?

. A secure, homely environment for your children.

. A structured day to include fun, learning and relaxation.

. Regular feedback about your children's progress together with any problems encountered.

What would you expect to pay for a Childminder?

Costs may vary from £2.60 - £6.00 an hour depending on location and duties.

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