Looking For A Childminder



Looking For A Childminder


Making a responsible choice

First of all check whether your Childminder is registered.  Childminders need to be registered if they are caring for children under the age of 8 years, for two hours or more for reward unless they are exempt.


Childminding is a Business

You will expect your Childminder to be reliable and it is important that the Childminder can also depend on your punctuality.  You both have commitments to consider, so timing can be an important issue.


If you are not using the arranged sessions for any reason, due to holidays, sickness or family changes, it is normal for the Childminder to charge a fee.  This will be set out in your contract.  It is usual that both you and your childminder will be expected to give advance notice of holiday dates.


There are no regulations about charges and rates may vary depending on the service provided.  This will be set out in your contract which should be reviewed at least annually.


Reasonable flexibility on both sides helps to establish a good working relationship. Mututal respect and understanding provides the right atmosphere for your child's happiness and security.


Childminders are registered for the protection of children.  This ensures that they are a fit person and their premises provide a suitable environment for children.



It also ensures that Childminders keep within safe limits, in terms of the number of children they care for at any one time.  


You need to be sure that the Childminder you choose is well suited to your child and your expectations.


Allow plenty of time to find the right Childminder.


It can be a daunting task working your way through a list of childminders.  Don't stop at the first vacancy, contact several if possible.  Arrange to visit them with your child, so that you can gauge the rapport between your child and the Childminder.


Remember that Childminders are self-employed people, running their own business. They will all vary slightly in how they work.  Discuss your needs and expectations for your child with them. 


Questions to Ask a Childminder

Both you and the Childminder may be a bit nervous on the first visit, but they will understand that you want the best for your child.  Some questions can be asked over the phone:

Do they have vacancies for your required time?

How many other children do they care for?

Are changes hourly or sessional?

What kind of activities would be happening during the day?


More detailed issues are best discussed in person.  You might like to know what experience they have in caring for children.  All registered childminders have a registration certificate which must be displayed when they are childminding, you should ask to see it.  It is normal to ask to see areas of the house where your child would be cared for and to visit with your child/children present so you can see how they interact.


You may have certain preferences, activities or dietary needs etc., these should be discussed with the Childminder.  However, it will be up to the Childminder to consider whether they can fit your requests into their existing routine.


It is normal for the Childminder to ask you questions to help them get an understanding of your child and how the arrangements would work.  The Childminder will require you to complete a written contract agreeing to the terms and conditions you have discussed. Other paperwork will also be requested to be completed, these are necessary documents and must be completed prior to you leaving your child in their care.


For an arrangement to succeed, it is vital that there is trust and communication on both sides.  Make it your first priority to establish these things.


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