If you’re considering becoming a childminder then there’s a lot to think about. Like anything involving children it’s carefully regulated. Taking care of other people’s children is a big responsibility so it’s important think carefully about the decision before committing.
Are you suited to becoming a childminder?
Of course it’s important that you like children, you probably wouldn’t be considering it if that wasn’t the case. What people sometimes forgot is that you need to like parents too. Liaising with parents is one of the most important parts of a childminders job so think carefully if that’s something you’ll enjoy. If you have strong opinions about parenting this might lead to clashes with parents that would make it difficult for you to look after their child Looking after someone else’s children is a huge responsibility so you’ll need to decide if that’s something you can cope with or not.
If you’ll have your own child with you when you’re working you’ll need to consider how becoming a childminder will effect them. Will they enjoy having other children around or will they find it difficult to share you? If they struggle, how will you cope with it?
To become a childminder you need to be registered with the local authority. The only circumstance in which you don’t need to register is if you’re looking after children for less than two hours a day. You also don’t need to register if you only look after children over the age of eight.
The registration process involves undertaking a training course approved by the local authority. Some authorities run their own, alternatively most authorities have approved the course run by PACEY which is available by distance learning. You will also be required to complete paediatric first aid training. There are online first aid training courses to help you meet this requirement.
The local authority will want to check that you are suitable to look after children by carrying out a DBS check and speaking to referees that you provide. They’ll also carry out DBS checks on anyone else who lives in the house, including young adults.
As childminders look after children in their own home, your home will need to be suitable. You’ll need to have enough space for children and ideally some equipment for them to play with. You’ll need to keep records for the local authority so will need space to create and store your paperwork.
The location of your home is also important. Parents will need to drop off and pick up there children so a location that’s close to family homes or a station can helpful. It can also be useful to be close to a school/preschool for pick ups and drop offs. Becoming a childminder could be difficult if you live somewhere very remote.
Most parents find their childminder through word of mouth but this can be tricky when you first start out. Make sure everyone knows that you are becoming a childminder. That way they can recommend you if they hear that someone’s looking for childcare. Most local authorities keep a list of local childcare providers so make sure you’re on it.
Facebook can be a great place to advertise your services, in local parenting groups and general local groups. Lots of schools have a Facebook group for parents. If you know people with children at a local school you can ask them to mention in the group that you have vacancies.
Alternatives to becoming a childminder
If you don’t think your home is suitable for looking after children then you could consider becoming a nanny. Nannies look after children in their own homes and tend to ok after fewer children at a time.. Childminding hours can be long, if you want to work less hours then you could look at running baby and toddler classes or after school classes. If you’re really ambitious you could even consider setting up your own nursery.