This is a popular option with many parents who would like to have the childcare setting outside the home but still a homely feeling. A child-minder may have more flexibility than your local nursery and certainly will be a cheaper option. but what do they provide and how do they work? In this blog I will explain and answer many questions you may have.
What is a child-minder and what is their role?
The role of a child-minder is to care for a number of children in their own home. They need to provide a safe, educational and stimulating environment, encourage children’s development and provide activities accordingly from books, to art and craft to exercise opportunities. They need to provide a safe, warm, comfortable environment for children to sleep in.
Where can you find a childminder?
There are a few avenues you can explore to find a childminder.
Word of mouth. This as we know goes a long way!
The government website – please see this link
Are they regulated?
By law yes, they have to be.
Childminders in England must be registered with OFSTED.
Scotland they must be registered with Care Inspectorate.
Wales they need to be registered with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW)
All childminders need to complete a First Aid course that covers paediatrics and complete a local authority childminding training course. Childminders are inspected once every three years by OFSTED. You are able to see the report.
They are required to follow the EYFS, Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. They will provide activities that follow these guidelines to ensure children in their care are being educated appropriately accordingly to age and stage of development.
Any other persons living in the home in which they carry out their child-minding business will also have a Criminal Record check done which you can ask to see.
Average cost is around £5-£10 per hour depending on the area. London may be slightly higher and also the age of child may also determine the price. Comparing this to a nanny it is a lot less. You will still be required to pay if your child is off sick or on holiday.
The cost may or may not include nappies and creams.
If they are registered you will be able to use Childcare vouchers or you’re Tax – Free Childcare scheme if there is one in your area and you started collecting before the scheme ended. Do ask when you go to visit the setting.
You will receive a contract from them which by law should state hours, rates of fees, any additional costs that may be incurred, holidays they have planned and what will happen in an emergency such as if they are ill or need to take a child to hospital.
A childminder will be responsible for caring for a small group of children on a daily basis. Depending on the ages of children this will dictate how many children she can care for at one time. Some childminders hire assistants and so their numbers many be able to go up.
A childminder will be required to ensure your child is kept safe and clean all day. They must give emotional support to your child. Provide healthy meals taking into account any allergies and intolerances. Your childminder may also be responsible for picking up children from school. This means they may need to take your child with them on any school runs. It may be over a nap time so this may not work for you. Do ask what other commitments they have.
Childminders are required by law to keep relevant paperwork such as records and administrative logs. They must also display health and safety posters in a visible place for you to see upon entering the premises.
They must also hold an updated criminal record check, First aid trained and have a health declaration booklet. They should be able to provide you with at least 2 contact details for references.
The set up
A childminder will usually work from her own home or have a premises she works from. It has to be by law registered with OFSTED who will come to the said premises and do a health and safety check. They will be looking for things like radiator pipes to be covered to prevent burns on little fingers, appropriate stair gates in place and as I mentioned above the relevant
Health and safety posters are displayed for your viewing.
They need to also need to display registration certificates
Paediatric First Aid certificates
“The Parents Poster” showing phone numbers for OFSTED
A diversity Awareness Poster
Take some time to visit a few in your area. They will all be very different, have different values and beliefs and run their business in different ways. You will also see the other children and how they are in this setting, how they respond to the staff and how they staff interact with the children.
What do previous clients say about their child-minder?
“I like childminders better than nursery for a young age (up to 2.5 years) because it is cheaper than nursery fees, more one to one care, I felt they really got to know my child better and they have more attention from the caregiver which I felt was lovely and really good for my son. The child-minder I used was a cross between a child-minder and small pre-school because she had her mum and another staff member to help, one did the cooking and there was enough staff to take the children out like the library or the park. She was also bilingual and spoke Spanish to the children teaching them songs. I also like the mixed age range approach as this felt like a family set up where you have different ages to learn from”. -Henry's Mum, 12 months
I hope that sheds some light on the childminder questions you have! Don’t forget to share this blog with your friends who may also be looking into childcare options and are confused where to even start!
Happy peaceful nights everyone,
Your Paediatric Sleep Consultant