How to become a childminder
Childminding is a rewarding job that is both important and challenging. Many parents would be unable to return to work or enjoy a social life without the support of a childminder for their children. The government introduced legislation in September 2014 that stated that Childminder Agencies were able to be established, which meant that childminders could be registered with an agency if they choose to be. Childminders can register with Ofsted or can choose to register with a Childminding Agency instead. Local authorities will be able to give details on any childminding agencies in the area.
£18,000 to £24,000
30 to 43 hours
A guide to the childminding profession
All childminders must be registered with Ofsted and this ensures that each means specific conditions of caring for children. Working as a childminder will usually mean working for yourself and alone (other than for the children in your care). Some childminders work with others or have assistants as this will allow them to have more children in their care facility.
Will I need specific qualifications to work as a childminder?
To begin a career as a childminder, you will need to register with Ofsted and to do this, you will need to meet their requirements. This includes:
- A qualification in childcare. This could include an award in Preparing to Work in Home-Based Childcare or equivalent. Your local college will be able to provide further information on available courses.
- Training in the safeguarding of children
- Food hygiene training
- First aid course
If you want to work as a childminder, it will also be necessary for to have:
- An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check
- A DBS check for anyone else who is aged 16 or over and that lives in your home
- A medical examination
- An interview
- An inspection of your home
Essential Skills for Being a Childminder
Being a childminder is an important role and although full of fun and laughter, this is a career that is demanding and challenging. To maintain the energy levels required, to work within all regulations and to maintain the safety and happiness of yourself and the children in your care, it is essential to have some set skills. This includes:
- The ability to communicate with all ages
- To help children develop in all areas
- To meet some educational needs for each child in your care
- To provide feedback on daily activities
- To write and maintain reports about each child that you look after.
- The ability to maintain your accounts and to have a sound financial understanding.
- The ability to keep up to date with the interests of each child in your care.
Day to Day Work of a Childminder
Because each childminder is required to be registered with Ofsted, you will be required to plan your daily activities in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage guidelines. This will ensure that all of the children in your care receive activities that help them to develop, learn and enjoy their time with you. The EYFS framework also aims to ensure the safety of all children.
You will be responsible for planning your own day-to-day activities and what you do will likely revolve around the ages, likes, abilities and location of the children and your childcare environment. The activities might include:
- Craft sessions.
- Free playtime, indoors and outside.
- Taking the children in your care to a variety of outings.
- Providing care such as preparing meals, changing nappies, changing clothes and washing children as needed.
- Helping children to learn a wide variety of skills.
- Encouraging children to try new things and express themselves.
- Giving feedback to parents and carers.
- Attending training and meetings when required.
You may need to engage with other childcare professionals who are local to you in order to provide the best facilities and development for all of the children in your care.
How much will I earn as a childminder?
A childminder works on a self-employed basis and this means that they can set their own rates. It is likely that you will review the rates that you set based on what other local childminders charge. As a basic guide, most childminders charge between £4.00 and £6.00 per hour, per child in their care.
It is important to remember that you will need to pay your own tax and insurance as a self-employed person. You will also need to buy your own materials, safety equipment (such as stair gates and plug covers) and toys.
Career Progression for a Childminder
Working as a self-employed childminder, you will be able to progress your business as you wish. Once you have gained experience and positive reviews, you might be able to grow your business and take on an assistant to help you care for more children.
Other progression options include becoming a network coordinator. In this role, you would offer support, advice and training to other childminders in your area. If this appeals, you may consider taking additional training to become a tutor in childminding at a local college.
Working Environment and Hours for a Childminder
Most childminders will work in a domestic setting, such as in their own homes or at the homes of the children they care for. The hours that the childminder will work will largely depend upon the needs of the parents of the children in their care and their own preferences.
Most childminders will cover hours between 8am to 6pm and some will work unsociable hours like evenings and weekend. Many childminders will take bank holidays off but as you will be self-employed, you may offer to work these times for a higher rate of pay.