Childminders are often the next best choice to looking after your baby, toddler or child yourself. Usually local mums themselves, they can give your child more relaxed, personal care in their own home.
Find out what considerations you need to take into account when looking for a childminder, and how you can find the right one.
Registration and inspection
All childminders must be CRB checked and have completed a first aid course and training that covers things like food hygiene and health and safety. They also need to be registered with OFSTED (or Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales or Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland).
The personal connection
As important as the right checks and training are, it’s just as essential that you and your child like and trust your childminder.
When looking for a childminder, ask them for references and contact details for the parents of other children they care or have cared for and get in touch with them to find out how they found them.
Trust your own instincts too. Do they genuinely seem to enjoy children? Is your child relaxed and comfortable around them? Is their home a nice place to be in?
There are a number of practical considerations to take into account when looking for a childminder:
- What’s their approach to discipline? Is it similar to yours, and if not are they happy to follow your requests?
- Do they have the same attitude to healthy eating as you? What kind of food and snacks do they give the children they care for? Are they happy to follow your requests?
- What sort of activities do they do with children? Do they engage them in stimulated play? Do they get plenty of physical exercise? Do they do activities that you know your child enjoys, like baking or painting?
- How flexible are they in case of emergencies? For example are they happy to look after your child a little longer if a meeting overruns?
- What back up do they have if they’re ill or on holiday? Are they part of a local network that can help out in emergencies?
Where to find a childminder
When looking for a childminder ask friends and other local mums for recommendations. You can also find childminders in your area through your local Family Information Service.Hannah Martin