The pros and cons of childminders

If you’re looking for childcare you may be weighing up several options, including nurseries, childminders and even nannies.

For many working mums, childminders are the next best choice to looking after your child at home yourself. Usually local mums themselves, they can give your baby, toddler or child more homely, personal care in their own home.

Find out more about the pros and cons of childminders to help you decide if they’re the right choice for you and your family.

The pros of using a registered childminder

  • They’ll have an enhanced CRB disclosure, be health checked and their home will have been inspected to ensure it’s safe for children.
  • If they’re in England they will have demonstrated to a childcare inspector how they meet the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirements, and the national standards for childminders if they are in Wales.
  • As they’re usually mums themselves, childminders have practical, hands-on experience of babies and children.
  • Your child can enjoy a wide range of stimulating activities, from baking and painting inside, to trips to the park.
  • As childminders are based in their own homes, you can find someone local to you in an area that is familiar to your children and convenient for pick ups and drop offs.
  • Childminders often look after a mix of ages, so if you have several small children they can be cared for together.
  • Childminders can care for children of all ages – from babies right up until senior school (for pre and after school care and school runs), offering your children the security of familiar care.
  • Childminders look after smaller groups of children, so they often get to know you and your child really well and can offer more personal support to your child.
  • As childminders are self-employed they can set their own hours (click here to find out more), and are able to offer more flexibility on drop off and pick up times, and help in emergencies.
  • If you’re eligible for tax credits, you may be able to get help with your childcare costs.
  • You may also be able to use childcare vouchers towards the cost of childcare 

The cons of using a childminder

  • Unless your childminder is part of a local network, they may not be able to offer guaranteed alternative care if they’re ill or on holiday.
  • If your childminder also looks after their own child or children you’ll need to be confident they won’t favour them or give any less attention to yours.
  • You need to pick up and drop off your children.
  • If your child is unwell you’ll need to pick them up and take time off work to care for them at home.

Where to find a childminder

You can find childminders near you through your local Family Information Service.