What is a Childminder?
Are you a warm, patient loving person that enjoys spending time with children? If so, a career in childminding could be for you! This is a truly rewarding, important job; defined as someone who looks after one or more children under the age of 8 for more than two hours, and gets paid for it.
If you love children but desire more flexibility than working as a nursery nurse, a childminding job gives you the ability to care for children within your own home. It is a great way to top up your income, perhaps even whilst caring for your own children! Legally, the maximum number of children you are able to care for (under the age of 8) is six children; and within this six, no more than three can be between the ages of birth to the date of the August 31 following their fifth birthday. Childminders may also do school drops and picks up so living locally to schools is advantageous.
Often for parents, childminding is the next best thing to their children being in their very own home. You are opening up your doors and affection to the care and attention for their most treasured little ones, and rather than a regulated scheduled day, your day is your own. Children in your care can be stimulated and simply part of every day life – helping with lunch, visiting the park, baking, arts and crafts or attend other play groups.
Hours of Work
The great thing about working within childcare is you can really dictate your own hours. Most childminders are self-employed, so you are your own boss and set your own expectations of the hours you do and don’t want to work. You may offer one off sessions, short-term placements or overnight care. More often than not this is a job chosen to work around your life, another job and/or your family. It does vary but you will most likely be minding children to accommodate their working parents, so hours of work can be before nursery and school and after school until 6pm-7pm. For the littler ones, it could be all day or just a couple of hours. It is really between you and your clients as to what suits both.
So, what will your main responsibilities be as a Childminder?
Duties typically include:
- Advertising your business and service
- Administration and paperwork
- Documenting the development of children in your care
- Fulfil requirements of the EYFS and Childcare Registers
- Looking after and caring for your children including good nutrition and learning and development
- Planning (your days and activities)
- Working with your clients/ parents to ensure a smooth transition into your care
Key Childminder qualifications
Do you have the qualifications to get the job?
To be a childminder, there are no formal qualifications per se, but you do need to be 18 and registered with Ofsted; The Early Years Register and/or The Childcare Register, to be able to care for children (under the age of 8 for more than 2 hours a day).
A genuine love of children is the most basic and obvious requirement to enable you to flourish in such a role. A childminder has the responsibility of caring for other people’s children and encouraging them to learn, grow and develop, so an abundance of patience, a nurturing personality and being an effective communicator are certainly key. A background in childcare is ideal although not a pre-requisite and somewhere, ideally a domestic home is required where you can supervise the children under your care. There is also paperwork so organisational skills are beneficial to ensure the smooth running of your business.
Vital Childminder skills
For parents to entrust their most treasured children into your hands, there are some key skills that will help you in your role.
- You must be over 18.
- Nurturing and patient
- Strong communicator
- Experienced in childcare (desirable)
- Time management
- Ability to co-ordinate activities
- Comprehensive understanding of child development
- Administration and organisational skills, (paperwork)
What is a Childminder’s Salary?
Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…
Childminders set their own rates. What you can charge depends on both the area in which you live, the hours you work and the number of children you care for. You also may consider changing the hourly fee for older children and/or siblings. Childminders in England charge between £3 and £10 per hour per child or you can choose a flat fee for the day, i.e. £16 or £20. As a rule of thumb you can expect to earn circa £10,000 - £18,000 a year. You should do your research within your local area and ensure you are competitive and offer similar prices. You do need to take into consideration that some of your money will be spent on expenses required to do the job.
How to become a Childminder
Now you know more about the role, how can you start off?
- Attain a Paediatric First Aid Certificate – Widely offered either through your Local Authority or go to St John’s Ambulance for one day training courses
- Complete an approved Childminder training course (often referred to as CYPOP5) which your local authority will be able to help you with or use the professional body PACEY
- Register with the Ofsted Early Years register, which will incur a fee and take the longest part of this process
- Apply for a DBS check (criminal record check)
- Get a medical check up to ensure you are fit and in good health
- Ensure you have a domestic space to care for the children
- Undertake a home inspection
- Attain Childminder insurance - Morton Michel is well renowned
- Market yourself known to your local area
Once all the above has been completed you will receive a certificate of registration from Ofsted and you are good to go!
How to develop your Youth Worker career
Progression in any career is key. Once you have gained many years’ experience as a youth worker, you can advance to a manager position. Your salary will increase and you will be given much more responsibilities.
As Childminding is your own business it is yours to grow and flourish as you see fit. You are your own boss and in charge of your destiny. As childcare is a ‘protected’ job, there may be some updates in regulations/ qualifications/ knowledge that would be advisable to stay on top of. You will no doubt have to be flexible and adapt to any new changes i.e. the 30-hour policy as an example.
Learn more from PACEY (professional association for childcare and early years). The best advise is to know at the very beginning the type of childminding service you want to deliver and be committed to this end goal.
Being a Childminder can lead into other jobs. You could support other local Childminders by becoming a Network Co-ordinator. If you gain further training you could also teach/tutor on the subject. Or you can transfer across into a job within a nursery, play worker or teaching assistant.
You can find some of the best Childminder roles with brands such as Fusion , Active Newham, InspireAll and Scott Dunn and many more.