Friday, 14 October 2011

Wonderful childminders

How childminders can be a godsend to parents

Childminders are registered child care professionals who open their own homes to provide care and education for other peoples children. Childminding is currently the most popular mode of childcare, with over 100,000 registered childminders in Britain. They are more popular as the type of care they provide is flexible and often offers a family based concept where they work in their own homes. Many childminders have their own children to care for as well as the children they care for, offering them the chance to work as well as caring for their own children.

Childminders are trained and are expected to carry out relevant courses such as First Aid, Health and Safety and manual handling. As childminders are allowed to have up to 6 children at any one time in their care, the ratios are low enough to allow them to care for each individual child's needs. This also means the relationships between child and carer are that bit stronger too. Some childminders also collect children from school, offering after school care for parents who work longer hours.

It is important that parents gain a good relationship with their childminder, whilst still realising that they are business people and will need notice of holidays etc when your child will not be attending. When choosing a childminder that suits you, you should check their certificate of registration and ask the following questions:

1. Do they have the hours and days available that you are looking for?
2. How much does it cost and are meals included?
3. What happens when the childminder is sick?
4. What training do they have?
5. How many other children do they have in their care? How old are they?
6. What facilities are available for sleeping, eating and drinking etc?
7. Are outings part of the routine and how are they managed?
8. What is their behaviour policy?

It would be worth taking your child along to meet the childminder too to see how they interact with one another. Childminders can be the hidden gems of childcare, but you need to act on your gut instinct on whether they suit you and your child's needs.

Many thanks to Liz for the use of her photo from her childminding site

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