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How To Become A Childminder: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Catering to each child’s individual needs can be both exhausting and satisfying. Taking part in someone’s life so early on and helping them grow is a privilege in itself.  That is if you enjoy the company of babies. Whether you have a college degree or not, childminding is always an option. There is always a shortage in childminding business. If you are good with babies, why not try it out? Everything you need to know about how to become a childminder in one place!

Table of Contents

Who is a childminder?

According to the UK Government – 

“A childminder is a person who receives payment for looking after at least one child for more than two hours a day in their own home.” 

They can also look after children at the home of another childminder or a relative of the childminder. (Keep in mind that the premises need to be registered)

A childminder is more than a care provider. Along with high-quality care, they also provide a learning environment for the children.

What does a childminder do?

A childminder provides childcare at his or her home. According to the Childcare Act 2006, childcare is ‘any form of care for a child, including education or any other supervised activity’. The childminder has to take care of all the needs of the child. That is for the duration of the child’s stay with the childminder. Some typical tasks of a childminder include –

Bear in mind, all the tasks and activities related to children must be approved by the parents. Discussing each child’s needs with his or her parents regularly is very important. Because every child is different, and they have differing needs.

What skills & abilities are needed to become a Childminder?

One of the basic qualities to become a childminder is to be caring and good at relating to children. Apart from that, a childminder needs these qualities to perform their childminding duties.

Want-to-be-a-CHILDMINDER

Responsible and trustworthy

One of the first qualities parents look for in a childminder is their trustworthiness. As every child is precious to their parents.  No parent wants to leave their children with someone they don’t trust for even a minute, let alone for hours on end.

They also want someone responsible enough to care for their child.  And during their early years, they are very vulnerable and needy. This is why parents want their children with someone responsible.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are a basic requirement in any job. These skills are used to communicate and interact with other people. Interpersonal skills refer to the combination of the following skills. 

The better you are at these skills, the more competent you are in any job setting.

A childminder has to spend time with children in their formative years. That is the time when they learn how to communicate. A childminder with good interpersonal skill can facilitate their learning process. Good communication skills help with social and cognitive development. Furthermore, this skill is necessary to work effectively with children, parents and others. 

On the other hand, lack of communication can lead to a bad interpersonal relationship with parents. It can also affect their efficiency and effectiveness in childcare. Moreover, poor interpersonal skills and communication gap leads to negativity and mistrust.

Some key features for effective interpersonal skills include –

Patience

While we know that patience is a virtue, it is especially true in childcare. Babies and children need a lot of patience to deal with. Also, childcare can be very stressful. Which will put your patience to test constantly.  Not having patience will increase burnout and make you feel drained. Therefore, you won’t be able to accomplish as much as you want every day.

Losing temper on small things will not help the children. That way they won’t understand the gravity of a serious situation. By showcasing patience, you will prove yourself a good role model for the children.

Calm and efficient in emergencies

With children, you never know when there could be an emergency. For example, a baby might choke on a toy just when you look away for a second. To handle such emergencies, you need to stay calm and think instead of panicking. Previous training or knowing about possible emergencies helps in such situations.  You will know what to do and be able to handle it properly. 

Multitasking

You have to be good at juggling competing demands for attention. Babies constantly seek attention and need care. Therefore, to keep them pacified, a childminder has to pay much attention to the baby. While it is easy to take care of one baby, it is not easy to juggle 3 or 4 babies simultaneously. 

For most people taking care of one baby is challenging. In order to become a childminder, doing multiple tasks at the same time is a must.

Open-minded regarding different ways of bringing up children

Every parent wants the best for their child. But this does not mean they all have a similar view on how to care for their children. Everyone has their own parenting style. While some parents only breastfeed their children, some prefer formula. A childminder has to listen to each parent on how to care for their babies. 

Aware of child protection and safety issues

This is one of the most important things that is needed to provide childcare. A childminder must have sufficient knowledge about child safety issues. Such as – childproofing, allergies & safe eating, household hazards and playground hazards. These are necessary to keep the baby safe from any kind of harm. Additionally, knowing about these helps to take immediate action in case of an emergency. 

How to become a childminder?

To become a registered childminder, you need to fulfil the following requirements.

1. Training and qualifications

There are no specific qualification requirements for becoming a childminder. But a childminder must have good command over in  English language – both written and spoken. Because childminding requires a bit of record-keeping for statutory purpose. 

Paediatric first aid training

You will need to complete a paediatric first-aid course. This has to be renewed every 3 years. Including undertaking a safeguarding/child protection course and regular continued professional development. This type of training concentrates exclusively on children and infants. Standard paediatric courses cover how to care for a child/infant in the event of any emergency. For instance, if they are ill or injured.

Child care training

To become a childminder, knowledge about child protection and child care is very important. You need to complete a local authority approved childminder training course. Or take an online course on this one – Child Development and Care.

2. Insurance and other paperwork

Given below are some insurance and required paperwork for becoming a childminder –

Public Liability Insurance

All registered childcare providers like childminders are required by law to have insurance. They usually choose Public Liability Insurance (PLI). It covers them in their work with children in case of lawsuits. Also having an insurance policy in place is always a good idea. It will protect you in case there is any claim in the future. Some public liability insurances cover childcare equipment against theft, damage or fire.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

Do you plan on employing a childminding assistant or any other staff in your setting? Then you will also need an Employer’s Liability Insurance (ELI) in place for your business. Employer’s Liability Insurance works similarly to Public Liability Insurance. If any of your insured employees are injured while working for you, you are protected against any claims that may arise. 

Some other paperwork that are required –

Completed criminal records (DBS Check) application – 

This is done to check the records of a person’s criminal convictions and cautions. You will need a completed criminal records application for you. Also, for anyone aged 16 or over who lives with you or helps take care of the children.

A Health declaration form signed by your GP – 

It is required to ensure that you are mentally and physically well to take care of babies. 

3. Registration

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in education, children’s services and skills of the UK government. Ofsted ensures that only people who are suitable and ready to provide childcare are registered. It inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people.

You have to register with Ofsted or with any childminder agency. Given you are paid to take care of any children under eight for more than two hours a day in a domestic setting. It is considered a criminal offence to provide unregistered childcare. That is in case you are legally required to register. So you should know if you need to register or not. 

Why you should register?

If you are thinking about why you should register, aside from legal requirements. Here are some reasons why you should register.

When you don’t need to register?

Under the following circumstances, you don’t have to register under Ofsted. But you can register if you want to for the reasons mentioned in Why you should register-

When you need to register?

You need to register if you don’t fall under any conditions mentioned in When you don’t need to register. And if you look after at least one child for more than two hours a day for payment.

In order to register as a childminder, you need to fulfil the following criteria –

Registration process

To become a registered childminder under Ofsted, you will need to be listed on one or both of the following registers –

The Early Years Register:

It is mandatory to register on this if you want to look after children from newborns to 31st August after their fifth birthday.

The Childcare Register: 

This is compulsory for those who look after children aged five to a child’s eighth birthday.

Apply to become a childminder

Firstly, you need to apply online to become a childminder. You will need to provide details of the following to register:

Registration may take up to 12 weeks from submitting your application. It may vary depending on the type of registration you apply for.

Submit documents

After filling up the application, you need to submit the necessary documents. However, you don’t need to send all the documents at the same time or in any particular order. After that Ofsted will acknowledge receipt of your application. Then they will check the information to see if you’re fit to be a childminder. 

Registration visit

Ofsted carries out a rigorous pre-registration visit before registering. If you apply for the Early Years Register, Ofsted will arrange a registration visit. During the visit, the inspector will check your understanding of the EYFS along with the following-

Lastly

If the checks are satisfactory, Ofsted will send you a letter and certificate of registration. In case you don’t fulfil any requirements, you’ll receive a notice of intention. Which means you are disqualified and refused registration to become a childminder.

Check Registration For Childminders for more information on registering as a childminder.  

What happens after registration

After registration, your information will be published on the official website of Ofsted.  This means you are free to be a childminder and allowed to take care of children. Some things to keep in mind after registration are given below –

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4. How many children can a childminder look after?

Most childminders only look after a few children at any one time.

Here are the legal limits for the number of children a registered childminder can look after –

Age

Number of children

Exceptions to the ratios are allowed if you show you can meet all the children’s needs. Although, you can’t look after more than six children at a time. These numbers will include your own children. Additionally, any children you are responsible for such as foster children.

You can look after more children with other childminders or if you have assistance. Usually, this is an agreed-upon set up between parents and childminders. 

However, the number of children you can look after will largely depend on the space available.

5. Costs

Same as any kind of business, there is a startup cost. See it as an investment in your future profession. Following are some expenses to expect when you start out to become a childminder.

These are set fees (Provided by Ofsted) for registration include –

Some other varying costs that you should budget for:

How much can you earn from childminding?

It is only natural that you’d like to know how much you can earn from childminding. Well, most childminders usually set their own rates. What you can charge depends on –

You can also charge more for older children. You can choose a daily fee instead of charging for hours. Do some research within your local area. And then fix a competitive price or go for similar prices. While fixing your rate, consider the fact that some amount of money will be spent for job purpose.

According to a survey conducted by PACEY (2017), a childminding agency, childminders in England charge between £3.00 and £10.00 per hour. Although the average childminder hourly rate is £4.64.

How can you improve your childminding?

There is always room for more improvement and learning in childminding. Below are a few tips on how you can maximise your childminding abilities  

Provide a high-quality learning environment

Prepare a play-based curriculum which aims to make excellent progress on children’s development. Teaching them new things and supporting their ongoing interests is very important in their early years. This is necessary for their cognitive development. 

Continuous training

If you truly care about children and childcare, you know that you can do much more for them. For continued development, you can attend courses like Child Development and Care online. You can also keep up to date on topics like child welfare, protection and better care options.

Project management software

It can be a very useful tool for keeping everything on track. Whether you want to create timelines or keep track of daily activities. This is very helpful for record-keeping also as all the data will be saved. You will be able to keep track of schedules, routines etc. This will make you more organised and efficient. 

Advertising

It might not be a full-grown business. But you need to advertise and get the word out there. If people don’t know you are providing childminding services, you will not have any customers. 

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Closing notes

Enjoy those heart-stopping, heavenly smiles and help them grow while providing high-quality care giving. Enrich your knowledge & capabilities by learning more about Child Development and Care.  

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