How To Become A Childminder
Being a registered childminder
One way to have your own business and work from home is to become a childminder. It is a good way of earning money and being your own boss. If you enjoy working with children or you want to spend more time with your own kids, it is a great idea to have it all.
Do I Need Qualifications?
You don't need any formal qualifications to become a childminder in the UK. When you contact your local authority, they will explain how to become registered with OFSTED in your local area.
You would usually attend six or seven workshops. You get advice and support on the current National Standards (the Early Years Foundation Stage) and what is expected of you as a childcare worker. This includes courses on Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities and Safeguarding Children. You can apply to become registered at any time as long as you complete the workshops.
Courses will then be offered to you once you are up and running to keep familiar with standards and changes. These will include a mandatory First Aid course, Food Hygiene and help to complete your Policies and Procedures.
How Do I Become Registered?
Before you contact OFSTED, you will need to ensure your home is a safe environment for children to play in. If you are planning to childmind children under eight years old, consider fire guards and stair gates. You will need to do a risk assessment to ensure young children cannot hurt themselves on furniture, steps or gain access to harmful substances.
When an inspector from OFSTED comes to see you they will take you through the standards. This is to ensure you are aware of them. They will check all areas of your home where you intend to let the children have access to, and ensure you and other adults in your home have been police checked. They will then tell you how many children you are able to look after at one time (including your own children under the age of eight).
Does it matter if I live in an apartment?inspector
You don't need to have a big house to be able to childmind. As long as the environment is safe and you are competent, you will be fine.
I have a dog. Will that go against me?
An inspector will not refuse to register you if you have pets. As long as the parents of the children are fine with it, you will still get business.
How do I advertise?
You can go on a business course to help you promote and advertise yourself. You can use directories, business cards and word of mouth. Many parents will look on a government website, or Children's Information Service to find childcare in their local area. You can put your details on the website by contacting your authority.
Will I get lonely working by myself?
Toddler groups are great places for childminders. You can meet up with other childminders in your area and get support from one another.
You can also join a childminding network. You will get advice and support from the network coordinator and attend courses for further development. There will be places to meet up with other childminders or your coordinator will come to your home to help with risk assessments and contracts for parents. You will need to have a 'Welfare File' to show parents, and you will get help with this.
You can become accredited when you join the Childminding Network to make you more professional.
You should also get the opportunity to complete your NVQ's in childcare.
Can I Childmind with another person?
Many people will register with their husbands, wives or partners. It is a good way to get support when you take the children out to the play park or shop. You can also work with another registered childminder as you 'business partner'. You may be allowed to have more children in your care at one time, but you will still need to split your fees!
Once you are a childminder, you can develop your career as you wish. You may want to work part time having school children before and after school, or go onto working in a nursery setting. It can be a rewarding job and a great way to network with others.