Childminders look after children while their parents are away working or studying. Although most people associate childminders with babysitting alone, these professionals play an important role in children’s emotional, social and cognitive development. This profession is suitable for people who are passionate about working with children and young adults, and love the prospect of working from home.
What do Childminders do?
The duties of childminders vary with the age of children they are looking after. Unlike older children who need to be supervised, kids under the age of five typically need more care. In general, childminders;
- Provide basic care, such as bathing, dressing and feeding
- Change diapers or nappies and make up bottles for toddlers
- Encourage children to play and read by giving them toys and books
- Lead activities such as painting, drawing and singing
- Supervise children during trips to the park or somewhere else
- Regularly discuss each child’s needs with his or her parents
- Negotiate childcare contracts with parents.
The number of hours chilminders work in a day depends on the needs of their clients. Although most childminders take care of children from 8am to 5pm, others work through the night taking care of children whose parents have night shifts.
Childminders commonly work from their homes, which must be inspected by Office for Standards in Education to ensure it is safe and hygienic.
The amount of money make varies with regions. Those in large cities often make much more than those in smaller towns. However, according to the Professional Association for Child Care and Early Years, childminders charge from £3.63 to £5.42 an hour per child, on average.
It is important to note that childminders must make their own arrangement to remit tax, pay insurance and purchase toys, books and other equipment.
Entering the Profession
Although there are no formal requirements to become a childminder, you must be at least 18 years old and be registered with Ofsted. Securing a registration involves:
- Attending childminding pre-registration meetings - contact the Families Information Services at your local council to find out more about these meetings.
- Filling and submitting an application to your Ofsted regional center – You will incur a registration fee of around £18
- Familiarising yourself with the Early Years Foundation Stage’s childcare standards
- Undergoing an Ofsted home inspection and interview to determine your suitability to the job
- Completing a medical check
- Obtaining a clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service
- Completing an introductory childminding training course and a pediatric first-aid course. This must done with six months of starting a childminding business
- Waiting for the approval of you registration, which usually takes about three months.
Required Skills and Abilities
As a childminder, you need to be;
- Patient, calm and caring
- Energetic and creative
- Responsible and trustworthy
- Good at multi-tasking
- Good at record-keeping
- Aware of child protection and safety issues
If you are ambitious and have long-term prospects of taking your career to the next level, you must pursue formal qualifications. You can pursue a Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce, which covers these areas:
- Developing business procedures
- Childcare legislation
- Working with parents
- Setting up play and learning activities
Completing either of these courses enables you to obtain a nationally recognised certification that can allow you to find jobs in childcare settings like nursery classes.
You can also pursue short special education and child protection courses in local colleges or PACEY’s regional branches.
Because you will be in self-employment, you must put effort in promoting your business to find more clients, usually through local advertising, personal contacts or websites.
As you gain more experience and earn more formal qualifications, you can become a childminding network coordinator, nursery worker or teaching assistant.
With the National Careers Service forecasting that the UK economy will create about 250,000 jobs for caring professionals, aspiring childminders can expect to have profitable businesses.
Finally, to be a successful childminder, you need to develop good relationships with your clients and focus on providing satisfactory services. Chances are high they will inform their friends about your quality childminding services.
Photo Credit- Duke Street Children's Center