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Becoming A Childminder: A Definitive Guide

Pursuing a career as a childminder can be a rewarding and enjoyable path for anyone with a desire and willingness to work with children. It is an important role where the children’s safety is most important, but it’s also essential that children are cared for in other ways. For instance, providing young children with a stimulating, educational home away experience from a home setting where they can flourish and thrive. According to Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACY), a childminder is the person who looks after one or more children under the age of eight for more than a total of two hours a day in exchange for payment in their own home’. A childminder is responsible for the safety, care, well-being and development of young children. They take care of the children from several families, all of whom may have different religious, cultural and dietary requirements. Are you good with children and wanted to take care of the children under 8 years old? Then becoming a childminder could be the perfect career option for you! Keep reading the blog to learn more about becoming a childminder.

Who is suited to becoming a childminder?

Becoming a childminder is generally a more flexible and short-term option than the alternatives work field. 

For these reasons, becoming a registered childminder is a popular option for those who are 18 years old or above, and:

  • don’t have an academic degree.
  • are looking to supplement their income between jobs with a part-time business.
  • are looking for a low-cost business opportunity.
  • have an enforced lay-off or are taking a break from their regular job, most commonly for pregnancy and childbirth.

What does a childminder do?

A childminder works from their own home and provides childcare services to young children. ‘Any form of care for a child, including education or any other supervised activity is childcare according to the Childcare Act 2006. 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 –
  • Follow any instructions or request given by the parents.
  • Providing basic care to them, such as help with bathing, dressing and eating meals.
  • Changing nappies and making up bottles for babies.
  • Encouraging children to play with toys and books.
  • Supervising children on trips outside the home, for example in the shopping mall or the park.
  • Taking children to the nursery, school or playgroup and picking them up from there.
  • Regularly discuss a child’s needs with their parents.
  • Negotiating and drawing up care contracts with the parents.
  • Keeping records (such as accounts, policies & procedures, progress checks, risk assessments etc.).

Remember that all tasks and activities related to children must be approved by the parents. Regularly discussing each child’s needs with his or her parents is very important to ensure that their needs are met. Because every child is different, and they have differing needs.

Why should you register to become a childminder?

If you are wondering why you should register to become a childminder, aside from legal requirements. Here are some reasons why you should register.

  • For professional development, advice and support network
  • It gives reassurance to parents, and also, they may be able to claim childcare costs
  • To get a childcare business grant to help with setting-up costs
Infographics on becoming a childminder - Skills and steps to follow

Who is eligible and needs to become a childminder?

Becoming a childminder might be a highly rewarding career option for you. There are certain rules and requirements set by the UK Government to determine if you are eligible to become a childminder. We have put together all the necessary information for you. Read on! Find out if you qualify to become a childminder.

Who can not register?

You can not register if you:

  • are under 18
  • are related to all of the children you look after
  • do not have the legal right to work in the UK
  • are barred from working with children
  • have been disqualified
  • have been refused registration in the past or had your registration cancelled – unless it was because you did not pay your annual fee
  • are childminding in a home where a disqualified person lives or works.

When you don’t need to register:

According to Ofsted, you do not need to register if you’re:

  • a nanny
  • a tutor
  • a babysitter and if you look after the children between 6 pm and 2 am
  • a family friend and if you look after the children less than 3 hours a day
  • child’s parent, step-parent, foster parent or relative
  • care for children in their own home (Such as a babysitter)
  • Tutoring children aged three and over

You need to register if you don’t fall under any conditions mentioned in When you don’t need to register.

When you need to register:

You must register as a childminder if all of the following apply:

  • the children are under the age of 8
  • you look after them for more than 2 hours a day
  • you look after them in your own home
  •  you get paid to look after them – including payment in kind

What skills and abilities are needed to become a childminder?

To become a childminder, you need to be aged over 18 and the most essential quality is to ‘be caring and good at’ anything related to children. Apart from that, a childminder needs to show these qualities and skills below to perform their childminding duties.

skills and abilities are needed to become a childminder
  • Responsible and trustworthy
  • Interpersonal / Social skills
  • Patience
  • Calm and efficient in emergencies
  • Multitasking
  • Open-minded
  • Aware of child protection and safety issues

1. Responsible and trustworthy

Every child is precious to their parents. The first qualities parents look for in a childminder are their trustworthiness (how credible the person is).  No parent wants to leave their children with someone they don’t trust even for a minute, let alone for hours every day.

They want someone responsible to take care of their child.  Because every child develops their cognitive brain in the early years, and they are vulnerable and needy during this time. Therefore, they need special care.

This is why every parent wants their children to be taken care of by someone responsible and trustworthy.

2. Interpersonal / Social skills

A childminder usually works with young children, when a child’s brain is developing. During this time, they learn how to communicate. A childminder with good interpersonal skills can boost young children’s learning process. Good communication skills help children in their social and cognitive development. Moreover, in order to work effectively with children, parents and others, good interpersonal skills are required.

On the other hand, lack of communication can lead to a bad interpersonal relationship between a childminder and parents. It can also affect a childminder’s efficiency and effectiveness in childcare. Moreover, poor interpersonal skills and communication gap creates negativity and mistrust. Some key features for effective interpersonal skills include –

  •     Listen carefully
  •     Show empathy
  •     Be considerate of other people’s feelings and moods
  • Adjust your communication method according to the situation and people
  •     Show interest in other people
  •     Show respect and maintain confidentiality
  •     Be friendly with children while remaining professional with parents
  •     Avoid stereotyping based on age, gender, ethnicity etc.
  •     Show respect towards others views, traditions and beliefs

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

3. Patience

We know that patience is an essential quality of life, which is especially true in childcare. Childcare can be very stressful. Which will put your patience to test constantly. You need a lot of patience to deal with children. Also, not having patience will increase burnout and make you feel drained. Therefore, you will not be able to achieve as much as you want every day.

You should not lose temper on small things, because they don’t have proper knowledge of what is funny and what is offensive. By showing patience, you will prove yourself as a good role model for the kids.

4. Calm and efficient in emergencies

With kids, you never know when an emergency might occur. For instance, a baby might choke on a toy just when you look away for a second. To manage these kinds of emergencies, you need to stay calm and think instead of panicking. After becoming a childminder, You will have training and knowledge to assist you in potential emergencies.  You will know what to do and be able to handle it properly.

5. Multitasking

You have to be good at juggling, competing to meet the children demands for attention. Children constantly seek attention and need care. Therefore, in order to keep them calm, a childminder must pay more attention to the child. Although it is easy to take care of a baby, it is not easy to juggle 3 or 4 babies simultaneously.

For most people, taking care of one baby is challenging to them. To become a childminder, you have to be a multitasker.

6. Open-minded regarding different ways of bringing up children

Every parent wants the best for their child. This does not mean, however, that they all have the same views on how to care for their children. Every parent has their own parenting style. Some parents prefer to breastfeed their babies only, while others prefer formulas. So, you need to follow and listen to each parent’s instructions on how to take care of their children.

7. Aware of child protection and safety issues

Knowledge of how to protect a child and the safety issues is considered as one of the most important things that are needed to provide childcare. A childminder must have sufficient knowledge about child safety. Such as – childproofing their house, allergies & safe eating, household hazards and playground hazards, etc. 

These are necessary to keep the baby safe from any kind of harm. Also, being aware of child protection and safety issues helps you to take immediate action on emergencies.

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How to become a childminder?

To become a childminder, you must have to be registered with Ofsted. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial department of the UK government, but reporting to Parliament. This department is to ensure that only the people who are suitable and ready to provide childcare are registered. They are responsible for inspecting and regulating services that care for children and young people. 

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.

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

  • Have the right to work in the UK and aged over 18
  • Suitable to work with children
  • Physically and mentally capable of caring for children
  • First aid training
  • Childcare training
  • A completed health declaration booklet
  • Contact details for 2 references
  • Enhanced criminal record (DBS) check for you and any adult living or working with you aged over 16.
  • Register online with Ofsted providing necessary documents and certificates.
  • Prepare your premises to undertake a home inspection.
  • Receive your Ofsted registration and host your first child.

Training and qualifications

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

Paediatric first aid training 

You will need to complete a paediatric first-aid course and get a paediatric first-aid certificate. Paediatric first aid courses are extensive, and there are plenty of providers in the UK. You need to renew the certificate of pediatric first aid training every 3 years. This course covers undertaking safeguarding/child protection and regular continuing professional development. Paediatric first aid training concentrates exclusively on children and infants. Standard paediatric courses cover how to care for children in an emergency. For instance, if they are ill or injured under your care.

Child care training

To become a childminder, knowledge about child protection and child care is very important. After getting a paediatric first-aid certificate, you need to complete a local authority-approved childminder training course (sometimes known as CYPOP5). Your local authority will normally be able to offer advice on suitable courses related to childcare. So, it’s a good idea to get in touch with them to discuss how to become a childminder before enrolling. You can take an online course related to childcare as well.

Paperwork

Some Required paperwork – Completed criminal records (DBS Check) application – DBS check is done to check a person’s criminal records and convictions. You will need a completed criminal records application for you. Without a DBS certificate number or confirmation, Ofsted will not accept any application for becoming a childminder. Also, anyone 16 years of age or older who lives with you or will come into contact with the children needs to have their DBS records checked. A Health declaration form signed by your GP – You will need to fill out a health declaration form before applying to Ofsted for registration. It is required to ensure that you are mentally and physically well to take care of babies. Scroll down the page or click here to download the form directly. Follow the instruction to fill the part with the form and sign. Then take it to the doctor and must provide a pre-paid envelope for the doctor to send the form directly to Ofsted. Others –  You need to have a certificate of good character from an embassy if you’ve lived abroad in the past 5 years. Also, you need to require an English Proficiency certificate to teach children and keep records in English and 2 persons contact details for references.

Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

All registered childcare providers like childminders, nurseries and nannies- are required by law to have insurance. The childminders 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. Sometimes the public liability insurances also cover childcare equipment against theft, damage or fire.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

If you plan on employing a childminding assistant or any other staff in your setting to help you with childcare business? By law, then you need to have an Employer’s Liability Insurance (ELI) in place for your business. Employer’s Liability Insurance works similarly to Public Liability Insurance often covered by Public Liability Insurance. If any of your insured employees are injured while working for you, you are covered and protected from any claims that may arise.

Online Ofsted Registration Process

Only when you have collected all the required documents and certificates, then you can apply online to register as a childminder.
  • Go to Ofsted official site.
    • Click on become a childminder or nanny.
    • Scroll down to ‘Register as a childminder’ and follow the guidance 
  • Create a Government Gateway account unless you already have one.
  • Fill up the form(s). The forms have guidance notes to help you fill up the forms. You need to make sure that you and the other people associated with your application complete the forms as fully as possible.
Here are two forms to complete: EYC: Main application form for childminding registration EY2: Declaration and consent form and an additional form if you choose to have childminder assistants.
  • If the forms have not been completed fully, Ofsted cannot process the application.
  • Submit the EYC and EY2 form.
  • After submitting your application, they will send you details of how to pay the fee for the registration. The fee is non-refundable.

Please Note:

  • If you don’t pay the application fee your registration will remain incomplete.
  • It is against the law and can be prosecuted and fined if you knowingly give any information that is false or misleading in these applications.
  • If you have any difficulty in following the procedure you can contact Ofsted directly on telephone number: 03001231231
  • Registration may take up to 12 weeks from submitting your application. It may vary depending on the type of registration you apply for.

The Inspection visit

When you first register to become a childminder, Ofsted will conduct an inspection. This inspection is to make sure you meet all the requirements for safety and learning developments. 

During Your Inspection

During the visit, the inspector will check your understanding of the EYFS along with the following-
  • Your identity
  • How many children you can care for and what age group
  • Documents about qualifications and first aid
  • Suitability of your premises, equipment and toys
  • Understanding of risk assessment, safety and security
  • Knowledge about the safeguarding, welfare, and learning and development requirements
  • English Proficiency – to teach children and keep records in English.

After Your Inspection

At the end of the visit, If the checks are satisfactory the inspector will let you know whether the Ofsted authority will approve your registration or not. Ofsted will send you a registration certificate, together with information about the next steps. In case you cannot show the inspector that you are suitable to be registered, they may refuse your application. You’ll receive a ‘notice of intention’ to refuse. Failing to respond to the ‘notice of intention’ within 14 working days of the notice date, Ofsted will send a ‘notice of decision’ to refuse registration and information on how to appeal. Check Registration For Childminders in Ofsted for more information on how to register as a childminder. 
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How much does it cost to become a childminder?

When you are a registered childminder, you will be working in your own home and classified as self-employed. You will need to register your business with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) and be responsible for managing your own accounts. 

Following are some expenses to expect when you decide to become a childminder according to gov.uk –

  • Aged 5 or under : £35/year
  • Aged 5 or older: £103/year
  • All ages (5-8): £35/year
  • DBS check (you and others): £48.10 each
  • DBS check update service: £13/year
  • DBS check update service: £13/year
  • GP fee (approximately): £90
  • Childcare training (approximately): £50 to £200
  • Public liability insurance (approximately): £25 to £100
  • Membership and ICO registration (Optional): £40
  • Others (toys, books, childproofing your house etc.) (approximately): £200

All in all, you will need £600 to £700 to start your career as a childminder.

How can you improve your childminding?

There are more than 80,000 registered childminders in the UK. There are a lot of job opportunities for a childminder in all parts of the country. It is a very popular childcare option for working parents. Well, most childminders usually set their own rates.

A survey conducted by PACEY in 2017 found that a childminder in England charges between £3.00 and £10.00 per hour. However, the average childminder hourly rate is £4.64 and the annual income is around £18,600.

A childminder charge depends on

  •  your living area
  • your intended working hour
  • advertise your business
  • the number of children you will be caring 

The first thing you need to do is research your local area. After considering some factors like childcare demand, charging fees, and expense. After that fix a competitive price or go for similar prices for the service. You can choose a daily fee instead of charging for hours. And you have the opportunity to charge more for older children.

How can you improve your childminding?

Well in childminding, there is always room for improvement and learning. Here are a few tips you can follow to maximize your childminding business. 

1. Advertising your business 

In businesses like Childminding, word of mouth is your most powerful marketing tool. Once a few parents are using your service (and you are impressed) the word will spread very quickly.

Until your business is popular, create a strong web presence to let people find you. Without advertising, people may not know that you are providing childminding services. Therefore, create a website or a Facebook page with all the information your customers might be interested in from pricing to your qualifications.

2. Provide a friendly learning environment

You should prepare a play-based curriculum for young children; whose aim is to make excellent progress on children’s all-round development. Teaching them new things and supporting their ongoing interests in a friendly environment is very important for the early years. This is necessary for their cognitive development.

3. Continuous training

Well, if you want to take proper care of young children, you need to know as much as you can. Improving your knowledge and skills will help you in emergencies and learning new things.  For continued development, you can attend courses like Child Development online. You should also keep your knowledge up to date on topics like child welfare, protection and better care options.

4. Use project management software

It can be a very useful tool for keeping track of everything. You’ll be able to see how well your settings are doing at a glance. You can use it to create timelines or keep track of daily activities such as schedules, routines, etc. Using project management software makes you more organised and efficient.

After registration maintenance

When your Ofsted registration is complete, your information will be published on the official Ofsted website.  This means you are allowed to start your childminding business. Some things to keep in mind after registration are given below –

●  You may have to undergo inspections every year.

●  Keep your details updated. You must report any changes within 14 days such as working place, your contact details, childcare working hours

●  Report new adults staying at home or leaving home

●  Report if any serious accident occurs (related to childminding)

●  Pay Ofsted annual registration fee.

●  Annual DBS check.

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Closing notes

Become a childminder and enjoy heart-breaking and heavenly smiles of young children and help them develop their cognitive brain by providing a friendly and learning environment. Also, increase your knowledge & skills by learning more about Child Development and Care.

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