Being a childminder is a constantly changing career path for those that enjoy or are good at working with children. Every child has their own needs and personality, making childminding a job that requires quick thinking, problem-solving and a flair and love for your job, but most importantly, it’s a job that’s rewarding for all parties involved if done properly. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a childminder, you might be wondering what it takes to get started. We’re here to help – find out more, below.
What Exactly Is A Childminder And What Will I Be Doing?
While childminding is a rewarding and often enjoyable career to choose, it’s important to understand exactly what the role entails so you can make an informed decision as to whether this really is the career for you. Childminding is centred around the health and safety of the children in your care which can be a lot of responsibility for some people. You need to be able to meet the physical and often the mental needs of children in your care, ensuring they are not only physically safe but emotionally cared for and depending on their age or the schedule, you may even need to help them with learning.
The day to day expectations will depend entirely on the family you are working with, but you can expect to undertake a number of tasks including:
- Providing and preparing meals according to dietary requirements, preferences, religious requirements and more.
- Changing nappies and giving bottles for toddlers and babies
- Dropping off and picking up from school
- Keeping kids entertained throughout the day when there is no school
- Help with homework
- You may take children out on trips to the park etc, where transport and necessary equipment (e.g. buggies, car seats) will be required
- Keep on top of all paperwork and reports
- Keep the house clean and tidy and safe for children
- Balance different needs and schedules of children of different ages
While the above will depend on how long you’re caring for the children and their needs according to age and other factors, they are just a handful of the tasks you may be required to keep on top of and perform throughout a day.
Do I Need To Register as a Childminder?
If you’re planning to become a full time or even a part-time childminder, it’s important to ensure you register accordingly. According to the UK Government, registration as a childminder is required if the following apply:
- You are caring for children under the age of 8
- Your services are required for 2 or more hours a day
- You look after the children in your own home
- You are getting paid to look after them, including payment in kind
Without registration, you can’t be legally paid or recognised as a childminder if any of the above apply. In order to register, you’ll need to register with Ofsted and/or a childminder agency.
There are some cases where registration won’t be necessary, and different rules may apply for providing childminding services in an alternative location such as a nursery or creche. It’s important to note, however, that while registration isn’t compulsory for the following situations, some may still register in order to help the parents qualify for free childcare in the UK. Those who do not need to register as a childminder include:
- Babysitters that look after children between 6pm and 2am
- A family friend that cares for children for less than 3 hours a day
- Anyone that looks after the children for less than 3 hours a day
You cannot register as a childminder if:
- You’re under 18
- You are related to all of the children you look after
- You don’t have a legal right to work in the UK
- You have been barred from working with children
- You have been disqualified
- You have been refused registration in the past, or had registration cancelled (except where cancellation was due to a fee not paid)
- Are childminding in a home where a disqualified person lives or works.
Do I Need Any Qualifications to Become a Childminder?
When it comes to registering for and operating as a childminder, there are a few qualifications and checks that you may need to complete first. This includes a DBS Criminal Record check and a Health Declaration Form signed by your doctor. For your DBS Criminal Record Check, you will need an enhanced check, as will anyone else connected with your childminding business. Each person must apply for their own check through the Ofsted DBS Application. The Healthcare Declaration Form is required if you’re applying for the Early Years register in particular but doesn’t always require you to go through a health check at your GP. In most cases, they may sign the form without a physical examination needed. If you have an ongoing or underlying health condition, it’s important to speak to your doctor about the physical or mental strains of the role and if it’s the right role for you.
In terms of training and qualifications, childcare-related qualifications will certainly help; however, you must complete training to ensure you’re in the best position to do the job and that you have all relevant knowledge and expertise. You should complete:
- Introductory childminding courses that cover all EYFS requirements
- Level 2 Core training (for 5 years and over only, no early years) for all core skills and knowledge
- First Aid Training – at least a 12-hour paediatric first aid course, to be retaken every 3 years.
What Insurance Do I Need?
When it comes to becoming a childminder, it’s important to ensure you are protected against accidents and injuries while working. When looking after children, there are always risks present and while you will be trained to spot and reduce these risks, this isn’t always simple. Something as simple as spilt water or juice could result in a slip or fall, or play equipment could pose trip hazards or a source of injury – these are some of the risks always associated with childcare and while these should be prevented as much as possible, having public liability insurance for childminders will provide financial support to you in the case of a claim made against you.
Claims could involve anything from injuries obtained by tripping over equipment or injuries caused by a child rolling off a changing table, to more severe issues such as positioning from chemicals or medicines ingested by a child where the chemical or medicine should have been out of reach. With insurance, you can ensure you are protected financially in the case of a claim across both legal fees and any compensation required to be paid out.