Child minders usually work alone, in their own homes and many have their own children.
My personal feeling is that babies are better with a child minder, than, say, a nursery setting, as a child minder is in a home environment and the adult to child ratio is a lot lower. It was one under one, three under five and six under eight in my day. Child minders also cover a wide age range, usually birth – 14 years, so your child could stay with a child minder for many years, including before and after school and during school holidays, if necessary.
Most of my work came from word of mouth, so ask around at your child’s school. toddler groups, etc. if anyone knows of a good child minder.. Health visitors are also a good port of call, or contact Ofsted for a list of registered child minders, in your area.
My advice, would be to visit several before making your decision. Although all childminders, follow strict Ofsted rules and regulations, we are all quite different from one another and you need to find one that is on ‘the same wave length’!
Initially you will need to make phone contact. to check on vacancies and then make an appointment to visit.I used to try to interview prospective parents, during the day, while I was working, if possible, to give them the feel of my setting while it was in use.
During the visit, parents should be shown, the registration certificate ( ideally this should be on display), insurance document, details of policies, Ofsted reports, first aid certificate and other qualifications gained, she should also explain about things like accidents / incidents and make out a contract, if you decide to go ahead,so every one is clear about every thing ( like fees, arrangements for non attendance etc.)
Questions to ask the child minder are how is behaviour managed? will there be extra fees for outings or meals? ( or should a packed lunch be provided) what happens if a child is taken ill during the day, ages of other children who will be at setting at the same time, etc.
My last piece of advice is to go with your gut instinct, if it doesn’t feel right look else where. Most of my child minding parents told me that they knew when we first met, that I was right for them and their offspring. I have made some life long friends from both parents and children from my time as a child minder.
As always questions/ comments are welcome.
Karen is a child care blogger with a wealth of experience.
For more info pop on over to www.thenextbestthingtomummy.com