Becoming a childminder is a popular choice with women (and some men!) who wish to combine working at home with their love of kids.
It is an especially attractive career for mums (or dads!) who want to care for other children alongside their own.
However, childminding is a professional career – it’s not just babysitting the neighbour’s kids for a few hours.
To become a childminder you will need to undergo training, complete a number of registration requirements and market yourself.
Never fear! Here we outline what steps you need to take to become a childminder.Childminding is a professional career - it’s not just babysitting the neighbour’s kids for a few hours.Click To Tweet
What You Need To Do To Become a Childminder
To become a legally registered childminder you must gain the appropriate qualifications and training set out by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). More information can be found here.
Training courses in EYFS are delivered in England and Wales by PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years).
This training forms part of the level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce, which you’ll need to complete to become a fully-accredited childminder.
You must also complete a paediatric first aid course which is run by a number of providers such as the Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance.
Registration and Ofsted Inspections
Once you have completed an EYFS training course you must then register with your local authority (council) and with Ofsted.
Before setting out on your training, it’s a good idea to visit your local authority’s Family Information Service who run special sessions for all those wanting to become childminders.
There you will be given advice as well as an application pack for registration.
You must also apply to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for a voluntary police check which is legally required in order to register as a childminder.
Once you have completed all the training and have received your registration certificate you are free to start work.
While working as a childminder, you will receive regular Ofsted Inspections. Ofsted is a government agency that regulates all education in the UK.
Inspections can happen at any time, and an Ofsted inspector will visit your home and make recommendations for improvement.
The results of your inspection will be also be published online. It is important to note that you must be Ofsted registered to work as a childminder.
Like most start-up business there are initial costs involved with becoming a childminder. Here is a general idea:
- Initial training course – £150 to £250
- Paediatric first Aid course – £80-£100
- Ofsted registration fee – £35
- Public Liability insurance – £50
You must also consider the costs of extra toys, bedding and other specialist equipment you may need.
Getting your First Job
Once you have completed your training and registration, you are ready for your first job! Many childminders find work through word-of-mouth, so networking at toddler groups, the school gates and through friends is a good first step.
Putting a leaflet or card up in shops, post offices, pre-schools and schools is also a great idea.
You can also set up a website which outlines your services or advertise with a company such as childcare.co.uk, who charge a monthly fee of around £20.
Hours and Pay
Childminding is a flexible job but you will need to offer hours that suit the working people who are using your services.
Many childminders offer early mornings (sometimes from 7am) to evening (generally around 6pm). Some also offer to pick kids up from school or nursery and school holiday cover.
Childminders can charge a minimum hourly rate of £3.30 per child (the average is around £4.50 per child).
By law a childminder can care for a maximum of six children under 8 and a maximum of three of those six children can be below pre-school age and only one can be under 1.
If you wish to know more about childminding, read on to our interview with Lou, a registered childminder, below!
Lou Howell – Childminder
Lou Howell used to work full-time in Marketing and Communications at a large London-based firm. The hours were long and the commute even longer.
When she returned to work after her first baby she found the childcare fees and travel costs took a massive slice out of her salary, but she soldiered on.
However, after Lou had her second daughter, and was about to enrol her full-time in nursery, she realised how tired and stressed she was – a change was needed. Here’s what Lou told us:
I have two daughters, one at school and one at pre-school. I worked long hours, as did my husband, and I stopped one day and asked myself ‘there must be a better way?’
I obviously love being with my own kids, but I also love being around other kids.
My mum was a foster carer and so we always had kids staying with us when I was little and our house was full of laughter and noise!
A friend of mine is a live-out nanny for a family where I live and she walks to work, spends her days looking after two great kids and has her evenings free. So I thought – I want some of that!
And that’s how I became interested in childminding. After completing my initial training and passing all my checks, which took about a year, I advertised in the local toddler group and on Facebook.
I now look after two kids (as well as my own), a baby boy of 10 months and a two-year-old girl, five days a week.
I have never looked back. I spend my days playing with the kids, taking them to the park and meeting other mums at toddler groups and I’m able to pick up my two daughters at school and pre-school.
They love to play and cuddle with the other kids I look after. There are times when I’m tired or under the weather but I find being able to work at home is a great help, and the two kids I look after means I don’t have time to stand still!
The money may not be as good as what I was earning in London, but without childcare and travel costs, we don’t notice the difference too much.
And the best thing is that I get to be with my own children as well as contributing to the life of two other fantastic kids.
It was the best move for me – my life is more manageable and I am not as stressed as I used to be.
If you love being around kids and want to work from home, this is the job for you! If you have any advice for people wishing to become a childminder please let us know in the comment box!
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