Childminders look after children in the childminder's home. Most full-time work is with babies and children under five. Looking after older children before school, after school and during the holidays is also common.
Childminders cater for children's physical, educational, social and emotional needs by providing a warm, caring environment along with stimulating play and learning activities. They aim to encourage learning and development through activities such as painting and drawing, reading stories and outdoor play.
A childminder's duties will also include planning, preparing and serving meals to the children in their care. With babies, this will include preparing bottles, feeding and changing nappies.
An important aspect of the job is to work closely with parents (or other carers, such as foster parents), and share information about the wellbeing of their children.
Hours and Environment
To cater for the needs of working parents, childminders are likely to work long hours. Some childminders offer a weekend and/or overnight service.
Childminders work mainly in their own homes. The work can involve taking children to and from school or playgroup.
Skills and Interests
To be a childminder you will need:
- a love of children and a commitment to providing long-term care
- an open-mind about different ways of bringing up children
- a caring nature, patience, a sense of humour and flexibility
- good communication skills
- to be open to scrutiny, both personally and in your own home
- an awareness of health, safety and hygiene, and knowledge of child protection issues
- the ability to keep written records and make simple financial calculations.
All childminders are self-employed. Most provide a service for working or student parents, but some childminders are paid by the local authority, for example, to care for children who might otherwise be at risk of neglect or abuse.
OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education)
Tel: 0845 640 4045
Northern Ireland Childminding Association
16/18 Mill Street
Tel: 028 9181 1015
National Childminding Association
81 Tweedy Road
Tel: 0845 880 0044
DFES Childrens Workforce: Qualifications
Childrens Workforce Development Council (CWDC)
Friends Provident House
13-14 South Parade
Tel: 0113 244 6311
Tel: 08000 960296
Care Commission (Scotland)
Tel: 0845 603 0890
Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales
Tel: 01443 848 450