Useful Hints and Tips for Choosing a Childminder

Things to consider when looking for a childminder

If you are looking for high quality childcare where your child’s passion for learning is ignited, where a safe and welcoming homely environment and partnership working supports your child to learn, grow and thrive, then a childminder maybe a good childcare option for you.

All childminders have to be registered by a regulatory body, this is underpinned in law. (Childcare Act 2006) This could be Ofsted who register and then inspect childminders within each four year inspection cycle, or a childminder agency such as Integrity Childminder Agency where childminders are regularly supported to deliver high quality experiences for your child and monitored regularly to ensure ongoing quality of care and education.

Childminders with an agency are not alone in their profession, this monitoring, training and support offers much needed reassurance for you as a parent when leaving your child in a childcare setting. We appreciate at Integrity Childminder Agency how complex a decision choosing the right childcare is.

As a parent you will want some detailed information before you make the decision to entrust your child with a childminder. Therefore, we have compiled a list of questions you may wish to ask. Integrity Agency childminders will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.

The first thing to check is that the childminder is registered and insured. They should be happy to share their registration certificate and public liability insurance certificate. Check that insurance is current and you could enquire how long the childminder has been registered.

What times does the childminder work and when is childcare available? You may wish to enquire at this point how many holidays the childminder takes per annum and when the next holiday is planned. When was the childminder last off sick? Is any alternative care offered during holiday periods/sickness? Will you be able to take your holidays at the same time?

Childminders are required to complete paediatric first aid training and also safeguarding level one every three years and should be happy to share all their training certificates with you. You may wish to ask about any further professional development the childminder is undertaking or has planned.

You will of course want to know who else lives in the home, any assistants that are employed or anyone else who will be in regular contact with your child. Were you asked to sign a visitor book on arrival? How does the childminder ensure your child is safe with any visitors?

Childminders are able to care for no more than six children under eight years of age. You will be expected to enquire how many children are currently being cared for, their ages and the days that they attend. You may also wish to ask if there are any other children waiting to start or mums on maternity.

How does the childminder plan her day/routine and what will my child be doing throughout the day here is a good question to ask. What activities outside of the home are planned? How is information regarding my child’s experiences and development shared with me?

You should be offered a tour of the home and if not offered up then, ask which rooms in the home are used for childminding. You may wish to ask about outdoor opportunities also.

Are there any pets present or does the childminder have any animals? How are these managed during childminding hours? Ask to see the childminders pet policy and any risk assessments.

How safe is the environment? The childminder may be able to show you risk assessments of the environment both indoors, outdoors and on outings. You may wish to ask if anyone in the house smokes and how this is managed during childminder hours?

You should enquire about the childminders views on raising children, their behaviour management and equality policy and procedure for instance.

You will want to know about childcare fees, what this includes and what you need to provide. Ask what happens during any periods of absence on both sides. If you are not ready to take up a place immediately you may want to ask about any retainers or deposits that are expected to secure the place. Childminders should be signing a contract with parents to make these issues clear. You may wish to request to view a blank contract and ask how often contracts are reviewed.

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