A childminder provides care for children in
the childminder’s own home. If a childminder looks after children
aged between 0 and 8 years, they are required to register with
OFSTED and meet standards relating to their suitability as carers
of children, the safety of premises and facilities, insurance, and
record keeping. Checks are made on all members of the
household over the age of 16 yrs to several agencies.
How many children may childminders look after?
The number of children under 8yrs who can be
cared for by a childminder is limited to 6 children at any one time
(including the childminder’s own children). A childminder may not
mind more than 3 children under 5yrs of which only one can be under
1 year. The certificate will state how many children a childminder
will care for.
How do you find a childminder?
The Families Information Service (FIS)
provides free, impartial, up to date information on childcare and
early education provision for parents, carers, childcare providers,
employers and others. Call Freephone 0800 023 4440/01670
623563 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Families Information Service can put you
in touch with childminders who have vacancies, who live in your
area or near your place of work or study.
How do you choose a childminder?
Where possible visit several childminders and
talk to them to see if the service they are offering is suitable
for your child and your needs. Take a list of questions and any
issues you want to bring up before you make a choice, tick them
off, make notes as you go along. This will be a useful reminder for
you and also places the arrangement on an organised and
professional footing from the start.
Some points to consider?
- Take your child with you when you visit.
- Always go to a registered childminder - ask to see their
- Check they have up to date public liability insurance cover,
ask for proof.
- Look at the accommodation, is it safe, is there room to
- Are there toys and books around?
- Ask how many other children are in their care.
- If there are children there, are they happy, settled and
- Will your child fit in?
- Ask about the childminders typical day, do they take the
children shopping, attend toddler groups, go on visits or outings
- How do they deal with unacceptable behaviour?
- How do they ensure the children in their care are treated with
- What training or experience do they have in looking after other
- What plans do they have in the event of an emergency?
- Which school or playgroup do they take children to?
- What hours are available, are meals, snacks etc. provided and
how much do they charge?
- Do you need to provide any equipment such as a buggy?
- Are there any extras to pay e.g. overtime, sickness or
- When do you have to pay and do they accept Childcare Vouchers
- What safety equipment is used - including car restraints?
- Is there appropriate car insurance cover?
- What pets do they have?
- What happens if your child is ill - will they contact you?
- Will they mind a sick child?
- Will you be able to meet the rest of the family?
How do you settle your child with a
Try to arrange several visits with the
childminder for you and your child. This will help them to become
familiar with the new situation. Try leaving your child for a short
time to start with, so they gradually get used to being left with
How much do childminders charge?
All childminders are self-employed people,
having responsibility for their own income, expenses, equipment,
tax and national insurance. They set their own rates, therefore
charges will vary from area to area and will be a private agreement
between you and the childminder.
You should always have a contract with the
childminder that states the hours, fees, overtime rates, fees for
non-attendance, meals provided, length of notice to be given etc.
agreed by you both, signed and dated by both, with a copy for each
Do you have to take anything to the childminders?
It might be a good idea to take a favourite
toy, and if you have a young baby the childminder may ask you to
bring food, nappies etc. Make sure your child is dressed adequately
for the time of year; the childminder may want to take your child
out during the day. A change of clothes and shoes is a good idea
What other information will the
Telephone numbers, names and addresses of:
- your place of work
- your doctor and health visitor
- an emergency contact number
- what illnesses and immunisations your child has had
- any allergies
- what your child does / does not like to eat
- your child's sleeping routine
- any pet words or names
- whether toilet trained
- able to use a cup
- eating implements etc.
- anything that will help your child to settle.
What happens if your child is
Childminders do not normally look after sick
children, as infection may spread to other children and their
families. If your child becomes ill whilst in the care of the
childminder you should be contacted. Permission will also be needed
to administer any prescribed medicine to your child.
What happens if the childminder is
It is your responsibility to make alternative
arrangements, though some childminders help to make arrangements
between you and another childminder to cover for them.
What do you do if you are not happy
about things at the childminders?
Try to discuss any difficulties as soon as
they arise to work out a solution. It is not a good idea to move
your child from one person to another unless you really have to -
children need stability and consistent care. If you are unable to
resolve your difficulties and they relate to the quality of care,
contact OFSTED on 0300 123 1231.