How to Become a Childminder

Three Methods:Assessing Your SkillsObtaining the Proper Training and ExperienceRegistering in the UK and Observing Regulations

Childminders are self-employed daycare providers who offer in-home services for small children in the UK. The details in this article are specific to the UK; other countries will have different requirements. Childminders provide care and education for children other than their own for payment. As opposed to daycare facilities, which are larger operations that care for many children, childminders provide care for a small number of children in a more intimate family setting. These services are invaluable to busy parents who need quality care for their small children during the day. Childminding can be a great career option for you, especially if you enjoy being around children and have small children yourself.

Method 1
Assessing Your Skills

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    Be good with children.[1] Do most children seem to like you instantly? The most basic necessity for childminding is to be good with and enjoy being around children. You should be able to get along quickly and easily with most children that you meet. Patience and a sense of humor are helpful.
    • Do you like to read to or play games with children? A "yes" shows you are going in the right direction.
    • Make sure you have a true interest in helping children learn, grow and develop.
  2. 2
    Develop child-friendly skills. Learn how to play lots of games and do age-appropriate crafts with children. Practice reading aloud and being an animated narrator. Learn how to be creative and easily join in imaginative play. Be able to remain calm in stressful situations. Develop fast decision-making skills and an upbeat attitude.
    • Have the ability to intervene in small squabbles.
    • Be able to teach basic literacy and explain simple math in a way that makes sense to a small child.[2]
  3. 3
    Be able to plan, prepare and serve healthy meals.[3] Many parents will have specific requests for the children’s diets, which you will need to fulfill. If there aren’t specific requests, parents will expect you to provide healthy options and offer a range of foods with full nutritional benefits. Familiarize yourself with the nutrition and types of foods that children of specific ages need to get – for instance, the diet requirements for a two year old child will be much different than for an eight year old.
    • Learn how to make kid-friendly meals for all age groups.
    • Get familiar with the dietary needs of developing children. Know how often they need snacks and be able to provide them.
    • Be sure to inquire about any food allergies. Keep files with important information for each of your charges, including any allergies or other health concerns.

Method 2
Obtaining the Proper Training and Experience

  1. 1
    Work at another daycare.[4] Working in a daycare or for another childcare provider will help you firm up your child-friendly skills. It will give you experience interacting with children of all ages and help you feel more comfortable around them.
    • Previous experience will teach you how to provide a warm, friendly environment for kids.
    • Observing this procedure in action can help you recreate a similar environment in your own home.
  2. 2
    Know CPR and basic first aid.[5] Children experience lots of scrapes and bumps during play, so you’ll need to know how to treat and dress minor wounds. In the event that something more drastic occurs, it’s imperative that you know how to react. Know how to perform CPR, make ice packs, and treat allergic reactions. Get familiar with the signs of basic illnesses, such as colds and flus, which can spread among children very quickly.
    • Be able to spot situations when you can’t care for a child, such as when they have chicken pox or head lice, because the contagions will infect your other charges.
    • Create hard and fast policies about such illnesses and stick to them.
    • Make sure the parents know what healthcare you can and can’t provide their child in your home setting.
  3. 3
    Obtain and submit your pre-registration application pack. Contact the Families Information Services at your local council to find out when there is a childminding pre-registration meeting in your area. At this meeting you will receive your application pack and details of the early years foundation stage (EYFS). The EYFs set the learning, development, child safety and well-being standards for childminding in the UK.[6]
    • Complete the application and submit it to your regional Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) facility.
    • Ofsted will require you to have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, which will confirm that you are suitable to care for children. Once you pass, you will be given a DBS certificate.
    • Joining the DBS update service is also a required part of your pre-registration. You can register online and the DBS certificate will be good for one year. It will costs £13 annually.
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    Complete pre-registration training. Once you’ve registered with Ofsted, they will do a home inspection and an interview with you. You will be required to have a medical check. You also must complete an introductory training course and a 12-hour paediatric first-aid course. Both of these are offered through the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY). PACEY’s training course, Preparing to Work in Home-Based Childcare (HBCA), is a level 3 award. This CACHE accredited HBCA course covers everything you need to know about being a registered childminder.[7]
    • The HBCA is an e-learning course that you purchase online for £238.80.
    • The course, which has two units, takes most people three months to complete, but you have up to six months after you buy the course to complete it.
    • An additional part of your pre-registration training is working towards an optional unit taken from the qualification: Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce.
    • Visit the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) website for more details.

Method 3
Registering in the UK and Observing Regulations

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    Register with Ofsted. This information is specific to the UK. If you are looking after children under eight years old for longer than two hours per day, you are required to register with Ofsted or another childminder agency. There are two registers: the Early Years Register (to look after children age five and under) and the Childcare Register (to look after children ages five through seven).
    • If you are looking after children in both age groups, you’ll need to register with both.[8]
    • If you don’t comply with the registration laws, you can be fined and/or sent to prison.
    • You will have to pay a registration fee and an annual fee.
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    Prepare to be inspected by Ofsted. This information is specific to the UK. When you register, Ofsted will do an initial inspection. The inspection is to ensure a basic level of quality is in place. They will check to make sure you’re meeting the requirements for child safety, learning and development. You could be inspected at any time. [9]
    • During the inspection, Ofsted will observe the children at play and observe how you interact with the children. They will speak with the children directly to check their levels of learning and understanding.
    • Ofsted will be speaking to you directly about the children’s knowledge, skills and abilities. They will evaluate your knowledge of the early years curriculum.
    • The inspector will provide feedback about their findings. If significant improvements are necessary, they will explain what needs to be done and then you will be inspected again in 6 months.
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    Have the local fire marshal inspect your house. Even if you aren’t getting licensed, it’s still a good idea to have the local fire marshall come out to inspect your home. You’ll need to provide floor plans and escape plans – the standard is having at least 2 exits out of each room in the case of an emergency. Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are required. Most fire marshals will test them on-site to make sure they are in working order.
    • Look into the details for fire inspection in your area – there are usually rules about windows, electrical outlets and even general housekeeping, all of which the fire marshall will be inspecting.[10]
    • You’ll be given a certificate upon passing inspection, which you should hang on the wall in a place where parents can review it.
  4. 4
    Carry appropriate homeowners' insurance that covers accidents. Many homeowners’ insurance providers have a home day care coverage policy that you can get. It will cover personal liability and medical expenses for accidents and injuries sustained by children in your home.[11] Accidents happen, especially when small children are involved, so obtaining this insurance is very important.
    • In the event of an accident, this insurance will protect you and the child.
    • It will also enable the injured child to get the medical care they need.
    • Speak to a licensed insurance agent for more information and policy options.

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