Looking For A Childminder

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Looking For A Childminder

 

Making a responsible choice

First of all check whether your Childminders is registered.  Childminders need to be registered if they are caring for children under the age of 8 years, for two hours or more for reward unless they are a close relative.

 

A list of registered childminders in Devon is available from Devon Information for Services on Children (DISC) 0845 155 10 13.  Childminders in Devon who agree to their information being on the internet can be viewed on www.devon.gov.uk/disc/

 

A list of registered childminders in Torbay is available from Torbay Early Years Service for further information call 01803 207926.

 

A list of registered childminders in Plymouth is available from the Family Information Service (FIS) 0800 783 4259.   Childminders in Plymouth who agree to their information being on the internet can be viewed on www.plymouthonlinedirectory.com/families

 

Childminders are registered for the protection of children.  This ensures that they are a fit person and their premises provide a suitable environment for children.

 

  

It also ensures that Childminders keep within safe limits, in terms of the number of children they care for at any one time.  

 

You need to be sure that the Childminder you choose is well suited to your child and your expectations.

 

Allow plenty of time to find the right Childminder.

 

It can be a daunting task working your way through a list of phone numbers.  Don't stop at the first vacancy, contact several if possible.  Arrange to visit them with your child, so that you can gauge the rapport between your child and the Childminder.

 

Remember that Childminders are self-employed people, running their own business. They will all vary slightly in how they work.  Discuss your needs and expectations for your child with them. 

 

Questions to Ask a Childminder

Both you and the Childminder may be a bit nervous on the first visit, but they will understand that you want the best for your child.  Some questions can be asked over the phone:

Do they have vacancies for your required time?

How many other children do they care for?

Are changes hourly or sessional?

What kind of activities would be happening during the day?

      

More detailed issues are best discussed in person.  You might like to know what experience they have in caring for children.  All registered childminders have a registration certificate which must be displayed when they are childminding, you should ask to see it and read the terms which apply. It indicates the ages and numbers of children the childminder can care for at any one time, it also states other conditions e.g. whether  the childminder can provide overnight care.  It is normal to ask to see areas of the house where your child would be cared for.

 

You may have certain preferences, activities or dietary needs etc., these should be discussed with the Childminder.  However, it will be up to the Childminder to consider whether they can fit your requests into their routine.

 

It is normal for the Childminder to ask you questions to help them get an understanding of your child and how the arrangements would work.  The Childminder will require you to complete a written contract agreeing to the terms and conditions you have discussed. Other paperwork will also be requested to be completed, these are necessary documents and must be completed prior to you leaving your child in their care.

 

For an arrangement to succeed, it is vital that there is trust and communication on both sides.  Make it your first priority to establish these things.

 

Childminding is a Business

You will expect your Childminder to be reliable and it is important that the Childminder can also depend on your punctuality.  You both have commitements to consider, so timing can be an important issue.

 

If you are not using the arranged sessions for any reason, due to holidays, sickness or family changes, it is normal for the Childminder to charge a fee.  This will be set out in your contract.

 

There are no regulations about charges and rates may vary depending on the service provided.  This will be set out in your contract which should be reviewed at least annually.

 

Reasonable flexibility on both sides helps to establish a good working relationship. Mututal respect and understanding provides the right atmosphere for your child's happiness and security.

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