So, here I’m hoping to give you an insight into my life as a UK childminder, so anyone considering a career in home based childcare please read on and I really hope you find this useful.

Be a full time mum and your own boss

My main reason to become a childminder was to enable me to stay with my own children, whilst earning money, so if you are a mum (or dad) desperately looking for a way to earn money whilst being around for your children then this might be the perfect job for you………… It also helps to quite like children!

I take my own children too and from school each day,

I manage to make most school assemblies and shows,

I never work a late night or a weekend,

My children have never been short of someone to play with,

I have freedom to spend the days as I choose (within reason, I can’t exactly have a glass of wine with lunch!)

Childminding ratios…… Who am I allowed to care for?

Once your fully registered there are 2 Ofsted registers: the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register as long as you join both of these you can provide care for

A total of six children under 8 years,

Of which only three children under 5 years,

Only one of which can be under 1 years.

You can also provide care for children over 8yrs providing it doesn’t affect the care you are giving the younger children, your insurance will determine the maximum amount you can have and for a single childminder it’s normally around 12.

Childminding fees

Your fees need to be inline with others in your area, so do your research, don’t undercut people but don’t price yourself out of the market, parents will choose you as their provider when they like what they see, there’s more important aspects than just your price.

I found that just taking on one child full time provided me with the same income as my part-time call centre job, the child I had was the same age as my eldest daughter and they got on great, we had so much fun visiting parks, farms and much more just me, my 2 daughters and this one additional child.

If you were to fill all of your spaces, for example 3 children full time, and 3 older children before and after school each day you’d easily be making a decent income, where I am based here in Yorkshire that would equate to £720 a week, but like I mentioned before fees vary a lot over the country and I’m led to believe here in Yorkshire is one of the lowest rates there are.

A typical day in the life of a childminder

choose my working hours to be 7am – 6pm but this is your choice I know lots of childminders that don’t start till gone 8am, and some that close at 5pn, there’s even a few that just offer similar to school hours 9-3.

So I’m always up around an hour before, enjoy a coffee in peace, write out my register for the day, have a quick tidy round and gather my thoughts for the day ahead.

I wake my children around 6.45 so their dressed and downstairs for 7am

Children start arriving from 7am and I serve breakfast until 7.30.

Then they relax with TV in the living room or toys in the playroom

At 8 we get ready for school and set off on our school run at 8.15

I get home around 9am, I’m a big believer in freeplay and outdoor play so we tend to head out to the garden till 11, fruit is available when the children are hungry, we have

Water play,

Sand,

Playdough,

Musical instruments,

Books,

A climbing frame, with swings, slide, trapeze bar & ladder,

Mud kitchen,

Ride ons,

Trampoline,

Tyres and planks

Constuction area,

Chalk board and chalk,

Barbie house and toys

All available in the garden, the playroom is still open with too many toys to list, plus we have a craft room where we do painting, drawing, puzzles and games etc.

I normally manage a coffee in this time………. We watch the children playing, extending their play and supporting their language but without interfering.

At 11am I bring the children indoors, we have a tidy, I check nappies and change them if needed then I read a story before lunch, the benefit of working alongside my hubby is that he now makes lunch, but as a sole childminder I never found it a problem.

After Lunch everyone tries the toilet then we sing songs before I open the garden back up around 1pm.

Younger children tend to nap at this time.

The children then go back to their own play, using their imaginations and learning the whole time,

A few of our under 5 year children leave around 3pm

We set off to school just before 3pm and walk there and back, I tend to work to my maximum numbers so normally collect around 6 children including a couple of over 8s.

When we get home they have some snack around 4.15pm then play till home time, the latest children leave at 6pm but we’re normally fairly quite by 5pm.

During the day we keep a register as children come and go, we record daily info for parents ie sleep, nappy changes, bottles etc. We observe and note any new learning or developments we see from the children. We take photos to share with parents. We keep the children safe and offer plenty of opportunities for learning.

This is an average day, we also enjoy going to our local playgroup every Thursday, we visit parks, farms, soft play, we walk our puppy, we go to feed the ducks, we even nip to tesco sometimes!

How to become a childminder in the UK…….

If you think this maybe the career for you, the first thing to do is get in touch with you local authority and they will support you through the registration process, which goes like this:

  • Complete an introduction course (around 20hrs)
  • Complete a 2-day paediatric first aid certificate
  • Be Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked.
  • Have a health check completed by your doctor.
  • have appropriate insurance cover, including Public Liability Insurance.
  • Apply to ofsted who will come out and do a pre reg check, like an interview for you and a safety check of your home.
  • Ensure you are in the eyfs and compulsory childcare registers.

There’s lots of information out there on the legal requirements etc but what I wanted to do today was share a more personal insight as I can’t see much of that around (I guess most childminders are just too busy!) I hope you’ve found it useful and feel free to leave any questions and comments and I will get back to you.

There’s lots more I want to talk to you about….. How I track learning and development, advertising, communicating with parents, ofsted and inspections, required paperwork and probably much more please let me know anything you’d like to know more on,

Love Sam

Your home childcarer friend x

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