For as long as I can remember I have always loved babies and children (and anything to do with them) including an interest in pregnancy and birth. All I ever wanted to do when I was growing up playing with baby dolls was to to get married and have children. I did get married, aged 19 and had two sons when I was 22 and 24. When my boys where aged 4 and 6 I got divorced but re-married; gained a step-son and had a third son with my new husband when I was 29. I would happily have carried on having more babies until I was too old to have any more but, my husband (who was more practical) said we had enough. Although secretly; I suspect he would have liked a daughter too!
When I heard about child minding, it seemed the obvious choice of career. I had worked as a clerical assistant for the Inland Revenue (now known as HMRC) before becoming a mother and had no real desire to go back to that and have to leave my children with someone else. Becoming a child minder would mean that I could earn some much needed money (of which, I earned a decent amount when I became experienced and established, as a child minder) and could look after my own children at the same time.
When I first started, my three eldest where at school; so being a child minder also meant that my youngest had play mates during the day when they were all in school. It also meant that I didn’t have to miss out on important events in the school calendar, such as sport’s days and Nativity Plays. It sometimes meant taking a few child minded children along with me; but we all benefited from these occasions.
I made the initial enquiries into becoming a child minder and was invited to attend an informal preregistration meeting to find out more. At this time such events were organised by Social Services, but it is different now. After attending this and liking what I learnt, I took the next step and a lovely lady came to inspect my home for suitability. She approved the house and left me with a lot of paperwork to complete, including C.R.B (criminal records bureau, now known as DBS) checks, for both myself and my husband (my boys were also CRB checked when they reached 16 years of age)
Three months or so later I received my Registration Certificate, of which I was extremely proud and my child minding journey began.
I worked as a child minder for 14 years, achieving OUTSTANDING at my last inspection. Sadly ill health forced me to stop child minding ten years ago (at the time of writing this)
I still have many very happy memories, and am still in touch with many of the children and their parents and am proud to say that two of them refer to me as their “second mum”
I hope to make a full recovery and one day be able to go back to this wonderful vocation.
I can’t say that I found anything about child minding a challenge, as I had a lot of support from the Devon Childminding Association (DCMA) and was an active member of their child minding network; saying that it defiantly helps if you are organised, as there is a lot of paperwork to get through and when I was full I would spend more time writing up notes for Ofsted early years than I did with the children. I must point out that I NEVER attempted to do the paperwork, while I had children present, but did that in the evenings, after they had gone home. Having an inspection can also be a stressful time, but I used to look at it as a chance to show off how good a child minder I was!
The best part of being a child minder for me was that; as I have already mentioned, I didn’t have to worry about finding child care for my children while I worked.
I would recommend child minding to anyone who enjoys spending time with children. You can read more of my experiences in other blog posts and in my e-book, also called the next best thing to mummy, available to download from Amazon shop to an electronic device.
If this has inspired you to become a child minder; contact your local authority or visit http://www.pacey.org, for more information. Happy Childminding!
As always comments/questions are welcome.