Anyone caring for a child under the age of 8 years who is not related to them and for any kind of reward, must become registered by Ofsted Early Years.
Many people will think that by becoming a child minder their own children will suffer, however because child minders are self employed they can set their own working days and times to suit their own families.
Advantages are that you don’t have to find childcare for your own children whilst you work; as you care for them at the same time that you are childminding other children. Remember though; your children are counted in the number you are permitted to have at a time. When I was child minding this was one child under the age of 1 year, 3 children under the age of 5 years, including the under 1’s and 6 under 8 years. (In some circumstances; Ofsted may allow some child minders who are very experienced to care for 2 children under the age of 1. I was allowed to do this) I also had two over 8s during the school holidays.
Another advantage of being self employed is that you are able to attend school activities that your children are involved with; such as sports day, special assemblies and the all important Christmas Nativity plays. Being a child minder, meant that I could go along to all such things that otherwise wouldn’t have been manageable had I worked for an employer. Of course, it meant that I had to take the minded children along too; but I know that they benefited from and enjoyed these events too. One occasion which comes to mind is when my youngest son was playing football for his primary school. It was a pleasant day weather wise, so I packed a few snacks and drinks and we all sat on my picnic blanket to watch the match. Each time my son got possession of the ball the children chanted and cheered him along; it must have looked as though he had brought along his own cheer leaders!
Being a child minder also meant that I spent more quality time doing certain activities with my own children that we otherwise may never have done.
I must point out that there are many strict rules and regulations set by Ofsted that all child minders must follow; but basically you can do as little, or as much child minding as you chose (depending on demand and the needs of parents) You can also take up as much training as you like; apart from the essential training that all childminders MUST do before they can gain a certificate allowing them to begin child minding (these are a first aid course, which must be refreshed every 3 years. There is also a pre registration course, that explains what child minding is about and a foundation course which introduces new child minders to the business side of child minding and loads of other essential information). Personally I took as much training as I could; as my motto is “if you do something, give it your all” My qualifications consisted of an NVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education. Behaviour Management, Speech Delay Special Needs (and too many more to list!)
I spent 14 very happy years as a child minder; achieving the “Outstanding” grade at my last inspection (of which I am very proud) I was forced to give up child minding up due to suffering a major stroke ten years ago; but many of my minded children are still in touch with me, and I would love to take it up again if recovery allows.
For more information on becoming a registered child minder contact Ofsted, your local authority or Pacey; details can be found online. Most areas also have child minding support groups; where you can obtain training information and details of any available funding.
As always questions/comments are welcome.