Childminders

Registered childminders are professional day carers who work in their own homes to provide care and learning opportunities for other people's children in a family setting. They care for children from six weeks to eight years and as they look after a small number of children they can offer individual attention. They are often flexible about hours and meeting individual needs - sleeping and feeding patterns or homework projects.

Childminders are usually registered to look after up to three children under five and three children aged five to eight, including their own children. They may also look after older children up to the age of fourteen.

Many childminders are happy to provide part-time places for children and are willing to take and pick children up from playgroups, schools and clubs. They can take advantage of unexpected sunny or snowy days, which are a great opportunity for outdoor play and learning. Children can also enjoy the real-life experiences of cooking, shopping, gardening, trips to the local park and library. If your child is feeling unwell or tired they can just curl up and take it easy, just as they would at home.

Costs can vary according to the childminder and the service they offer. The National Childminding Association recommends that childminders be paid in advance. You should agree a regular method of payment.

See our Help with the Costs of Childcare Factsheet

By law, all childminders must:

  • Be registered by The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)
    before they begin to work with children.
  • Have a written agreement with the parents of each child they care for. This contract should be reviewed at least once a year. This is a legally binding contract to suit both you and your childminder. It should clearly set out what is expected from each party. Both you and your childminder should keep a copy.
  • During the 'settling in' period, normally two to four weeks, a separate contract maybe drawn up or a separate clause added and agreement reached to allow the childminder or parents to alter or end the arrangements without giving the usual period of notice (which is usually four weeks).

Things to think about, when drawing up your contract are:

Costs

  • Fees and arrangements for payments.
  • Are there any additional costs such as meals or nappies?
  • Do you have to pay for bank holidays and for periods when you or your childminder are on holidays?
  • Do you have to pay if your child or your childminder is sick?
  • Is there a discount for looking after two or more children?

Availability

  • Times your childminder is available to provide care.
  • What will happen if you are late picking your child up?
  • Will the childminder collect the child from school/playgroup etc?
  • What happens when your childminder is on holidays or ill?
  • What notice do you have to give about changes to the contract?

Communicate regularly with your childminder and establish a good working relationship.

Tell your childminder about sleep patterns, food likes and dislikes, allergies and medical conditions and if you have special words for certain things.

Regularly talk to your childminder about your child's progress. It may be useful to keep a daily diary for your childminder and child containing details about feeding, sleeping and toilet training or for older children notes about books or projects they are working on.

Remember, your childminder may become a good friend but they feel valued if you are polite, punctual and pay on time.

 
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