Ever thought about how to become a childminder? Looking after other people’s kids is one way to spend more time with your own, be your own boss and earn money from home. Here’s how to go about it.
Do I have to register as a childminder?
If you're wondering how to become a childminder you’ll need to get organised. In England, anyone who is paid to look after children for more than two hours each day must be registered and inspected by Ofsted. You’ll need to register for the Early years Register if you want to look after children from birth to five, or the Ofsted Childcare Register if you plan to take over fives.
For more about becoming a childminder in Scotland or Wales contact Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) or Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS).
What does a childminder do?
As a registered childminder you can look after up to six children under eight years old, with no more than three under the age of five, including your own.
You’ll need to meet the standards required by the Early Years Foundation Stage, which is designed to help children learn through play. Day to day this could mean visiting local parks, libraries or children’s centres, organising stimulating play as well as providing healthy meals and snacks.
What qualifications do I need?
You don’t need any special qualifications to become a childminder but will need to take a paediatric first-aid course before registering, and an introductory childcare course within six months of registration.
What type of home do I need?
You don’t need a big house or garden or even to own your own home. However, you’ll need a certain amount of space per child and to meet health and safety standards if you are providing meals.
How to become a registered childminder
First, you’ll need to attend a ‘pre-registration’ session where you will get more information and an application pack. Contact your local authority to find out where and when.
Once you’ve completed the form, send it to Ofsted with your registration fee. Ofsted will then process your application and run a Criminal Records Bureau check on you, and anyone else over 16 who lives or works in your home.
You’ll get a home visit from an Ofsted inspector to make sure you are a ‘suitable person’ and that your home provides a reasonable environment for children. If you meet all the requirements you’ll get a registration certificate within about three months. Ofsted will visit you six to seven months after registration and following that at least once every three years.
How much can I earn as a childminder?
You’ll be running your own business so how much you charge is up to you. Rates vary by region, so ask around what the going rate is locally. Bear in mind you will need a contract with the parents of the children you look after, making sure it covers holiday pay and what will happen in the event you are ill. You'll also have to pay tax on your earnings.
How much will it cost?
If you're thinking of how to become a childminder, the Ofsted registration fee is £35, but you will also need to pay for relevant training, a document toolkit, any equipment or changes to your home and public liability insurance. However, grants are available to help cover start-up costs so ask your local authority.