Why Choose a Childminder?
Childminders are probably the best form of childcare available to parents. They are especially ideal for babies and under twos, who need to develop a close relationship with an adult through one to one care. I believe outside of school, childminding alone is probably the best kind of childcare care we could ever dream of for our children. When you are looking for a childminder, there are many things that you will be looking for and will want to consider.
To give you a better idea of what a childminder can offer and how your child would settle, you may want to visit a few different childminders before making a decision. It is all about finding a childminder who will meet the needs of your child and you.
Parents feel so much happier when they found someone they can totally trust with their child, who knows them and their family personally. Taking your child to a childminder can be the next best thing to your own home. If you're lucky enough to find a good one close by, your child will feel even more at home, they will blossom and become a very confident, well adjusted little boys or girls!
More than 300,000 children are cared for by registered childminders in England alone. Below you'll find some of the reasons why childminding is parents' most popular choice of formal childcare but, if you'd like to know more, you can visit where you can download a copy of NCMA's guide to Choosing a Home Childcarer; or call NCMA's freephone information line on 0800 169 4486, where trained staff will help answer your queries.
Benefits of a childminder
One of the main advantages of using a childminder is that your child will be one of a small group. This means they will have plenty of individual attention. Behavioural problems usually stem from children not having enough attention. However small a child's achievement might be to you, they are so proud of what they have done! They want to share it with you, the most important thing in the whole world and the greatest gift you can give a child is time. How do you feel when no one has the time to listen to you? Frustrated? Every child should feel important, they should be listened to and acknowledged 100% of the time. Every single piece or art work they create should be a master piece in your eyes, just as it is in theirs! Every puppet show, dance performance or play they take part in they should be made to feel like the little star that they are.
It is proven that children settle much better into a smaller home environment. Being in a smaller group and having one primary carer seems more natural to children. In their lives they will already be attending a school environment until they are at least 18 years of age now, so it is of great importance that these secure, solid early year foundations are in place outside of school hours, these foundations will stand your child in good stead for the future.
Family life, love and security is the key for children to thrive, be happy and progress. A good childminder will give all of these things. Childminders can give child a hug & kiss which is not allowed at nurseries. Parents are able to go to work without worrying at all.
Children learn be good walkers and talkers from childminders. They learn so many more social skills and have a very close relationship with them. Children are much more likely to take steps into loving arms or engage in activities with someone they have come to know and trust.
If there is an issue there is only the childminder to deal with- rather than an entire hierarchy at a nursery, any issues or problems with a childminder are usually dealt and resolved very rapidly without relationships being affected.
Parents like and trust their childminder, they get to know them personally, they know their background, reputation and character. Unfortunately in most nurseries and pre-schools there is a large turn over of staff, some with little or no experience of children, the managers decide who cares for each child from day to day, not you, the parents! As soon as children start to bond and get to know their carer in a nursery setting, the relationship can be broken, they are then pushed into the arms of another stranger. They then have to start the building up trust process all over again with someone new. It can take months for them to feel safe, secure and happy with their new carer. It can often leave children feeling confused and withdrawn. There is usually a delay in learning and development when this happens.
Children are shy around people they don't know. Often childminders look after children from babyhood through to secondary school, giving them a great sense of security and continuity. Children are by far more confident when they are cared for by someone they know well and trust, they express their ideas, feelings and ask more questions, they are able to come out of their shell and express their wonderful imagination without feeling scared or unsure. Children benefit from consistent care from one person who knows their individual needs and their individual interests.
Childminders are personal. Caring for small numbers of children means that childminders get to really know the children as they grow up and families they work with, they develop close relationships allowing them to offer very individual support, whether it is potty training or helping with homework every day or on weekends.
In nurseries there are chances that children do not get one-to-one attention, their masterpieces and milestones can go un-noticed, they do not always receive the praise that they should be getting. They might not be aware of any problems a child might be happening at home or remember the names of their pets, siblings or the favourite things they do. They have large number of children to staff ratio which I am not sure how they justify. The quality of time, patients and care is by far more thorough in a childminding setting.
Many behavioral changes can be seen in children if left at nurseries for a long time. When you leave your child in the nursery for full-time from a very young age, the child can become less affectionate and less confident emotionally. As the children are less bonded to one-to-one basis, they will not be sure of any trusting in relationships. It is very difficult to deal with this behavior when once adapted.
Children may also get influenced by the bad behavior of the other children in nurseries. Hence, it is necessary to check for the number of staff, safety, healthy conditions and qualified staff when looking for childcare.
Childminders give parents extra time, advice and personal support.
Parents love the bond a childminder can have with their children. They like the fact that they take their children to the park, the woods, library, the beach and local attractions. They can do all the things that some busy parents just do not have the time to do on their days off. Childminders let children run about, make noise, have fun and be themselves. They are not told to be quiet nor will they ever made to feel like they are in the way. Childminders unlike nurseries do not insist they have a nap at a designated time or tell them they cannot eat until the next designated meal time if they are hungry! They change their nappy as and when it needs doing! Not leaving a child soiled until the next nappy changing time or wasting a nappy when it is empty!
Childminders give children real life skills and experiences, they let children join in the making lunch, they do baking, cleaning, make pictures from leaves they pick up in the park they write shopping lists and go to the supermarket. They offer real life! They don’t have paid cleaners or paid chefs like nurseries. A childminder does all the things with the children that a parent might do when they are not at work. It's a home from home. Most children feel very secure in their childminders.
Childminders are all personally registered and inspected annually by Ofsted and Social Services unlike individual carers working for a nursery! They have their own public liability insurance. They are eligible for the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit so parents can claim up to 80% of their childcare cost back from childminders which so many parents do not realise!!!
So many childminders are experienced mothers. What hands on experience is better than that?
School hours can often be absolutely impossible to fit around your work. Childminders can offer school pick-up/drop-off's or a wrap around service.
They are safe. As part of registration childminders will have had an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure (the most stringent available); a health check; and had their home inspected to make sure it is safe for children. They will have also shown a childcare inspector how they meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage in England and national standards for childminders in Wales.
They are practical. Children of different ages can be cared for together. Being able to care for a mix of ages means that siblings of different ages can be cared for together, which is beneficial for them, and means just one drop-off and pick-up point for you. And, because childminders tend to live near the families they work with, there is less travelling for all involved.
They are flexible, Childminders are usually self-employed and so can set their own hours and, so they may be able to offer you overnight care, short-term placements or one-off sessions. Flexible hours to suit your working hours including evenings, weekends and school holidays
They are nearly always cheaper than nursery childcare!
Most Childminders are happy to look after your children if they are poorly when nursery’s will not, so its less time you have to take off work.
Local Childminders live and work in their own homes and so they are based in residential areas, often very close to the families they care for. This means your children can grow up in their community, visiting the local shops and parks they're familiar with and usually still be able to attend local clubs or visit their friends. Childminders are stimulating they have the freedom to give children a wide range of experiences both in and out of the house they also attending play sessions so children can mix with larger groups.
From a practical viewpoint, childminders can often be more flexible about pick-up and drop-off times. This extra flexibility may mean that you don't have to organise back-up care as often and is particularly useful if you work shifts. However, like all childcare arrangements, it is important to let your childminder know if you're going to be later picking up your child.
You may also find that there is a Children Come First childminder network in your area. They can help you find alternative childcare when your childminder is ill or on holiday. Visit the website of the National Childminding Association, www.ncma.org.uk, for more information.
All childminders are trained to follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This provides a structure of learning and care for children from birth to five years old. Many childminders are also parents themselves. So you know you are leaving your child with someone with great experience in caring for children.