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I'm thinking of becoming a child minder and could do with some advice(26 Posts)
I don't really have many specific questions as I'm just dipping my toe in the water at the moment but just want to know what it's like, things I should consider etc.
I have a normal 5 door car at the moment but am coming up to the end of my lease. I have 2 children in car seats already, would it be worth me getting a bigger car to fit more children in?
How much does your house get ruined?
Any tips or help would be great if you don't mind
Why do you want to be a childminder?
A few reasons:
1) I've been a SAHM for 6 years, dh works away a lot do I want to continue to be there a lot for my two children.
2) returning to work after 6 years off without much experience in work means I'd more than likely be starting off on minimum wage. I'm ok with this but I'm not keen on leaving my children and not earning much to compensate for it.
3) I enjoy looking after children. I get satisfaction from caring for people and I think I would enjoy the job.
How big is your House? What age are your children?
I'm happy to put the effort in to getting qualifications but would ideally like to be able to do it online. Childcare is an issue with me not working. Is this possible?
Our house is fairly big. Decent sized kitchen, off that is a good sized living room with an extension sun room. Big, secure garden. Would you expect the children to go upstairs much? I assumed you'd spend most of your time downstairs. I don't suppose it matters much at the moment but I'm curious now!
I have a downstairs toilet too do I tick enough boxes?
Soamaker not true our old cm didn't have downstairs toilet when potty training all 3 of them (joys of all being similar age) on any one day (she had 6 mindees in total over the week) she had a potty in the conservatory just to make life easier all round. She actually had a smaish house - lounge wit under stairs cupboard, kitchen with enough room for table n conservatory and a small garden , upstairs was 3 bedrooms and bathroom. They went out most days. I was never concerned about house size.
Contact your local authority to find out about an induction course and demand in your area.
I'm not one but I have considered it seriously. I've also used excellent childminders for the last 8 years so I've seen it being done - one of them is a good friend. The things that put me off... Your work is in your home so no escape. You have to compromise to an extent eg nicer toys that kids don't want to share have to be upstairs, health and safety issues that you might not bother with for your family. Also although you are there for your children they have to share your time attention with mindees. You end up prioritising other people's children. Also all the business side of things - income is variable. If you have difficult children or parents it's potentially awkward locally. Having said that there are lots of positives! If I was doing it I would just use my kitchen/playroom/bathroom and keep other parts of the house just for family as much as possible. You are usually just insured for downstairs except for upstairs bathroom as needed. Your local area will probably have 'Intro to childminding' courses (half day) where you find out what is entailed.
Sorry my children are 18 months and 5. My oldest has mild special needs and does need a lot of attention. I know it's not the same but when I have looked after children as a favour I've managed fine.
There are quite a few childminders in my area which is making me wonder if it is a good idea. I don't need to go back to work though, what I earn will just be a bonus so even if I got 1 child part time it would be enough. I'd like to make a career out of it though but that will come with time and effort.
Please be as honest as you like with me. I want to hear real opinions.
Can you chat to the other child minders? Maybe even have a coffee at their house to see them in action? Our local ones are v friendly.
As with a lot of physical businesses, location is a very important factor.
You have a school aged child, so that will probably limit you to collecting children from one school. Are parents at that school looking for after-school care? School newsletters, facebook groups, general chat in the playground - use what you can to establish if there is demand for before school, after school, school holiday care and ask other parents what they would pay... as you need to get a feel for what you could charge.
Are there existing childminders collecting from the school? The existing childminders you know about may or may not be providing care for children at that school so you may find competition is high, or low.
I did go through a stage where I wanted to train as a childminder, but tbh was put off by friends of mine that do it. 1. Your house not being your own. Constant mess and having to have baby gates EVERYWHERE. 2. OFSTEAD are super strict (rightly so) but they are tough! There are new rules regarding food, I know lots of childminders who have stopped providing food as it is such a faff with filling informs about what each item of food contains.
3. It is a lot of work for very little money.
For me, my heart wouldn't have been in it, I think if you take everything into consideration and you still want to do it then go for it.
If you live close to am primary school, you would have a great place to pull in some work X
I could talk to the childminders but I'm shy and wouldn't know what to say. How would you word it?
I'm going to go on a taster thing that my local council puts on to get a better idea of it.
I live near 3 primary schools but obviously with my son going to one I think id be limited to mind children from that school.
Thanks for the advice though!
CMs are pretty friendly and happy to talk about availability of work, pros and cons of minding, etc. Don't worry.
Think of it as practise for when you have to speak to parents you don't know either
You might just have to overcome the shyness and start chatting to them. Explain you are thinking about starting out, they would have been in the same boat in the past, not knowing much about it, wanting more information. I'd be really glad to speak to you if you mentioned to me, there aren't many cms in my town so an extra one would be another friend at toddler groups and someone to go to the park with.
I have 3dc of my own and a 7 seater car. It's not big enough now, I'm holding of filling my places as the car is full and I don't want to walk everywhere all the time. My house isn't battered, I'm careful about where we do activities and am a naturally tidy person anyway. At the weekend all the toys get taken upstairs so it becomes my home again. The children don't go upstairs apart from to nap in a travel cot, it's my dcs space and that needs to be respected. We do have a downstairs toilet, but haven't always. I prefer it now as they don't have to go upstairs for the loo (I had one who would go up and would end up in the dcs rooms and they would be gone for ages) but you don't have to have one.
When my dc were toddlers I only worked part time, we only needed a couple of hundred pounds a month and I could get that from one child part time. Now they are older, I work full time with more children, so it depends on what you are happy to do.
I'm going on the taster thing next week too. Happy to compare notes. If my son gets his first choice school hoping to pick up work there as there is no after school club.
I was in a similar situation to you op.
I now have a two year old and a 6 year old and I childmind two days per week. The other days I go out to work.
We couldn't afford for me to work full time due to the child care costs, but equally couldn't afford for me to just work part time. Childminding seemed a good solution given that I already work within a child care setting.
It has worked out well for us as a family. I look after 4 children from two families - I decided that I would not look after children under 3 due to my own children's ages, though I am registered to look after babies from 6 months.
The pros of childminding is I am able to be at home two days per week so can drop off and pick up dd1 from school. Dd2 has been able to start a local play group too because I am around to take her and able to be a helper every 4 weeks or so. My youngest mindee is in preschool in the morning so I do still have time with dd2 and can still meet friends for coffees etc.
Being at home two days means that I am still able to keep on top of washing etc. I can find the time in the day to do this. My house is not a disaster because we have tidy up time after dinner, just before everyone is collected. Then as soon as the kids leave I give the house a quick Hoover and clean the loo etc.
I am not insured to care for the children unpstairs so they stay downstairs. I have a downstairs toilet. I prefer it this way and I know most childminders are the same.
A bigger car is a good idea. We have a 7 seater now.
The cons - you really don't get a lot of time with your own kids though you are physically there so they probably feel the benefit more than I do. Dd1 has a dance class after school on one of the days I childmind and we have managed to keep going to it but it is hugely stressful. I drop her off and then take the other kids to the park or library but I find it all a rush and am tempted to give the class up, though feel bad about that.
I should add that another pro is that my dd's love the days I childmind as they have people to play with all day! I hardly get a look in to be honest
I am a child minder but have given notice to all customers and stopping next month. I wouldn't personally recommend it I find it to lonely and isolating, find having all the resources all over my house when I do have children a pain. You may not have these problems because you have children but I think the biggest pro of it is being able to look after your own and earn a little. If you have 2 little ones are you aware that you can only then have 1 child full days? Which depending where you live will not bring u in much money ( in my area hourly charge of £3-£4..
Hope this has been of some use
Oh and how could I forget the mountains of paperwork and guidelines, training you must keep up to date for the big Ofsted
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