Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features

Discuss everything related to paid childcare here, including childminders, nannies, nurseries and au pairs.


What questions should I ask a prospective childminder?

8 replies

flutterbee · 15/09/2006 21:32

I'm visiting a cm on Monday as I am trying to find one to look after DS (10 months) whilst I am at college 2 days a week. What should I be asking and what should I be looking out for?

Also, when we do finally leave DS I know it is going to be tough because of his crying (possibly) but DH is really worried about it. What can I do to try and soften this for DH.

Any advice at all would be appreciated.

OP posts:

Katymac · 15/09/2006 21:33

Alibubbles famous list of questions to ask childminders

How long have you been working with children?

What training have you had? Any qualifications? Are you part of a network, achieved a quality assurance qualification, look at registration certificate, insurance details, business use for car. First aid must be no more than 3 years old, food hygiene certificate, Certificate in Childminding practice or NVQ 3, Contracts and record forms

Do you enjoy being with children and why?

Can I look around, see the rooms and outside play space? If there is no outside play space - how will you make sure my child gets the chance to play outside?

Where will my child rest?

What kind of food and drink will you give? Can I see a menu?

What will my child do all day?

How do you encourage good behaviour?

Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they? How will their timetable fit in with my child?

How will you make sure I know how my child is getting on?

What hours is she open?

How much does she charge?

What about when my child is sick, holidays, days off

What do you do in an emergency?

When was her last Ofsted, can you see the report?

Top 10 Quality Pointers

When you visit possible childcare options, look for these Quality Pointers:

Are the children calm, safe, happy and busy?

Do children play and talk together?

Is the childminder listening to the children and answering them carefully?

Is the childminder friendly and proud of her work?

Is she joining in joining in with what the children are doing?

Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play? Can children plan some of these activities themselves?

Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for children to use?

Is the premises clean, well kept and safe for children with a fun outside play area (or will the child go to parks and other places regularly)?

Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children?

If there are other things you want to know, don't be afraid to ask. Good childminders expect you to ask questions and will be happy to answer them.

Always take up references. You could ask for names of other parents to talk to about the service

Listen to your child and find out more if he/she is unhappy
Always trust your own feelings about your childcare - you know your child best


Katymac · 15/09/2006 21:34

About the DH.....hmmmm I am not sure can you drop off with out him?


mosschops30 · 15/09/2006 21:34

Ask things that are important to you, I made a list before I went, but you really will get a feel for the cm, aside from anything you ask. You can ask her views on discipline/how many children she minds/what activities will she be involving them in/does she have any religious beliefs/can she stick to your routine.

Good luck, its bloody hard work trying to find a cm, took me about 9 months and I ended up with the 2nd one I saw


flutterbee · 15/09/2006 22:04

Thanks you two, it really is appreciated.

Katy - DH won't be their in the morning when DS goes to the cm but we are going to look together and he wants to ask if we can do a trial run just to see how DS reacts so their is no way to get out of it!!

I'm worried sick about it too (naturally) but I don't want to stikr of a perfectly good cm just because DS cries, I may try to get through to DH that generally with children DS's age out of sight is out of mind. If that makes sense.

OP posts:

cece · 15/09/2006 22:11

DS aged 2.11 started with new cm last week. He cried when left for first 3 days. This week he has happily trotted in. The cm was great and I told him when I would be back and left. She texted me 20 mins later to say he was fine and playing happily.

Go with your gut feeling. If they are enthusiastic that is a good sign ime. They should also have a portfolio with loads of info in for you to look through too.

Ask about

their emergency proceedures
type of activities
sort of meals
what to do in event of her or ds sickness
payment details, costs, when, cheque or cash?
sleeping areas
car seats in car
discipline approach
references - most have letters/cards from past parents

I have used some really fab cm, good luck


flutterbee · 16/09/2006 14:27

I suppose mine and DH's main worry is that DS isn't old enough to be able to tell us if something happens, he's only a baby.

OP posts:

FeelingOld · 16/09/2006 14:52

If your ds was starting with me I would have you visit again a couple of times so he gets used to surroundings/me/other children, then I would ask you to visit again and leave him for 1-2 hours (do this maybe couple of times) then 2-3 hours for a couple of times before he comes for the whole day. I also like to include a meal time/bottle time and a nappy change during this settling in period.
Doubtless your ds will cry when left, this is only natural but with quite a few short visits he will learn that you are coming back to get him. I would ask you how or with what he likes to be comforted etc and follow this and I would also have his first couple of visits on days when I don't have lots of other mindees if possible.
Don't forget most of us cminders are mums too, so we know how you feel when you leave your ds. I think you will know when you find the right cm, a lot of it is instinct.


ThePrisoner · 16/09/2006 20:40

It's definitely worth asking if you can talk to parents of her current or previous mindees. They will not only be able to tell you about the service the minder offers, but they will also understand your worry about leaving your child.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?