Childminding can be a rewarding, enjoyable career. You’re assisting those who need an extra helping hand with their children and, whether it be something as simple as picking them up after school or taking care of them for an overnight stay, your role will make a huge impact.
However, there are some important guidelines and responsibilities that come with being a childminder.
Here are some things to think about to help make your childminding business a successful one.
Does Childminding Suit Me?
It might seem like an obvious question, but will childminding suit your lifestyle and you as a person?
Being a childminder is a demanding job and you’ll often be working long hours; sometimes unsociable hours and you might end up having to care for a child later than intended if their carers are running late at work or require extra assistance.
It’s important to realise that your spare time and activities you do outside of work could affect this also. For example, if you’re taking care of a child all day on Saturday, you won’t be able to go out drinking on the Friday as it’s unprofessional and unsafe to have a child in your care if you’re not completely sober.
It’s also good to consider your general wellbeing. Do you have any health issues that could impact this job? You might be required to chase after unruly toddlers and keep them entertained with fun games and activities. Being able to keep up with the demand of the parents and the children you are working with is an essential part of being a childminder.
Do I Have the Right Skills, and How Can I Improve Them?
To be a successful childminder you will need a certain skillset. Working with children is a lot different to working with adults and you need to understand that they will communicate with you in different ways.
It’s important to be patient with the children you are working with. After all, you are a new person in their life, and they might take some time adjusting to you and your methods of working. Having patience will make the children feel more comfortable and at ease around you.
You can’t be short-tempered or easily upset by things, as from time to time you might be expected to deal with temper tantrums, boisterous behaviour and rude language.
Instead, be prepared to sit the child down and talk calmly to them and explain why they shouldn’t act a certain way, in words that they will understand.
You should also be able to handle conflict and dissolve any disagreements. Some children might end up having a fall out or blaming one another for unacceptable behaviour. Therefore, it’s good to have strong problem-solving skills and the ability to communicate with all different age levels.
You must also have impeccable time management skills. For example, if you are taking care of two children who each go to a different school, you will need to know their routine inside out, as well as the time they will normally finish school, so that you are ready to collect them at the end of the day.
Do I Have the Right Equipment?
Say goodbye to cream carpets and clean white walls! If you’re to be a childminder in your own home, you’ll want to do it in a space that is child-friendly and forgiving with marks and stains.
Remember to keep things that aren’t safe for children out of sight and out of reach. Things like glassware, plug sockets, wires, things with sharp corners and hanging items that can easily be pulled down (such as picture frames or mirrors) are all hazards that should be properly taken care of before you start childminding.
By having wipe-clean wall paint and laminate flooring or darker carpets, you’ll be able to clean away any pesky scribbles or accidental spillages and keep your home sterile and safe for the next day.
Keep the children stimulated by including toys and games that are safe for all ages and can be easily wiped down with an antibacterial wipe at the end of the day.
If you are taking care of younger children and babies, you’ll want to ensure that everything they use, whether it be toys, bottles or drinking cups, is thoroughly cleaned and sterile before its next use as they like to explore things with their mouths.
Remember to have plenty of spares in case items get broken or go missing and stick with neutral coloured cutlery and plates to save on any arguments.
Childminding isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ job and you’ll find that different children will like things done in a different way. It’s important to be considerate with yourself as well as them and take the time to learn correctly so that you’re fully prepared to make your childminder career a successful one.