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PAULINE KETTLE - Registered Childminder

Some useful tips on choosing a Childminder

Try to visit at least two childminders to get a good idea of the range of services available.  It is best if both parents can visit together or if this is not possible take a friend or relative with you so you can both compare ideas and thoughts.  It is also a good idea to take your child along with you to see how the childminder relates to the child.  You should feel that you can visit the childminder as many times as you feel it is necessary.  Ask lots of questions and take a notepad and pen.

I list below some of the main questions you should consider asking:


·         Is the childminder registered?  Ask to see their registration certificate and/or latest inspection report

·         Does the childminder have public liability insurance?  Ask to see the insurance certificate

·         Has the childminder undertaken a first aid course?

·         How long have they been registered and what experience do they have?

·         What training has the childminder undertaken?

·         Who else lives in the childminder’s home and who are regular visitors?  Can you meet them?

·         Does the childminder have any children of their own?

·         How many other children does the childminder look after and what are their ages?

·         Does the childminder have an assistant?  Is their name on the registration certificate?


·         Can the childminder look after your child for the hours you need?  What if you need to work extra hours?

·         If you need to start immediately, is the place available?  If not, is there a waiting list/do you need to pay a deposit?

·         If you need to start at a later date, can the childminder reserve you a place?  What retainer fee is required?

·         What will the childminder charge?

·         Does this include meals or snacks?  Can special dietary requirements be catered for?

·         Who provides nappies/toiletries?

·         Is payment required weekly or monthly?  What methods of payment can you use?

·         How will you manage if the childminder is ill or unable to work?

·         What payment is required if you or your child is ill or on holiday?

·         Is payment required if the childminder is ill or on holiday?

·         What will happen if you are late collecting your child?

·         Are there any reductions/discounts if you have more than one child?

·         Can the childminder take funding?



·         Who will your child be left with if the childminder has an emergency?

·         What will happen in the case of your child or the childminder being taken ill?

·         Is the house warm, comfortable and safe for your child?

·         Are there any pets?

·         Does anyone smoke in the house?

·         Does the childminder drive?  Use public transport?

·         Does the childminders car insurance policy clearly state cover in connection with childcare  activities?



·         Is the childminder to take your child to the clinic?

·         Can the childminder collect your child from school/pre-school?

·         Can the childminder take your child to the local group (eg. Toddler group, toy library) or afterschool activities?

·         Ask the childminder to explain their responsibility to report concerns if they believe a child may be being mistreated or neglected.  This is called Safeguarding Children Policy.

·         What is likely to be the child’s daily routine?  How will you be kept informed?

·         Is there a garden?

·         Does the childminder take children out?  Where do they go?  What safety precautions will the childminder follow when taking children out?  Will the childminder drive a car?

·         Where will your child rest or sleep?  Discuss your child’s sleep pattern

·         How does the childminder encourage good behaviour?

·         What toys and equipment does the childminder have?

·         What activities/outings does the childminder organise?

It is very important to choose someone you can talk to easily – good communication is vital to sort out any difficulties which emerge and to help prevent problems occurring.

The childminder will ask you questions about your child and his or her needs.  Share information about your child’s sleep patterns, food preferences, favourite activities, special words or names for things, fears or anxieties, toilet training progress, etc to make the new arrangement easier for everyone, and to maintain some continuity of care.  Also, discuss aspects of your religion or culture, which influence how your child is cared for at home.