1. Why should I choose to use a Childminder?

     To be honest, you should choose to use a childminder because you want to!

    There are a variety of childcare options out there, of which childminding is only one. Explore them all until you reach a decision you feel comfortable with!

    I choose to be a childminder because:

    • I love working with children,

    • I enjoy their company,

    • I like the close bond that can be built between me and the small group of children that I can care for,

    • I also enjoy working for myself, and running my own business.

    Parents often choose childminders because:

    • We work from a home environment (this can be particularly good for babies, and children who get a little bit anxious),

    • We are only allowed to care for a small number of children at one time (which allows us to pay much more attention to your children's individual needs),

    • We can provide a more flexible level of care than more formal settings,

    • Some childminders can even provide overnight care if necessary!

    If you think a using Childminder would suit you, look around and see who is working in your local area!


  2. What should I look for when choosing a childminder?

    Choosing someone to look after your child while you can't is a difficult task. There are multiple kinds of childcare available, and working out which type would suit your family best is hard enough.

    If you have decided to use a childminder, the biggest thing to look for is someone that you like. You are the expert on your own child, so you are the best judge of which childminder would provide the best care. The reason most people choose a childminder is because they offer a home environment, and build close bonds with the small number of children they care for. If you don't want your child to form such a close bond to someone else, a childminder might not be the best choice for you. 

    Look for someone you feel that you can work with to help your child as they develop and learn new skills. The EYFS encourages childcare providers, including childminders, to work with parents and vice versa. A good childminder will keep you informed about, and involved with, your child's development.

    It should go without saying, but childminders are carers, so look for someone who cares about your child. Childminders are not teachers, although they help children to learn. If you don't feel that a particular childminder would suit your child, keep looking. 

    Once you find a childminder that you think might suit your child, there are a few more technical things you should be on the look out for:

    Every childminder in the UK must be registered with Ofsted, and have their registration certificate on display. There is no legal way to be a genuine childminder without this registration. Anyone offering cheaper care because they aren't registered is breaking the law, and there will be no guarantee that they are suitable to care for children. 

    Ofsted will also inspect all registered childminders, and give them a grading report (unless the childminder is newly registered, in which case they will have a grading inspection about 6 months after they register). Take the grade into account, but don't let it rule your decision. 

    All childminders must also have public liability insurance, and this certificate should also be on display. The two main providers of public liability insurance for childminders are the NCMA, and Morton Michel. There is very little to choose between them, and both are specialists in childcare insurance.

    All childminders must also have a current, full paediatric first aid certificate. This certificate should also be available for you to view.

    Childminder associations and local authorities also run childminder networks, which offer childminders additional support and training.

    These are just some of the things you might like to take into consideration when looking for a childminder!

  3. Childminding isn't really a proper job though, is it?

    I suggest you take a look at the EYFS section before you actually ask any Childminder this question out loud.

    It's a very serious job, and anyone who has gone through the process of registering, training and taking on the responsiblity of caring for someone else's children deserves to be treated as a professional, with all of the respect that goes with it.  

    Every parent knows how much work it is to look after children. Now add all the necessary paperwork that only gets done after the children go home, and then add in all the complications that come from running your own business, plus all the continuing professional training we have to fit in along the way, and you'll see that it's easily the equal of any other job out there! 

  4. Do I employ a childminder?

     In short, no, you don't.

    A childminder is a self employed provider of childcare. A Nanny is your employee; a childminder is a small business owner, and a service provider. When your child grows up, your nanny has to find another job. Your childminder just has to fill the vacancy. We even pay our own taxes and everything!


  5. Do you have to be registered? Who makes sure you're qualified to do this?

    By Law all Childminders in England who care for children under the age of 8 (where the child isn't related to them) must be registered with Ofsted, on the Compulsory Register. Childminders who only care for children aged 8 and over can be registered on the Voluntary Register, but they don't have to be.

    Then there is the Early Years Register, which covers children from birth to age 3. This is also a compulsory register for Childminders who intend to care for children in this age group.

    All Registers are maintained by Ofsted, who inspect, grade and monitor all Childminders. They also cover all other Childcare settings, such as nurseries and schools.

    Any Childminder registered with Ofsted will have a certificate to prove this, and will have had a CRB check.

    It is also a requirement of registration that we all have a Paediatric First Aid Certificate, and Public Liability Insurance. A good childminder will have these available for you to look at if you ask.


  6. Why can't I just leave my children with my friend who stays at home while I work?

    By law in the United Kingdom all people who look after someone else's children for more than 2 hours during the daytime, in the person's own home must be registered as a childminder. 

    If not, they become liable to prosecution, and can end up with a criminal record. Even if they are a teacher or another childcare professional at other times, they still must be registered as a childminder to care for anyone elses children at the adult's own house. (Caring for children at family's own house does not currently require any registration.) 

    There is no legal way to work as a childminder without registration.  

    Registration requires that a childminder must have:

    • A paediatric first aid certificate
    • Valid public liability insurance
    • Introductory childcare training
    • Ofsted registration
    • Ofsted inspections

    Childminders can only care for a limited number of children at anyone time. There are no limits on someone working unregistered.

    Many childminder organizations and associations (especially those run by local authorities) also require registered minders to continue their professional training and refresh their skills on a regular basis. There are no requirements for anyone who is not registered.

    If your friend is a registered minder, then you're in luck. If they aren't, they cannot legally care for your children unless it is in your home, and they may be liable for prosecution. 

    If you wouldn't use an unregistered builder, architect, doctor or any other professional, why would you leave your children with someone who isn't registered?


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Aardvark Specifics

  1. Why are you called Aardvark Childcare?

    Aardvark Childcare is the name of my business. And it's called that for the sneaky reason that most childcare databases (like the ones on the Links page) work by listing results in alphabetical order. And the first word in the dictionary is Aardvark.  So there you go!

    I also like it because it's very memorable, and it makes people laugh when I explain my reasoning.

  2. Where do you live in Exeter?

    Sorry, but for the safety of the children I care for, and my own privacy, I don't put my address up on the interwebs. 

    If you want to come on a prospective visit, get in touch and we can arrange it.

  3. How many children can you care for?

    Government legislation means that I can care for a maximum of 6 children under the age of 8 at any one time. Of these 6 children:

    • 3 can be under the age of 5, of which
    • 1 can be under the age of 1

    I can look after additional school age children, but personally I don't take many as it reduces that quality of the care that I can give to all of the children.

    What this means is that like any childminder, I have a limited number of places at any one time, which allows me to spend plenty of time with each child and allows me to cater better to their own individual needs. 


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