There are many good reasons for wanting to be a childminder, but there are also some things you should take into consideration before becoming a childminder. These are a few of the things you should know.
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Do you have enough room in your home? Lack of space can prevent you from minding the maximum permitted number of children and in fact could mean you only qualify to mind one child, in which case you need to consider if that will really be beneficial to you.
Childminding is a big commitment. You will likely have to make changes to your home to meet regulation standards. You may have to adjust how you parent your own children when other kids are in the home. You should attend courses to be compliant with food safety, first aid, as well as other courses that will give you insight to child psychology, how to use science, math, and reading within a childcare setting. This is all done on your own time, as is time spent cleaning and time dealing with paperwork and submitting your taxes at year end.
Time Spent With Your Own Children
You don’t have the opportunity to spend as much time with your own children as you may like. Yes, your children will be home and you will be with them, but it is much a different situation when there are others around.
There is a lot of red tape involved in becoming a childminder and continuing to be registered as a childminder. There are police checks, social worker inspections, and there are 47+ different policies you need to have in place and it can be a nightmare preparing them and having each one signed off by the social worker and parents.
There are costs involved in becoming a childminder. There are meals, cleaning supplies, required courses, transportation to get to those courses, and you may have to pay to transport children to school and back (not all parents want to pay for mileage and the time involved being a taxi service). There are supplies to purchase for activities, you must pay for childminding insurance, your home insurance may increase, there’s wear and tear on your own home, health and safety items such as radiator covers, fire blankets, window coverings, etc., etc.
Because you are self-employed, you don’t get sick days, and if your own children are sick and minded children cannot come into your home, then you will not be paid. For example, when someone has the flu or chickenpox (your own children, or the minded children) you are out of work for a week and a half, yet your own bills still continue.
During the first two years I was a childminder, new regulations came into effect. In essence, these were to help parents feel secure about leaving their children with a qualified and safe childminder. However, regulations imposed upon childminding in a private home are the same as the regulations imposed on school nurseries and the purpose-built facilities that daycares have for minding dozens of children. From tracking when the meter meter guy comes (and having him sign a log book), to what you serve for a meal to monitoring internet usage of everyone in the home, everything is regulated and documented.
Childminding can be very long hours, in fact longer even than in day cares. Most day cares are usually open from 7:30am until 6:00 pm. Not everyone works those hours, therefore childminding can occur earlier or later, depending on the needs of the parent. You may also be asked at short or no notice to care for a child longer than usual.
There are times when you may not get paid. I have had this happened to me. There is one person who still has not paid me and another with whom I had to get legal advice for payment. Parents may not budget properly for childcare; for example, one parent purchased their child the newest phone, yet complained that my costs were too high and they could not afford to pay that month. You will need to have a back up and a pot of funds available to meet your own bill payments should parents be late with their payments, or not pay at all.
Now that you have some things to keep in mind before becoming a childminder, in my next article I will balance this out with some of the positives about becoming a childminder.