The Misconception of a Childminder: We sit on our bottoms all day, drinking tea and watching kids play or watching tv. We might slip them a bit of lunch, but we generally don’t do much.
Comparison to a parent: Sitting down is rare, to have a tea break or a lunch break is a good day! You can pretty much guarantee that as your about to sneak that sandwich in your mouth you hear “Michelle I’ve done a poo”! Or about to have a slurp of tea that has been warmed up a couple of times and tastes foul! That’s pretty much a parents day full stop, so what makes us different?.
Ofsted: The governing body that is basically our “boss” although we are self employed, we answer to them. You may of heard of them before, they are the same governing body to nurseries, schools, colleges etc. They are the ones that judge us all and give us our grades, “Outstanding”, “Good” etc. You have probably heard reports on the news about these grades (it’s never good!). We are childminders, why would we need to answer to them? Because although most people compare us to babysitters, we are far from it.
When your child comes to us, what do they get: They get cared for, our main concern is their safety and welfare, we are to care for them as we would our own, if they fall we can cuddle and care, if they are sad we can try and help to make them happy. The list is endless, we are home from home settings, we have toys for the children to play with, books for them to read, puzzles for them to solve. We also have freedom to take the children to the park to keep them exercised .
What you don’t see: all the time your child is playing we are looking for development changes. When your child is playing with children we are monitoring their social development. When we are singing counting songs we are looking at Maths. When they start feeding themselves we are monitoring motor skills. Drawing, painting, puzzles, balls, soft play, books, park, woodland walks, we are constantly watching. We are monitoring the children all the time, we are looking for any delays in development that may be a concern later on, giving parents every opportunity to seek help early. When we set up an activity for your child we are looking to include the 7 areas of learning. Google EYFS, it will probably come up with nursery links.. Yeah we do the same as nurseries but in a much smaller setting
Paperwork in our own time after a 12 hour work day: Daily checks to make sure house is safe, Risk assessments, Policies and Procedures, Continuous training arranged by us, Planning (Yes we do topic plans for the term!) 2 Year Checks, Observations, Next Steps, Progress Checks, Termly Reports, Fire Drills, Accounts (some of us do it ourselves).
Would your babysitter do all this?
Final Say: When considering a childminder or nursery placement just consider the following, we do everything expected of a nursery, but instead of a large group of children, they are in a group of 3, some children may thrive going straight into nursery, but some may benefit from the smaller group of a childminder, but still being sociable with other children, they are not going to be disadvantaged in any way. If we feel your child is ready for nursery we will tell you!, I have before and I will do again.
I probably could have said a lot more but this is the main misconception and the truth of our job. One thing I can guarantee is, if your child needs a cuddle, we always have one waiting, we will always praise your child for the smallest thing. We will always teach your child the value of please and thank you (manners are my priority!) Your children will be so loved they become one of the family.
Originally published on Feb 17, 2016