Tips for employing a childminder
1. Arrange to meet the childminder at her home, while the children she looks after are there.
2. Watch how she interacts with them and, more importantly, how they interact with her. Do they seem comfortable with her? Do they touch her, climb on her, sit on her lap? Do they make eye contact?
3. Ask to see her registration certificate and inspection report.
Always check that the registration is up to date by asking your local Children’s Information Service.
4. A good childminder will often also have a book with photos of days out, letters of reference from other mums and other things she is proud of.
5. Ask if you can speak to a mum of another child she has looked after.
6. Ask some practical questions:
– What is the daily routine?
– What is the weekly routine?
– What groups and activities do they go to? Is that every week or just some weeks?
– What do they eat?
– Who are the other children she is looking after?
7. Ask some less practical questions too. Try to phrase them as open questions (a closed questions usually demands a yes or no answer). The aim is to get her to open up and chat so that you can learn as much as you can about her:
– What does she do if a child won’t eat lunch?
– What would she do if a child in her care hit another child?
– What does she do if one toddler is sleepy but they are due to go to one of their activities or groups?
– Does she meet up with other mums at the toddler group, or other childminders? Do they come to the house?
– What about her own children (everyone loves talking about their kids!)?