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Dads are increasingly taking the lead in researching and childcare options once parental leave comes to an end. If a childminder seems like a good option, how do you narrow down the options and find a good one?
Many parents feel that the home environment of a childminder is the right choice for their baby or toddler. Some of the advantages include a smaller adult/child ratio where a close bond can grow between minder and mindee. So, if you have made the decision then read on to find out how to choose a childminder that is right for you and your child.
Many childminders are flexible in their hours and some offer evening and weekend care. Some dads like the fact that a child in the care of a childminder has a lot of variety in their day – going out for walks, visiting the shops, playing in the garden, cooking and more.
Some childminders do the school run for older children too, making it a good option if you have children of different ages.
Registered childminders are inspected by Ofsted. They look after children in their own home, with a limit of six children under eight, with only three of these under five and only one under 12 months.
There are many legal requirements for childminders, as detailed on the government website. Examples include having a first aid qualification, having a written child protection policy, a DBS enhanced check, risk assessments and access to outside space. They also need to have personal liability insurance.
Some childminders offer food as part of their service while others will request that you provide a packed lunch. If they prepare meals they have to ensure that they comply with certain food hygiene practices
You can find local childminders by contacting your local authority or by searching on childcare.co.uk. You can also view their Ofsted reports to get a sense of quality and their approach to care.
It is also well worth seeking out local recommendations, either through social media or by chatting to friends or other parents at baby groups.
Once you have narrowed down your childminder options, you will probably want to ask them a few questions to help you make a decision. It’s worth drawing up a list of questions in advance. Some important things to consider might include:
Making your final decision about a childminder is generally a blend of practical considerations and gut instinct. You need to find someone that you trust with your child, that you have a good rapport with and that will fit with your daily routine.
If the decision is a difficult one, consider running a trial session and see how your child gets on.
For more insights into childcare, see our Fatherhood section.