Saturday 10th December 2016

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Hints & Tips for parents looking for childcare

PACEY membership

All the registered childminders advertising vacancies using this service are members of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY). This means that they show commitment to their profession and have the support of an organisation dedicated to providing training and resources to help childcare practitioners provide high standards of care and learning.

Choosing a childminder

Think carefully about the kind of person you want to care for your children. What level of qualification or experience is important to you? What activities do you want them to do with the children?

Think about your own parenting style and whether you’d like someone to match or complement you. This vacancy site will give you lots of opportunity to see the different types of childcare services members of PACEY are providing and should help you consider your ideal childcare arrangement.

Some parents are lucky enough to find the right childminder straight away, but for others it may take a few weeks. Allow yourself time to choose the ideal person to care for your child. It’s also important to give your child plenty of time to settle in with their new childminder, so it’s wise to start looking several months before you need the childminding arrangement to start.

Each PACEY member’s profile will give you a good idea of the service they provide, but to make a decision you’ll need to meet with the childminder first. Make a list of questions to ask the childminder when you speak on the phone.

Choosing childcare is a big decision and it’s useful to have a written list to act as a useful prompt. Mention the age of your child and the days and hours he or she needs to be looked after. You may also want to ask a few brief questions about things that are important to you, for example how much time the childminder spends out and about or what kind of food they prepare.

If the childminder seems suitable, arrange a time and day to visit, ideally when they have children with them so you can see what the childminding atmosphere is like. If you want to talk about anything in more detail, you could arrange a second visit at a quieter time.

Ask the childminder to show you around their house, including the bathroom and the places where your child will eat, nap and play.

Have a look at the toys, books and equipment to make sure everything is clean and safe.

Take your child along if possible so you can see how he or she is welcomed into the group.

And don’t forget to take a pen and paper so you can make a few notes.

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been a childminder?
  • What do you enjoy most about the job?
  • Why did you decide to become a childminder?
  • Do you have any relevant qualifications?
  • What training have you done?
  • Do you belong to a childminding group or network?
  • How many other children do you look after, how old are they and how long have you been looking after them?
  • Do you have any children of your own, and if so, how old are they?
  • Can you describe a typical childminding day or week?
  • How do you make sure you keep a good working relationship with parents?
  • What arrangements do you have for meals and snacks?
  • What do you consider unacceptable behaviour, and how do you deal with it?
  • Which festivals and special occasions do you celebrate and how?
  • What would you do in an emergency involving yourself or one of the children?
  • Do you ever take the children out in the car, and if so, do you have suitable insurance cover, seat belts and car seats for this?
  • Do you and the children regularly go on outings during the week?
  • Do you ever go on special trips out?
  • Do you have pets or a garden?
  • What do you do about holidays – both ours and yours?
  • How do you make sure the individual needs of each child are met?
  • Please show me your registration and insurance certificates.
  • Can I see your Ofsted or CSSIW inspection report.
  • Can I see any references from parents?