If you are looking for childcare you may be weighing up several options including day nurseries, childminders and even nannies. Find out more about the pros and cons of childminders to help you decide if they are the right choice for you and your family.
One of the main advantages of using a childminder is that your child will be one of a small group. This means they will have plenty of individual attention. Childminders can care for up to six children younger than eight, though no more than three of them should be younger than five. This number includes their own children.
Childminders usually have mixed age groups, which closely mirrors family life. If your child doesn't have any siblings, it will give them the chance to feel comfortable around older and younger children. If you have two or more children, they can all be cared for together by the same childminder.
Many parents like this family-friendly interaction, and often what starts out as a childminding arrangement becomes a strong friendship that lasts for years. Taking your child to a childminder can be the next best thing to your own home. If you're lucky enough to find a good childminder close by, your child will feel even more at home.
All childminders are trained to follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This provides a structure of learning and care for children from birth to five years old. Many childminders are also parents themselves. So you know you are leaving your child with someone with great experience in caring for children.
Unless your childminder is part of a local childminder network, there may not be guaranteed back-up childcare if they are ill or on holiday. Otherwise you may end up taking your own leave as cover for your childminder's sickness and holidays. Although for emergencies, you would be able to take parental leave. You may also worry that your childminder's children will get more attention than your children. So base your decision on what feels right for you and your child.