I fell into childminding by accident, but absolutely love it and wouldn’t change what I do. I had my first daughter at the age of 26 and had always worked. She was a very easy baby, but I wanted to spend time with her so I chose to become a stay-at-home mother. It was lovely, but I had lost my individual personality; so when a good friend of mine needed extra childcare support I jumped at the chance. I found out how to get registered as a childminder, and have never looked back.
The best thing about being a childcare provider, along with being a stay-at-home mum, is creating a successful business that is based on such a rewarding job. It is humbling to see children develop and thrive, because of who they are with my support; it’s priceless.
Over the years, the most challenging part of this has been keeping up with the rules, legislation and training that is involved. It is difficult, at times, to find the time to go on training events and days; as they are usually in office hour. We need training during the evening and weekends, for those who don’t have the extra staff on hand; and that is why online training is quite useful.
I still find that the public hold a very different view of what a childminder does, and it’s something that needs to be changed. We are not the same as babysitters, and we do the same work and have the same requirements as a nursery. I think it’s important that people see where a childminder sits in the childcare profession, as we still have to meet the Ofsted requirements.
If I could go back to when I started, and give myself some advice, I would remind myself that it’s new territory. That it’s important to talk to as many different people as possible about the role, and brace yourself for everything and anything. It’s the biggest lesson in people and life skills that you will ever get, and it’s important to communicate with everyone clearly.
There are so many wonderful parts of the job that I do, and I wouldn’t change a thing of it! The parents have described my setting as happy, welcoming and homely; which is what I’ve always wanted it to be. My best, never fail, activity and the personal favourite is gardening. It’s messy and productive as well as being educational and fun. As a childminder, the weather is never an obstacle, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just appropriate clothing.
I feel being a member of PACEY is a must! From day one they have helped with advice, kept me up-to-date with any changes or new requirements. Plus, they offer excellent resources and training! I would not be where I am today without them.