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Using Instagram to inspire others

I became a childminder in 2017 after the birth of my second child Albie. Before that I had been an early years teacher. I'd always loved working with children having been a childminder's assistant to my mum for close to a decade. I always took great pleasure in making my classrooms bright and loved making my displays and role play areas as inviting as possible. I'm very passionate about play and fully believe that you have to let them be little and explore being a child. 

After Albie was born I decided not to go back into teaching, as although I loved the creative and play side I didn't enjoy the paperwork and assessment side of teaching. I decided to go into childminding as I've watched my mum for twenty years and always loved her mix of learning and play. Everything I've learned about childminding has come from her. 

I set up my social media, predominantly on Instagram, to document our days. I love to take the little ones on adventures during the week and take time to set up sensory activities. So I wanted to keep a journal of our days for the parents of my little ones to see when they wanted and thought Instagram was the perfect platform for this.

The first issue I tackled right away was setting up a social media policy with the parents I work with. I felt that it was essential the parents are completely happy with what I post. I decided from day one that I wouldn't share stories or posts that featured any of the children's faces apart from my own son and daughter. I also won't post any product or suggest a place that I wouldn't happily use or go to myself. I luckily had no issues from the parents I work with regarding my social media policy but if I had I think communication is key. I always respect what my parents have to say and if they ever had an issue I would rectify that immediately. 

Instagram has been great for sharing ideas and getting inspiration for my practice. I love to join in with themes from other accounts that fit with my work with my little ones. This year I set up my own hashtag #childcareadventures where other parents and childminders can share ideas and inspiration. So far I've had over 6000 posts from those using the hastag and it's been lovely to see so many different ideas and activities shared.

I've been very lucky that my Instagram has grown so popular. I believe this is because I like to engage with my followers and those that share a post using my hashtag. As much as possible, I will document the different ideas I use with my little ones and it's great to see people set up their own versions and share them with me.

Childminding can be a fairly lonely experience so the platform has been an amazing way for me to share good practice with others and I enjoy having a community to share and converse with. I have made some lovely friends from my account and have a fabulous group of individuals that I can message and call to talk through ideas but also just communicate with. 

After finding the #childcareadventures worked so well, I have recently set up a new hashtag #mathsonmondays to try and inspire others to add maths into their days with their little ones. I think sometimes people just need some inspiration, I know I do. I chose maths because I’ve always loved it, plus there is something so fun about learning to count with little ones. It was something I definitely wanted to push more in my setting and I felt that sharing ideas would not only inspire but help me too! 

Hannah’s top social media tips:

  • Engage with your followers - like and comment on people with similar accounts and ideas to create a community, talk to others, inspire further ideas and connect with the world!
  • Join in with themes set up by other accounts, for example I love to join in sensory or messy play themes on my account.
  • Use instagram stories to liven up your feed and allow followers to connect with you further. It lets people see a slightly more personal side to yourself.
  • Add subject related hashtags and area ones too – this will widen your reach on the platform and increase your engagement.
  • Be honest! Nobody wants to feel like they can't relate or recreate, be yourself and don’t be afraid to say how you feel.

Follow Hannah's Instagram account Childcare Adventures.

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