Childminders around the UK offer fantastic childcare to millions of children every day. We asked the Mummy’s Gin Fund community to tell us just how much of an impact their childminders have made on their lives, and this is what they said.
This post is sponsored by Pacey, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years.
Children benefit from small home-from-home settings
Children thrive in small groups with a high ratios of professionally trained staff – so a childminding setting can be an ideal option. 94% of childminders are now rated Ofsted good or outstanding, so it can be a great high quality choice for your family.
Says Anna, “Both of our children have benefited hugely from being in a home environment, in a smaller group setting, and in a consistent routine.”
Alison adds: “it worked brilliantly for us because there’s considerably more flexibility, smaller group settings and a personal relationship with the person who will be looking after your child. They are able to take your child out and about more often and bring your child into an environment that feels like home.”
They can provide flexible care
Childminders can be there to help pick up the pieces if your work schedule goes hay-wire. Many can be flexible with late-pick ups, and some even can offer overnight care – a blessing to know your child will have a home from home to sleep for the night!
Says Julia, “when I was called away on business it was a total life-saver to know that Ruth could pick the girls up from school and have them stay over for the night. My girls saw it as a real treat!”
They can take on all the messy play and creative projects that you hate
Not keen on messy play and getting mucky with paint and slime? Messy and creative play is a core part of a childminder’s practice to help children develop the essential skills of the early years curriculum. What a relief!
Says Laura: “When our childminder said my daughter really loved an activity which involved burying toy cars in jelly I was delighted – there is no way I’d do that at home!”
They can become an extension of the family
Many children develop strong relationships with their childminders – many staying with them for years – and even coming back to visit once they are too old for formal childcare!
Seeing your children develop strong bonds with a consistent caregiver can be a real bonus. Julia says: “Ruth has become so much part of my children’s life. At Cleo’s second birthday party we invited Ruth and her family along with a few of our close family members. To see Cleo choosing to sit completely relaxed on Ruth’s lap rather than with her parents or grandparents really brought home how lucky we are. That might bother some parents but my perspective is that it proves she feels as loved and safe when we’re not with her as she does when we are.”
They can provide a fully balanced schedule – from fun creative ideas to downtime
The daily routine at a childminders will cater to a child’s individual needs as they don’t need to worry about getting a large number of children fed / to sleep all at the same time. Says Julia, “Ruth is very responsive and intuitive and has a seemingly endless source of ideas for fantastic creative projects, which is not my strong point. She also knows when the children just need to have down-time.”
You benefit from having absolute trust in another carer
Knowing your child is well cared for can provide huge reassurance for you while you are out at work or study. Says Alison, “I trust Liv as much as I would trust my parents or closest friends with my eldest child. So much so it’s lead me to leave my baby at five months for the day with Liv – something I’d have never considered when I had my first son. I have 100% confidence in Liv that she has Oliver’s best interests at heart, and will alert me if she needs to.”
Children benefit from interacting with children from a wide range of ages
Children can really benefit from being in a setting with a mix of age ranges – it provides a great opportunity for positive role modelling, and for children to experience what it’s like to teach and guide others, as well as learn from others. Julia says, “my daughter has really enjoyed being with children from a range of ages – it’s like having a huge extended family!”
They can change the way you parent – in a good way !
Children don’t come with a parenting manual. If only they did! But childminders have had so much experience with so many children, you can bet that whatever issue you are facing with your child, they will have been there and done it. They can be a huge source of support, advice and guidance and help you through whatever challenges you are facing with your kids – and even more!
Anna says, “Nicky, having supported many children, and having had four of her own, was so reassuring and super helpful when we talked through discipline, tantrums and sleepless nights. There’s so much information out there and it has been invaluable speaking to someone who sees your child in a different environment and observes how they respond to certain things. We decided together how best to handle challenging behaviour so that we could be consistent at home and in childcare, as well as providing additional activities as our eldest was a very late walker.”
They can provide amazing learning opportunities
Just like at a nursery or pre-school, registered childminders follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS) curriculum and will provide exciting learning opportunities for your child to enjoy every day. Says Alison, “I never knew anything about EYFS until I met Liv and I cannot believe the lengths she goes to ensure Oliver meets the level he should be at through EYFS. Sending home the most amazing, comprehensive folder at the end of every year documenting Oliver’s learnings, with wonderful pictures and examples. It’s heart-warming to read and for me to understand where he is in terms of EYFS. Liv & I work together to ensure Oliver is learning both in her setting and at home.”
They can be a lifesaver when you go back to work
Returning to work after maternity leave can be a real challenge, but having someone you trust to look after your child can provide the reassurance you need to ease your return to work.
Says Anna: “It can be a really difficult experience returning to work. There are so many emotions wrapped up in finding someone else to care for your children while you go back to an environment that suddenly feels alien and unfamiliar. When we found our childminder I knew that the process would be easier. My son transitioned smoothly, and became an extension of their family. He felt safe, cared for and my husband and I knew that we were leaving him with someone we felt we knew personally.”
And finally …
Your child will have a totally amazing time
Just look at the happy smiling faces in our video – you can’t make up those smiles. Your child will have an amazing time at your childminders and will be building happy memories to last a lifetime.
Here’s Alison’s message to her childminder: “Thank you for being the most nurturing and caring person towards Oliver. You treat him like one of your own and he has the most amazing relationship with your daughters and husband – truly heart-warming. When he started with you, I never dreamed he’d benefit as much as he has or develop the most gorgeous relationships with you and your family. I didn’t expect to find somebody who I completely trusted 100% – thank you.”
This post is part of our Childminder Day, a whole day dedicated to everything childminder: if you want to find out more about finding a childminder or becoming one, head over to our Facebook Group and search for ‘Childminder Day’. We also have more brilliant blogs on this very website: