What Makes Childminding Unique?

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What Makes Childminding Unique?

What is it about childminding that makes it such a special and unique role?

Here, we look at the many reasons why childminding is so rewarding as a career, the essential part that childminders play in our early years workforce and the many benefits that children gain from being in a childminding setting.

It is estimated that there are around 170,700 childcare places with childminders in England out of a total 1.54 million registered early years places. Shockingly, only 50% of areas in England currently have sufficient provision for early years children, forcing many parents to give up their careers. Therefore, our country would really suffer without our valuable childminders.
 First and foremost, childminding enables children to be looked after when their parents/carers are at work whilst remaining in the comfort of a quiet, cosy home setting. However, let’s look at all the other benefits too:

Childminding is a rewarding career

 If you enjoy working with children, are new parents and enjoy being with children and helping them learn and develop, then Childminding could be the perfect career for you. It gives you the opportunity to work from your own home, look after your own children and still earn a competitive salary. The job satisfaction of working with young children whilst running your own business and watching it grow is second to none. 

Childminders have the freedom to make their own decisions and can decide on how they structure their day. Childminders write their own policies, set their own hours and days of work, they are responsible for their own branding and setting their curriculum whilst following the EYFS. All this results in a better work-life balance – no day is the same and the potential for income is much higher than when working for a group setting.

Childminders follow the same Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum that all settings and schools from 0-5 must adhere to, however, the day to day running of a childminding setting will look very different to that of a group setting.

Childminders are self-employed so can offer flexible hours

Childminders are self-employed and can therefore choose the days and hours they want to work. Childminders are not restricted to morning or afternoon sessions and can offer flexible hours to parents. Some childminders provide care for parents who work shifts, including overnight care.

Children gain an Early Years Education based on Real Life Experiences

It is so much easier to get out and about as a childminder because you can plan your own days and you don’t have as many children as a group setting might have. Children therefore benefit from trips out to parks, farms, soft play centres, zoos, country parks, toddler groups on a daily basis. They have much more experience of the outside world and have an early years education based on real life experiences. Some examples are:

A trip to the shops 
A trip to the shops enables children to become familiar with lots of different foods, teaches them about farm to fork and they can even become familiar with using the self checkouts themselves. They will learn about the costs of goods and become money aware from a very early age.

Visiting Play Parks 
Visiting numerous parks means they can play on different play equipment enabling them to build their strength and overall physical development. It teaches them to manage risk. Building physical development is essential to a child’s success in school – if they don’t have enough core strength, they will be unable to write when they start school.

Visiting Farms 
Regular visits to farms mean they are able to feed the farm animals and see the lambs, piglets and goats when they are just days old. Some farms allow the children to bottle feed the young animals. This teaches children all about animals and animal care, the different names of their offspring and about personal hygiene as they become used to washing their hands after touching the animals. 

Visiting Toddler groups / Childminding groups 
This enables children to interact with lots of children of different ages. People often think that being at a childminding setting means the children won’t interact enough with other children. However, the opposite is true – the number of children they come into contact with each week at various toddler groups, parks, farms and by socialising with other childminders far outweighs the number of children they would come into contact with at other settings.

Visiting Libraries 
One of the most important things childminders can do with young children to help their language and literacy development is to help nurture a love of reading. Visiting libraries is a great way to do this and enables the children to explore a wide range of books. Libraries often run reading groups, music groups and other activities to help towards creating that love of reading.

Examples of many other trips children might benefit from include:

• Visiting garden centres at all times of the year, often they are very well decorated at Christmas time which the children love. 

Ice skating 

Visiting Santa at Christmas time (parents’ permission recommended) 

Pond dipping 

Easter eggs hunts either in the childminding home or at country park

Playing in paddling pool (must be rigorously risk assessed)

Watering the plants and gardening 

Visiting churches, museums, art galleries, historical landmarks 

Going to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate Chinese New Year 

Bird watching at country parks 

Walks in the woods / nature walks 

Watch caterpillars grow into butterflies 

Watch eggs hatch into chicks 

As a result of all these different experiences, children’s understanding of the world around them is enhanced, their physical development, speech and language is advanced, and their eyesight is well developed. Children gain independence and school readiness Children who are with childminders are more independent with taking their shoes and coats on and off whereas in group settings children are less likely to take their shoes off. Through role play and dressing up they learn how dress and undress themselves. They help with drinks, snacks, lunch and dinners on a daily basis, are able to take themselves to the toilet, wash their hands and climb stairs safely. They are aware of road safety as they learn this whilst out and about each day. They are more independent when they start school and confident around new environments.

A Childminder provides a consistent secure attachment figure 

One of the biggest advantages of a childminder is that children are cared for by a consistent key person who never changes. This enables the children to form secure attachments to their childminder which increases the child’s wellbeing levels. The child will then have the confidence to explore their environment, become involved in activities and achieve deeper levels of learning. 

When the children are in the care of a childminder, the childminder will be the sole carer. Even when the childminder has an assistant or assistants, they will have spent all day with the children and will know exactly what they’ve been doing and learning and will know the child well so there is a consistent person there at all times. A childminder will spend a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day talking to parents about the child’s day. Many childminders will also communicate regularly throughout the day by sending pictures and updates about what their child has been up to, what they are learning and how they have been. The children who are cared for by Childminders can feel like they are part of the childminder’s family. 

Continuity of Care 

Childminders are able to look after a child from when the parent/carers return to work after maternity leave right up until they can take themselves to and from school. This means they can help the child transition into their reception year in school and they can look after the child before and after school each day. The younger children get used to visiting the reception class or pre-school so when it is their turn to start school, it is an environment that is very familiar to them so are not daunted by it and settle quicker. 

Many childminders provide parents with all round childcare so school age children are looked after full time in the school holidays. They can help to transport the child to after school activities such as dance groups, gymnastics, football etc and they will support the child to complete their homework if this is what the parents want. 


Siblings can be cared for in the same setting, even if one is pre-school and another is of school age. 

Socialising with children of all ages 

Children at childminding settings have the opportunity to play with children of all ages. The younger children love to play with older children and they learn from talking to them and playing with them. The older children learn to respect and care for the younger children. 

A childminder can react quickly to children’s interests

As childminders are not restricted to a timetable and they only have a small number of children, they can quickly react to the interests of the children. For example, if you are planning to plan vegetables in the garden but a child is more interested in hunting for worms, these plans can change to suit the wants and needs of the child. If a child asks to go to a park or to play outside if it starts to snow or is enjoying finding puddles to jump in - a childminder can change their plans and take the time to do this with the children. 

About Us 

Childminding UK has been supporting childminders for over 30 years. Formed in 1991 by and for local working childminders in Northamptonshire, we now support childminders across the country. A registered charity, we are the only national organisation that solely supports childminders and we have recently achieved the Princess Royal Training Award for ‘Ensuring high quality childcare through training and support’. All staff are experienced childcare professionals and have been childminders themselves and our trustees are working childminders or have knowledge of childminding, so we have a good understanding of the sector. If Childminding sounds like something you might be interested in, please contact Childminding UK on 01536 210685 or email info@childmindinguk.com for advice and support.

The information in this article is provided by Childminding UK and does not represent Morton Michel.