Finding a great childminder is something a lot of working parents worry about. Here's everything you need to know to find the right childminder for you.
There are plenty of things you can do to find a great childminder - here are some tips:
How to find the right childminder for you.
Ask for recommendations.
Talk to family and friends as in most cases, someone will at least know of a childminder who is good. If you don’t know anyone who can offer a recommendation and you live in a new area, you could contact Childminding Ireland to provide you with a list of childminders in your area. It may give you some more options to consider as you progress your search.
Arrange a visit to their home.
Visiting a childminder's home is one step you can’t overlook. Bring your kids to visit the childminder while they are caring for other kids if possible. This may not be possible if the childminder hasn’t other kids to care for now. If that’s the case, then you could see how your children relate to the childminder and ask her questions about how she disciplines kids, what will the kiddies eat (or will you supply food) and more about who she/he is. You will often get a good feel for someone by sitting down with them and chatting - you may find you have things in common. As well as this, look at their home – is it ideal for kids? If the childminder's house isn’t kid-friendly, then it may not be suitable for your child. It needs to be fit for little ones to play safely.
Check references and go with your gut.
As childminding is largely unregulated in Ireland, it is important that you do your homework in terms of checking references, etc. Childminders should be Garda vetted - though many wouldn’t be, it is a way to give parents peace of mind so they can leave their children without worrying too much. Although checking out these things may be time-consuming, you can’t afford to not make those checks or calls.
Agree on terms and conditions.
Before you decide on a childminder, you should decide on terms and conditions as without them, you may both end up with different expectations. Talk to the childminder about what is expected in terms of pay and other things like times, late fees or how your kids behave. The more professional the relationship, the better.
Have a probation period.
This helps you to avoid feeling tied to a long-term contract and it gives your kids time to see how they feel about the new arrangement. For example, you could give it at least two months and see how it goes from there. A good childminder will make a great impression with your kids so they will be happy to stay but if your children aren’t happy, this may not be the right childminder for you.