Choosing a childminder: NICMA’s top tips

FOR many parents, selecting the right childcare for their child is one of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make.

NICMA’s Fey Clark offers this advice.

The first step is to decide what type of childcare would best suit your child and your needs. Childminding suits parents who want a high quality, affordable and flexible childcare option, and who value a childcarer who can give their child individual attention in a ‘home from home’ setting.

If you opt for a childminder, do make sure he or she is registered with their local health and social care trust; unregistered childcarers don’t have insurance and haven’t been inspected.

NICMA has a dedicated telephone helpline and website search facility. These services will help you to find a registered childminder almost anywhere in Northern Ireland.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it really is worth taking a little time to visit a number of childminders and to do some research.

You can be assured that any childminder who offers good quality care will quite understand why you want to ask questions and ensure that you make the right, considered choice.

I would recommend these tips to help make your final choice:

1.Arrange a visit when at least some of the children the childminder looks after are there – do the children seem happy and at ease?

2.Make sure the childminder has adequate insurance cover – ask to see his or her insurance certificates.

3.Check what food is provided and whether any snacks are healthy.

4.Find out about the daily routine followed by the childminder, the activities he/she provides, and any outings or trips.

5.Once you’ve selected your childminder, ensure you sign a contract with him or her – it provides a vital safeguard for you both.

For more information on finding and choosing a childminder, just call NICMA on 0871 200 2063 or visit the NICMA website at www.nicma.org