Childminder Checklist

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In my last post I spoke about the chaos of September but one real positive was us finding a super Mary Poppins style minder for the boys two afternoons a week.

It was a big change for us and I’m not going to lie I was quite apprehensive. We’d come from creche life for the last 3 years for both boys and despite a few bumps along the way we had an overall great experience with our chosen creche dimples. There was an ease and a security in that route that we were both familiar with and felt comfortable with.

Finding someone was one of my major initial concerns. It was only 2 afternoons a week and most seemed to be looking for more work..

Where to start, what to ask etc etc. A midfield really. So I started with the basics-a printed sign. I searched a little on Mind Me and registered with Rollercoaster and a few texts came back but nothing that suited. The final 2 we interviewed actually came about from a sign I had put up in our local supermarket-one started with us and the other lovely lady has gone to work for a friend. So here is my little guide on how we and you might find looking for a childminder a little easier!

 

FIRST STAGES:

·         Don’t look too soon-about 4-6 weeks in advance is about right

·         I’d hold off registering with any of the paid sights-you can look at them but not make contact-try free options first-Rollercoaster, Word of Mouth and Signs in local Supermarkets/Notice Boards

Sample Sign Below:

Childminder Wanted

Childminder required for Thursday and Friday afternoons from mid-August. 2 boys aged 4.5 & 1.5. School picks ups local-****

Contact ***** if interested.

 

SECOND STAGE:

·         Have a standard response text ready for people enquiring with your main requirements-do they drive, hours/days of work etc

·         Shortlist your responses-2/3 is plenty to meet

·         For the potential minders first arrange a phone call & ask the main questions ({see below}

·         Once you are happy with one or two then it is time to meet the kids and see how they interact-in an ideal world they are only meeting your main contender so they do not get confused. For us this meeting was key.

FINAL STAGE:

·         Once you have decided on your minder agree some settle time-one of these hours should be free of charge and I would suggest another hour or two that you add onto the first payment. You will also  need to consider showing her/him the workings of your house during one of these meetings-simple things like alarm/oven/where stuff is kept/tv where applicable etc. At this point I would also talk through food for the kids, general rules, nap schedules, homework duties, clearing of kids food and toy items at the end of the day etc.

·         Summarise via text/email or in writing if you prefer some areas of agreement: working hours, days off they take, days off you take, payment, holidays-the boring but also important stuff to clarify from the beginning.

·         Arrange a start date and expect the first week or so to be a time of adjustment for you all and then you should fly it.

 

Questions for your childminder:-use in an order you feel is appropriate and some you may leave out or add some of your own but this is a guide to get you started!

 

1.       What are your interests outside of work?

2.       What is your experience previous to this? Are you currently working for another family?

3.       Are you first aid trained and garda vetted?

4.       What type of activities do you like to do with the kids you mind?

5.       Talk me through a typical day.

6.       Do you prepare food or should we provide meals to be heated?

7.       Are you happy to bring children to afterschool activities?

8.       How do you deal with discipline when required?

9.       Are you a non-smoker?

10.   Did you do housework for your previous employers?

11.   Do you work mid terms/holidays and are available for full days at this time?

12.   If you are requesting all day or there is a school drop involved you may want to talk about punctuality.

There are probably a few bits that you would include or take out and as I said above it can be a bit of a mind field but a few weeks in now and all the routines have settled down, it is working well for us. To be honest all the questions in world will not outweigh your instinct when you meet someone so put any natural reservations you have aside and go with your gut!       

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