The first consideration is where you need your childminder to be. Do you want someone near your home or near your workplace? If the childminder is to take your child to a specific school or playgroup then you must find one who is prepared to do that. Just because a childminder lives near a particular school doesn’t mean that they will collect from there, they may have other schools to visit.
Visit several childminders before making a decision see how you feel - your own instinct is usually pretty good!
See how they interact with your child and how your child seems in their presence. You know your child best so look for things that you know your child will like. It’s no good booking your child into a childminder with a big dog if your child is scared of dogs!
Ask about their policies, many will have written policies on such things as Child Protection, Equal Opportunities, Sickness Policies, Menu Plans and much more.
Ask to see their Ofsted inspection report, this will tell you when they were last inspected, whether they have had any complaints against them and what grade they were given at their inspection. It also contains the inspectors findings at the inspection.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, the childminder will know that you need to put your child's welfare as top priority and will be happy to reassure you.
Make sure you understand what the childminder will be offering for the fees. Does it include food? What you need to provide? i.e. nappies for babies, baby milk and wipes. What are their charges for absence? Or arrangements for holidays.
Many childminders have information packs for parents which you can take away and read at your leisure, this enables you to think of any more questions that you might need to ask.
Finding someone to care for your child is a big decision, make sure you are happy before signing a contract as they are legally binding on both parts.
Many childminders will suggest a settling-in period, where, if for some reason they or you wish to terminate the contract then it can be done so without the agreed notice during this settling-in period.
You can find childminder's vacancy listings on Childcare.co.uk