A childminder is a childcare provider who provides his services at his home, either in his regular living quarters or in another area of the house designated for children's care, education and recreational activities. He normally supervises multiple children from different families and of assorted preschool ages.
Patience, understanding and a genuine fondness for children are all required skills for a childminder. She needs to be kind yet firm in meting out discipline and teaching the children respect for one another in their daily activities. If she prepares meals for the children, cooking abilities are needed, as well as the knowledge of basic nutritional requirements. She must be aware of child proofing standards and apply them to all areas accessible to the children in her care. Accounting and bookkeeping skills are needed for a childminder to invoice her clients and maintain her business books and records.
Since young children are so active, a childminder has to be aware of where each child in his care is at all times and be able to effectively monitor individual activities. He is expected to provide toys and games to develop their motor skills and encourage the development of deductive reasoning abilities and social skills. Reading to the children and verbally interacting with them is a general requirement for this position. Helping children in personal hygiene activities is also part of a childminder's job.
Preschoolers typically have little understanding or regard for order, so a childminder's environment is generally populated with toys, books and games. She may be required to go outdoors on occasion to entertain or play with the children. Her attire is usually casual and made of materials resistant to play area materials such as paints or glues. The work hours of a childminder usually begin early in the day and are extended to accommodate the work schedules of the children's parents.
Although there are no strict educational requirements for this position, a high school diploma or equivalent is normally preferred. College courses in childhood development, arts and crafts, and child psychology are preferred. Knowledge gained through past experience in childcare environments is desirable.
Salary and Advancement Opportunities
Since most childminders are self-employed, salary increases can only be generated through fee increases for services or by accepting the care of additional children. Childminders with formal education related to childcare or teaching can generally command higher rates than those with no formal training. Based on information provided by Indeed.com, the average United States salary for a childminder in June 2010 was £28,600.