Steps to become a self-employed childminder

Are you interested in boosting your household income through self-employment while still being able to spend time with your own children? Then you may want to consider becoming a home childminder. If you love kids and have an interest in early childhood education, this could be a fulfilling career path. Here are a few steps to help you get started. 



1. Understand what a childminder does

It’s helpful to first understand a bit about a typical workday for a childminder – particularly if you plan to watch your own children at the same time. You can tailor the work hours to meet your family’s needs. This could range from watching a friend’s children for a few hours each afternoon, to working long hours into the evening.

You’ll need to be able to multitask in order to meet the needs of both your children and the other children you’re watching, and determine how to provide structure to the day if you’re watching them for long hours. Childminders often take care of a range of ages, so you may need to be prepared to provide a safe, stimulating environment for babies, toddlers, and older children alike. In addition to minding children, professional childminders also must deal with their parents. Will you be able to work with parents whose viewpoints on parenting differ from your own? Can your house handle the wear and tear of becoming a day nursery? These are all factors to consider. But the advantages for mums are many, chiefly among these the ability to spend time with your own children while earning a side income.

2. Obtain the training and qualifications

Once you have weighed the pros and cons of becoming a childminder, the next step is to upgrade your skills with any relevant training. New childminders are required to at the very minimum have completed introductory courses in childcare, along with a Paediatric first-aid course. So what can you expect to learn in a childcare course? Skills covered include strategies to support the intellectual, social, and emotional development of small children, as well as how to provide a safe environment and proper nutrition. These types of courses also cover the laws and ethics involved in working in childcare, which is important when you’re starting up your own business. You can take a look at online childcare courses at to get a feel for additional skills that might be useful. In the UK, many childminders earn a “Diploma in Home-Based Childcare” for example which is equal to an NVQ level 3 qualification.

3. Register your business

In the UK, all childminders must register with Ofsted or a childminder agency. In England, this is the case if you want to look after any children under the age of eight for more than two hours a day. There are slightly different regulations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, so you’ll need to contact Ofsted or look online to find out what’s required in your area. Generally, childminders can care for up to six children under the age of 12, with three of these under five and one infant under the age of one. Social Services will carry out annual inspections to ensure that your home and qualifications are up to a safe standard. You’ll also need to register as self-employed with HMRC for tax purposes.

Although there is a fair bit of paperwork involved in becoming a childminder, the time you get to spend with your own children while enriching the lives of others makes it well worth it for many busy mums!