All early years settings (including childminders, nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups and) give children the opportunity to play and learn, try new things, develop social skills and make friends.
If you are looking for home based childcare, choosing a childminder may be the best option for you.
Childminders look after children in their own homes and offer a range of educational activities for children to play and learn, try new things, develop social skills and make friends. Watch the video below to hear from some of our childminders.
- can be flexible about the hours they work
- should provide your child with care, fun and learning
- take children to local parks, playgrounds, toy libraries, drop-in groups and children's centres
- may offer pick ups and drop offs to part-time nursery sessions and to school
- have had basic training and access to regular refresher training (some also have accredited qualifications including level 3 and degree level qualifications)
- have to undergo checks to ensure they are suitable to work with children - these include checks on every member of their household who is over 16 years of age
Find a childminder near you
Find a childminders that can care for a child with disabilities
Choosing a childminder
Some of our childminders can offer childcare at short notice, overnight care and extended hours to support parents who work in the evenings and early mornings.
Find out more information on our flexible childminder pool.
If you are having difficulties finding the right childcare to suit your needs, contact Children and Family Information Services and ask for help from our childcare brokerage service.
Information for early years providers including childminders
Nannies are employed by parents to care for children at home and can be suitable for parents who need flexible childcare. Although many do have nursery nurse or childcare training, nannies do not have to hold qualifications.
Nannies can register with The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) but it is voluntary so parents are responsible for interviewing and checking the registration and all the relevant references of nannies. Parents are responsible for paying their tax and national insurance.
For more information on finding a registered nanny, visit www.childcare.co.uk.
An au pair is usually a young person looking for an opportunity to travel and live/work with a host family in a new country, learn a foreign language and experience a country's culture. The au pair will work a set amount of hours for the host family, usually doing a mixture of childcare and light housework. The au pair may have some childcare experience and even qualifications, but an au pair is not a nanny.
For more information about au pairs visit the British Au Pair Agencies' Association.
There is no law which states the minimum age a child can be left unaccompanied, but it is an offence to leave a child alone when doing so puts the child at risk.
Babysitters are not registered with Ofsted and there are no regulations to govern this type of childcare. We do not hold lists of people who offer babysitting. However, we do hold lists of registered childminders and some childminders may be willing to do some evening or weekend babysitting.
Parents may also wish to find a sitter by asking a friend or a relative with children for a recommendation or by searching the web for babysitting agencies.
If you use a babysitting agency, ask whether they interview and take up references and whether sitters are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
Recommendations from NSPCC and RoSPA on babysitters
The NSPCC recommends that most children under 13 should not be left for more than a short period and that no child under 16 should be left overnight.
Both the NSPCC and RoSPA recommend that babysitters should be over 16 years of age and that parents ask for at least two references and contact the referees themselves.
More information about choosing a babysitter