Childminders and Contracts


Golden rule for parents before committing to a childminder is to have a contract in place. Start as you mean to go on, have everything defined, crystal clear and signed off on before you proceed. Same thing applies to a crèche (more on that later). Many savvy childminders will already have a version of a parent handbook/contract itemising their terms and conditions, however, all too often, both parents and childminder enter into a vague, verbal relationship which can easily end in tears.

Sit down with your prospective childminder and clarify your new business relationship. At the very least agree the following in writing:

* Hours of care
* Is there a penalty if you are late occasionally
* How many days holidays you will pay childminder
* Will you pay bank holidays
* Will you pay when you do not bring your child to childminder
* How much notice will you give when children will not attend e.g. holidays
* Will you pay if your children are sick and unable to attend
* Agree a sickness policy i.e. agree incidents when child is sick/contagious and childminder can request you collect your child
* Will you pay sick pay to childminder
* Will you pay if your childminder is unable to take your children
* How much notice should your childminder give if she needs time off
* How many meals and snacks will childminder provide (and any specific requirements)
* Agree methods of communication e.g. chat at pick up, comment book, weekly chat
* Agree methods of dealing with challenging behaviour/discipline so everyone is consistent and on the same page
* What do you need to supply e.g. nappies, wipes, food?
* Ensure all insurance is in place both for within the house and any transportation in the car
* Indicate all designated persons for pick up of the child and ensure childminder is always informed in advance
* You may want touch on daily activities and interactions i.e. will child be going to the playground, shops, meeting with any adults besides the minder and discuss any concerns
* When and how you will pay plus receipts if required
* How much notice required should you withdraw your child
* How much notice required should childminder withdraw service

The above suggestions are merely a guideline for formulating your own contract with your childminder because ultimately every situation, parent and child is unique and you will have your own requirements.


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August 18, 2007

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