•They are cared for in small groups and therefore all children will get a lot of personal attention. •The carer never changes like for example in a Nursery setting where the staff may change on a regular basis. In a home based setting the carer is always the same allowing close bonds to form. •The children are cared for in a familiar homelike environment. •Children are likely to be in mixed age groups which benefits the younger children as they learn for the older ones and also benefits the older ones who can gain hugely from the feeling of being the grown up ones in the group. •The care is often based within the children's own community. •Children's individual needs are better met and so they are treated as individuals rather than as a group.
The main benefits for their families are:
•Childminders are often able to work flexible hours to suit their needs which other setting often can't offer. •Childminders can be used in conjunction with other settings i.e. for before and after School and pick up from Nursery etc. •Childminders often have more time available at the start /end of the day to talk through any problems and can offer a much more personal service tailored to fit each families needs. •Childminders can often grow with a family for example a child who has been with them since a baby can then still continue to be picked up from Nursery and then School and in the School holidays by the same Childminder and so offering a kind of continuity which no other childcare service can provide. •
The benefits for the Childminder are:
•We choose what hours we work and how much work we want to take on •We work from our own home and our work can fit around our own family routines. •We can still be there for our own Children.
•We manage ourselves and set our own policies.
If you want to run a successful and profitable Childminding business marketing is very important. We must first think about what kind of service we want to offer and what working hours we want to set for ourselves. The first place to advertise for all childminders is with our local authority Children's Information service (CIS), this service is free and all registered Childminders will automatically be put on the list(unless they state that they don't want to, however their information will always be kept by the CIS for statistical use ) but it is still essential that we keep the information which they hold about us up to date and let them know if we have any new vacancies straight away. I find that it is still important to do this even when full as it keeps up awareness of my business . When thinking about what to put on marketing material we should think about the strengths of our business and promote these, ask questions like:
•Do I have qualifications which I want people to know about? •Am I a member of a professional organisation such a the NCMA? •Can I offer special facilities for less able Children and their families? •Am I near to a particular School which I can offer pick up from? •How many years have I been working with Children ?
•Can I offer links with the local community?
All of these things can be great in promoting your business and making your service look special.
When advertising think about where this would work best, the first place I went to was my Children's School, who let me advertise on their notice board which I have found very beneficial. Also think about websites such as 'Netmum's' , local Nurseries, shop windows, free ads papers, maybe there is a large employer near you, you could ask if they would mind you advertising on their staff notice...