A Guide to Childminding in Your Own Home in Ireland

Professional childminding is becoming the preferred choice for childcare for more families than ever. Known as a more flexible and personable choice, it is increasingly considered as the best option to align with the busy ebb and flow of family life. If you’re contemplating embarking on this fulfilling career path, you’re aligning with a dynamic and expanding demand.

However, entering the world of professional childminding isn’t as simple as opening your doors. The profession also carries significant responsibility. This guide is designed to take you through the nuances of becoming a childminder in your own home, so whether you’re a seasoned caregiver or a newcomer to the field, this guide will provide valuable insights and practical advice to support you on your childminding journey.


What is a Childminder?

A childminder is a professional caregiver who looks after children in a home environment. This role often extends beyond mere supervision, encompassing aspects of nurturing, teaching, and guiding children during their formative years. Childminders may cater to different age groups, from infants and toddlers to school-aged children, providing care before and after school and during school holidays.


Childminding as a Profession

Professional childminding blends skills in child development, education, and caregiving within a home environment. As the demand for this personalised, flexible form of childcare continues to rise, childminding represents a viable career path with immense potential for personal satisfaction and meaningful impact. 


Is a career in childminding for me? 

Choosing a career path is a deeply personal decision, and entering the field of childminding is no exception. It’s crucial to reflect on whether it aligns with your passion, skills, and lifestyle. Here are some key factors to contemplate:

  • Passion for Child Development – A strong interest in early childhood development is a must for any childminder as the role requires active engagement in the children’s learning and emotional growth, fostering their creativity, and supporting their developmental milestones. 
  • Patience and Empathy – Children are learning and growing individuals, and their developmental journey is often filled with ups and downs. Patience, empathy, and understanding are fundamental qualities for handling these ebbs and flows and providing a supportive, nurturing environment.
  • Stamina and Resilience – Childminding can be physically demanding and emotionally challenging. The job often involves long hours and requires adaptability to handle unexpected situations. 
  • Skills in Planning and OrganisationRunning an in-home childminding service requires excellent organisational skills. You will need to plan activities, maintain schedules, and manage various administrative tasks, including record-keeping and complying with regulations.
  • Comfort with Home as a Workplace As an in-home childminder, your home becomes more than a living space—it transforms into a place of work, play, learning, and growth for the children you care for. Reflect on whether you have sufficient indoor and outdoor space for children to play, sleep, eat, and for nappy changes. 
  • Your Family’s Readiness – Inviting other children into your home impacts everyone living in it. This means embracing a constant buzz of activity, occasional untidiness, and wear and tear. 
  • Financial Considerations – Childminding involves additional expenses like increased utilities, food, insurance, and perhaps investment in play equipment or home adaptations. Evaluate whether the potential income aligns with your financial needs and can cover the extra costs involved.
  • Commitment to Continuous Learning – The field of child development is continuously evolving, and keeping up to date with the latest practices, theories, and regulations is part of being a professional childminder. Ongoing professional development and learning are crucial to excel in this field.


What Qualifications do I need to become a childminder?

When it comes to qualifications for becoming a childminder in Ireland, the requirements vary depending on the nature of your service and whether or not you’re required to register with Tusla, Ireland’s Child and Family Agency.

For childminders who are not obliged to register with Tusla, there’s no mandatory requirement to hold a specific childcare qualification. However, professional development and continual learning in the field of childcare are strongly encouraged as a measure of best practice. This not only enhances your expertise but also boosts parents’ confidence in the quality of care you provide.

If you’re registering with Tusla as a pre-school service, the regulations are more stringent. You’re required to hold at least a major award in Early Childhood Care and Education at Level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework before registration. This is applicable even if you’re providing care to a mix of pre-school and school-age children. For those who register with Tusla as a school age childcare service, currently, there is no qualification requirement.

Regardless of your registration status with Tusla, it’s highly recommended that you complete the Children First Child Protection Training Programme. This training equips you with the knowledge and skills necessary to keep children safe from harm and understand your responsibilities under child protection laws.

Regardless of the differing requirements, all childminders are encouraged to actively participate in relevant childcare training. 


How many children can I mind as a childminder?

Understanding the capacity of your childminding service is crucial, not only to ensure that you are providing high-quality care, but also to remain within the regulatory parameters set out in Ireland’s Child Care Act 1991. The exact number of children you can mind depends on whether you are registered with Tusla and the ages of the children you wish to mind.

Registered with Tusla as a Pre-school Childminder, you can mind:

  • Up to 5 pre-school children, including your own pre-schoolers.
  • Of these, only two can be babies (up to 15 months old), except under exceptional circumstances like minding triplets.
  • You’re also permitted to mind school-aged children at the same time.
  • If offering overnight care, a single childminding adult can cater to a maximum of 3 children under 12 months, or 5 children under 6 years.

Registered with Tusla as a School Age Childminder, you can mind:

  • Up to 6 children under local planning regulations.
  • With a change of use planning permission, this capacity can be extended to up to 12 children.

Not Registered with Tusla, you can mind: 

  • Up to 3 unrelated pre-school children, under an exemption in the Child Care Act 1991. This doesn’t include your own pre-school children.
  • School age children can also be minded concurrently.

If you mind no more than 3 children under the age of 18 at any one time, you may be eligible for the Childcare Services Tax Relief Scheme.


Steps to Become a Professional Childminder

Embarking on a career as a professional childminder in Ireland involves a few key steps:

1. Contact Your Local Childcare Committee

Initiate your journey by reaching out to the Development Officer in your local City/County Childcare Committee. 

2. Engage in Professional Development

Invest in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to stay updated on best practices. This includes:

3. Arrange a Support Visit

If possible, arrange for a support visit from a professional who can provide advice on the setup of your service.


Steps to Set up a Childminding Business

Embarking on the journey to establish your own childminding business is both exciting and demanding. Here are key steps to ensure a successful setup:

1. Gather Written References

Obtain at least two written references that vouch for your character and aptitude for childminding. Be ready to share copies with potential parents to reassure them of your credibility.

2. Secure Insurance Cover

Getting adequate insurance coverage can protect you against potential liabilities arising from accidents, property damage, or other unforeseen circumstances in the course of your childminding service.

3. Formulate Policies & Procedures

Develop your childminding policies and procedures to set clear expectations and guidelines for your service. You can consult Tusla’s ‘Childminding Sample Policies & Procedures‘ for best practices.

4. Create a Record-Keeping System

Efficient record-keeping is crucial for the smooth running of your childminding service. Look at ‘Childminding Sample Record Keeping Forms’ for guidance on how to do it effectively.

5. Voluntary Notification to Your Local City/County Childcare Committee (CCC)

Completing and returning the Voluntary Notification Form to your local CCC will help you to keep in touch with your local CCC and also officially notifies them of your service.

6. Register with Tusla

If you plan to mind more than three children, excluding your own, you’re required to register. Detailed information on Tusla registration can be found here.

7. Register with Revenue

As a new business, you must register with the Revenue to ensure compliance with tax laws. This is a crucial step to legitimise your business.

8. Establish Your Fee Policy and Work Hours

Decide on your fee structure, operating hours, and the ages of children you’ll care for. Ensure that your policies reflect a fair balance between your business’s financial sustainability and the families’ needs you aim to serve.

9. Request Inclusion in Local CCC Directory

Finally, request your contact details be included in your local CCC Directory of Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) Services. This can help increase visibility and attract prospective parents.


Steps to Promote Your Childminding Business

Once your childminding business is set up, spreading the word is the next important step. Here are several strategies to effectively promote your service:

1. Engage in Childcare Networks

This not only provides opportunities for professional development and shared experiences, but also aids in word-of-mouth promotion.

2. Design and Distribute Flyers

Create an informative flyer about your childminding service and distribute it in high-traffic areas like local supermarkets, libraries, and parent-toddler groups. 

3. Utilise Social Media and Local Newspapers

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or local community apps can be great channels for highlighting your services. Additionally, placing an ad in your local newspaper can help reach those not active online.


Financial Support for Childminders

Supports range from tax relief schemes to government subsidies and grants, all aimed at making childminding a financially viable profession. 

  • Capital Grant – Childminders who have successfully completed a Quality Awareness Programme (QAP) can apply for a Capital Grant. This grant aids in purchasing small capital items, such as equipment and toys, or even in covering minor adaptation costs to enhance the quality of their service. For more information on the Capital Grant, contact your local City or County Childcare Committee (CCC).
  • Tax Exemption – Childminders caring for three or fewer children under 18 years can benefit from a Tax Exemption, also known as Childcare Services Relief. This is applicable if the annual childminding income doesn’t exceed €10,000. For more information on this, see here.
  • PRSI Contribution – Childminders benefiting from the Tax Exemption must pay an annual PRSI contribution of €253. This payment is made directly to the Department of Social & Family Affairs and helps build a social insurance record. In the long run, it can provide advantages for benefits like pensions and Maternity Benefit.
  • Learner Fund Bursary for Childminders – The Learner Fund Bursary is available to childminders who have achieved a Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education at Level 5 or Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). The bursary is designed to support professional development in the field and is administered by the local CCCs.

These are just a few of the financial supports available to childminders. It’s worth contacting your local CCC to discuss these and other options that might be available.


How CCCs can Support Childminders 

One of the primary roles of CCCs is to provide detailed information about local childcare services. CCCs also offer expert guidance to help childminders make informed decisions around their service , as well as providing crucial insights into various funding options available. For more information on the role of CCC’s, see Your Go-To Guide to City and County Childcare Committees in Ireland.


Building Trust with Parents

Building trust with parents is the heart and soul of successful childminding. It’s all about nurturing a warm, open relationship that allows parents to feel secure leaving their children in your care.

  • Communication is key. Regularly sharing updates about their child’s day, their achievements, and even the little hiccups helps to build a bond of transparency and mutual respect. 
  • Modern tools can be your allies in building this trust. Child development apps, for instance, can offer a comforting window into their child’s day, providing real-time updates that allow parents to feel connected and informed.
  • Registering with trusted platforms like Suresitter.com can be invaluable in further establishing this trust. By vetting childminders and providing reviews and ratings, they assure parents that their little ones are in the safest of hands.


Overcoming Common Childminding Challenges

From managing time effectively to dealing with emergencies, or even the ‘Terrible Twos’, childminders face a variety of situations that test their resilience.

Time management can be a particularly tricky challenge. Balancing the varied needs of multiple children while still maintaining a peaceful, engaging environment can be daunting. The solution? Structure and routine. Having a daily schedule, adaptable to individual needs, helps create a predictable environment for the children, easing transitions and reducing stress.

Handling emergencies is another area where preparedness is paramount. It’s essential to have a well-thought-out emergency plan, and regularly discuss this with parents to ensure they are comfortable with the procedures. 

The beauty of the childminding community is the wealth of support available. Platforms like Suresitter.com go a step further, offering resources and information tailored to support childminders in their journey.


Your Childminding Journey in Ireland

Becoming a childminder in Ireland is about more than just caring for children; it requires understanding regulations, assessing your home’s suitability, and balancing familial responsibilities. Professional development is key, and continuous learning ensures the highest standards of care. Financial considerations, awareness of childminding limits, and effectively promoting your services are integral for business success. And last but not least, its essential to establish a trusted relationship with parents and navigate any challenges together.

In essence, childminding can be a demanding yet very gratifying role that, with the right set up can be a really rewarding professional career path.  


About SureSitter

Suresitter.com is dedicated to fostering trust between childminders and parents through stringent vetting, reliable reviews, and top-notch resources. On Suresitter.com, you can connect with a community of professionals, access valuable resources, and find opportunities to grow your childminding business. Whether you’re starting or growing your childminding service, register with SureSitter today.


FAQs for Those Considering Becoming a Childminder in Their Own Home

Can I be a childminder in a rented house?

Yes, you can be a childminder in a rented house. However, it is essential to check the terms of your lease agreement and obtain permission from your landlord. Remember, your home must meet safety and space requirements for childminding.

How many children can a childminder look after?

The number of children a childminder can care for varies depending on their registration with Tusla and the children’s ages. For example, a Tusla-registered preschool childminder can care for up to five pre-school children, including their own. If unregistered, a childminder can care for up to three unrelated preschool children, excluding their own.

How much does a childminder earn a year?

A childminder’s earnings can vary significantly based on several factors, including location, hours worked, the number of children cared for, and the level of services provided. On average, a childminder in Ireland may earn between €15,000 and €30,000 a year.

How much does it cost to register as a childminder?

The cost to register as a childminder depends on the requirements for qualifications, insurance, equipment, and other business-related expenses. However, Tusla does not currently charge a fee for registration.

Do childminders need garda vetting?

Yes, childminders in Ireland are required to complete Garda vetting. This is to ensure the safety and well-being of all children in their care.

Do I need planning permission to mind children in my own home?

No, you do not need planning permission to mind children in your own home if you’re caring for no more than six children using existing rooms. This falls under the current planning exemptions for Early Years Services. However, if changes are made to the property for childminding purposes or if you plan to care for more children, you might need to seek planning permission.