Childminders have a responsibility to promote and demonstrate a high-quality level of care by ensuring a safe environment, planning a variety of play-based activities and experiences, providing healthy, nutritious food, implementing policies and procedures in line with Ofsted and good practice guidance and working with parents and carers to learn about their child.
Partners & Accreditation
Health & Medical
Nature & Environment
Nature & Environment
Healthy, well-balanced diet
A healthy, well-balanced diet is important for growing children because proper nutrition is crucial for organs and tissues to work properly. If a child’s diet is made up mostly of junk food, they can end up suffering from fatigue, poor performance, and even risk getting dangerous sicknesses. Children can develop a general susceptibility to heart disease if they’re not provided with a healthy diet so there’s no better moment than now to start them on a heart-healthy lifestyle. So, how can you bridge the gap between these improper eating habits and impress the children in your care with delicious healthy snacks for a well-balanced diet?
Healthy Snack Ideas
You can easily turn ‘junk food’ into healthy options using the right ingredients. For example with cookies, you can replace pastry flour with brown or white flour, add rolled oats for more fibre, and replace butter with apple sauce to make them more nutritious. We’ve come up with 3 health snack ideas that you can use here. For more healthy snack inspiration, the Change4Life website has lots of useful ideas.
Be Aware of Food Allergies
A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. The most common food allergies are celery, cereals containing gluten, (e.g. wheat), crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs, mustard, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soya and sulphites.
There are number of things you can do to ensure your staff are well-informed and well-prepared if children in the setting have food, or indeed other, allergies.
Before a child starts at your setting, parents should be asked about any allergies the child has. This information should be given in writing and placed on the child’s file including:
- You may need to ban certain foods from your setting
- Write a care plan for each child with allergies
- Manage medicines
- Train Staff
The FSA (Food Standards Agency) has produced a booklet ‘Safer Food, Better Business for Childminders’ to help ensure that the food you prepare and serve is safe for the children in your care.
Register and get involved in national events such as BNF Health Eating Week. They also provide lots of free resources for you to use to inspire healthy living within your childminder setting.
Millie’s Mark is a voluntary ‘gold standard’ for childcare providers. It demonstrates that you go above and beyond minimum legal requirements in paediatric first aid. The training can take three to six months to complete and includes support from a mentor, completion of an audit, risk assessments and spot checks. To find out more visit the Millie’s Mark for childminders page.
Morton Michel is one of the largest childcare insurance providers to the Early Years sector with over 50 years’ experience. They are renowned for their tailored policies, excellent service, additional benefits and competitive premiums so you can be sure you have the right cover at the right price. You can get a free insurance review, with no obligation.
How meningitis aware are you? Meningitis Now has launched a new initiative for those that provide childcare called ‘MARM’ (Meningitis Awareness Recognition Mark). When a childminder registers with the free programme they can download the MARM toolkit and complete a checklist with various activities to receive a MARM. Recognition of this can then be added to your Learning Log to showcase your on-going Continuing Professional Learning (CPL) and demonstrate to parents that their childminder is ‘meningitis aware’. Register now to become a meningitis aware childcare provider.
Get a Free Insurance Review
Our trusted partner Morton Michel will look at your insurance needs and provide a free quote tailored specifically for your childminding business.
Supporting Children’s Health & Wellbeing
Our children are precious to us and as parents, one of our biggest concerns is the health of our children. And when parents leave their children in the care of practitioners, they also hand over responsibility for their children’s health and wellbeing. This is a significant responsibility and requires practitioners to have deep pockets of knowledge and understanding about health and wellbeing.
A broad range of health responsibilities
Many of the principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage are directly related to improving children’s health and wellbeing, for example by promoting physical development, which in turn can help to prevent obesity. The need to promote healthy eating and adequate hydration are laid out as statutory requirements in the EYFS.
Conflicts of interest
Its important for childminders to work with parents to support children’s health and wellbeing. However, in many cases there can be conflicts of interest and tensions between a setting’s policy and parental choices. Another area that could create difficulty was trying to reinforce the sickness policy of a setting, especially when a child was not healthy enough to be in the setting, but parents had sent their child in because of work commitments. A research based book by Jackie Musgrave called Supporting Children’s Health and Wellbeing aims to illustrate many of the complexities of children’s health in an accessible way and each chapter offers considerations for practice.
Policies and procedures
Both Ofsted and the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) require all settings to have a set of policies and procedures and to ensure that staff are given training about them and that they are accessible and explained to parents.
As well as these requirements, you will find that they are essential for the smooth running of your business and the welfare of anyone involved in your setting.
Policies and procedures support the foundation of quality practice. They help to guide the actions of everyone involved in the service and guide the daily work and decision making of childcare professionals to promote the best outcomes for all stakeholders in the service, including children, families and themselves.
We have a policies and procedures pack created especially for childminders in mind that contains 19 essential policies to ensure the health and well-being of the children in your care are a first priority.
Planning & Preparing Activities
All Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS framework and the children in your setting will be taught mainly through games and play. It’s important to plan ideas for activities that cover the three prime areas of EYFS learning and development. Below are our top tips for preparing activities for the children in you care:
Find your resources
There are plenty of places to find inspiration for activities such as:
- Parenta Magazine – Sign up to our monthly magazine which contains plenty of ideas, tips and inspiration for activities your childcare setting.
- Pinterest – Sign up for a free Pinterest account and search for a whole range of inspiration for activities by using keywords such as ‘EYFS activities’, ‘nature activities for children’, ‘childminder activities’ etc.
- The Sensory Projects – Founded by Joanna Grace, an international Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist. This website lets you Explore The Sensory Projects, find out about training courses, and access materials that will support you as you seek to include people in a sensory way.
- Early Years Story Box – Storybooks and resources to nurture self-awareness and imagination in little learners.
- Early Learning HQ – High quality early years teaching resources designed to help engage, inspire and educate children.
- Childcare.co.uk Resources Page – Every month they add new downloadable activity booklets and resources for both childcare providers and parents.
The Benefits of Being Outdoors
The benefits of being outdoors in nature have been well documented for all ages, from reducing blood pressure and lifting depression, to combating stress and obesity. But for young children especially, the opportunity to let off some steam and feel the sense of freedom that comes with being outdoors, can have hugely positive consequences for many aspects of development and well-being.
Ideas to get you started
There are plenty of ways to get children more involved with nature and the outdoors. Pinterest is a great tool to further explore how to go about some of the ideas below:
- Create a bug hotel – Making a bug hotel is a perfect way to introduce the idea of insect hibernation to children.
- Help a hedgehog– Make some hedgehog-food ‘cakes’ or make a hedgehog a home.
- Create art with nature – Read our blog post ‘Creating artwork with items sourced from nature‘ for more ideas.
- Take inspiration from nature – Read our blog post ‘Taking inspiration from nature for sensory play‘
- Build a camp in the garden – String a rope in your garden and drape an old sheet over it…weigh it down on the edges. Sprawl out a blanket and let the children have their very own picnic & day play camp out.
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt – Try using this free printable scavenger hunt checklist