How many children can I mind?

Definitions

  • You can mind different children at different times. It is the number with you at any one time that counts.
  • School children are children that have already started in National School, Secondary School, a private primary school, or are more than 6 years old.
  • Babies are up to 15 months old.
  • The law counts everyone under the age of 18 years as a child.
  • Insurance companies may only count children up to 14 years old

Under the Childcare Regulations 2006

  • If you are notified to the pre-school officer, you can mind up to 5 pre-school children including your own preschoolers
  • Only two of these can be babies, except in exceptional circumstances, like triplets
  • You can also mind school children at the same time.
  • If minding overnight, the maximum is 3 under 12 months, or 5 under 6 years, per minding adult

Under the National Guidelines

  • You can mind up to three unrelated pre-school children (an exemption in the Child Care Act 1991)
  • This is excluding your own pre-school children
  • You can also mind school age children

If you mind no more than 3 children under the age of 18 at any one time, you will also be able to claim the Childminders tax relief.

Under local planning laws

If you mind more than 6 children of any age, including your own, you must get change of use planning permission from your local council.

  • A Childminding service is defined as having 6 or fewer children by local authorities.
  • Above that number, you must apply for permission to run a daycare/preschool service.
  • This is due to traffic, water and sewage considerations.
  • Then you may be liable for water rates as a business.

In rented accommodation

Local councils may allow tenants to mind up to 6 children at a time, including their own children, once the service is HSE approved.

Private renters do not have any legal right to mind children.  Some owners allow it and some don’t. You must get permission from the owner.

In either case, you should make sure that you have appropriate insurance to cover the service.

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