How many children can I mind?

A childminder is not obliged to register with TUSLA unless they are minding more than 3 pre-school children  but no more than 5.  There are also exemptions as outlined below;

Should a childminder wish to register with TUSLA for 3 or less children even though they are not required to do so under the current regulation, they can do so but will be under the current criteria outlined by the regulations of 5 or less children. They will be inspected for having up to 5 children regardless of their number of 3 or less. They will have to meet all the criteria set out by the regulations to be placed on the register including minimum qualifications or its equivalent  as deemed by The Minister, Garda vetting of all household members  and space requirements etc.

How many children can a childminder care for?

A childminder can care for no more than 5 preschool children in his/her home at any given time. This includes the childminders own early years children, unless the childminder is applicable to the exceptions for childminders. No more than two of the children can be under the age of 15 months (except where the children are siblings) including the childminders own children

What are the exemptions in relation to childminders?

The exemptions from provision of Part 12 of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 are set down under 58L as follows:

  1. The care of one or more children undertaken by a relative of the child or children or the spouse of such relative.
  2. A person taking care of one or more children of the same family and no other such children (other that the persons own such children) in their own home.
  3. A person taking care of no more than 3 children of different families (other than that person’s own pre-school children) in that person’s home.



  • 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.


School Age Childcare Registration

On the 18th February 2019, the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018 came into effect. Services who cater for school age children (including childminders) must now register with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. School-age childcare services have not, to date, been subject to registration, so this is a significant step forward in ensuring quality school-age childcare.

The School Age Childcare Team in Tusla is responsible for promoting the quality, safety and appropriate care of the children by assisting in the registration of services within the sector. Applications for registration can only be made online.

For further information please visit

Below are a number of very useful guides to assist you with setting up a School Age Childcare facility and information for those services already established.

School Age Childcare Regulations 2018

School Age Childcare Explanatory Guide for Providers

School Age Childcare Registration Q & A


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 TUSLA 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.

Pobal Logo DOCYA Logo