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Childminder using her motherly instinct

(27 Posts)
MUM2BLESS Fri 16-Nov-12 14:03:29

I childmind seven children. I am NOT trying to be their mum, as no one can take mums place.

What do you deal with yourself and what do you let the parents deal with?

Over my time as a cm I have had to step back and let the parents deal with things such as challenging behaviour, homework not being done, coat not being brought to mine, parents not remembering its non unform (dealing with the crying)

I have look after the children with great care but sometimes I have gone from cm to taking on extra things.

How do you ensure you stay balance?

Three of the children are the same age as as my youngest, therfore I know what is taking place at school.

What are your views on this?

At the end of the day I am a mother myself.

anothercuppaplease Fri 16-Nov-12 14:36:05

haha just thinking about that yesterday. One of my mindees' parents are going through a rough time (some home improvements making their house a complete mess, parents short of money, completely stressed out, etc) so I always remind the mum of school activities for the coming weeks, I print out the school newsletter for her, I even 'created' a spotty tshirt with the little girl yesterday so that she could wear it today for pudsy bear day at school I knew her parents wouldn't have time to think of anything. I don't mind at all, what I don't want to be doing is making parental choices for the family. For example, if a family asks me to stick to a routine, I do my best to do it. But if parents under-dress their child I have a box of spare hats, coat, welly boots etc for them.

MrAnchovy Fri 16-Nov-12 15:24:12

Speaking as a parent:

challenging behaviour
Parents, all carers and school need to work together on this.

homework not being done
Often the parents have little time with their children during the week and need to rely on you to ensure homework is done - not true if they pick up at 4.30 having had their tea of course.

coat not being brought to mine
You can't do anything about that, other than suggest they keep the coat at yours.

parents not remembering its non unform (dealing with the crying)
Remember you have a lot more involvement with the children and their school than the parent does so it is easy for them to forget. Always remind them when they pick up the night before.

fraktion Fri 16-Nov-12 16:10:36

I think it depends on the relationship you have. The maxim I worked by as a nanny was not to do something which couldn't be undone.

I agree with a lot of MrA's points. Re: non-uniform I would see if they could change into any spare clothes I had and texted the stents on the assumption it was ok and they forgot. If of course it turned out that it was some kind of punishment I'd gently reiterate the important acme if communicating about behaviour.

What I would do and using professional judgement to decide what is appropriate, however, is a separate issue to what you go on to say about 'taking on extra'. Do you perceive that it isn't your role to pick up the slack and you therefore won't do it? What about dealing with homework/challenging behaviour? Or do you think they would mind if you did? Are you communicating effectively with parents about what you do and don't do? Are there things you could do that would benefit them without putting you out?

There is a fine line between facilitating and stepping on toes which probably needs to be negotiated with each set of parents. From what you say about being a mum too I get the feeling (I may be wrong) that you would do the extra in the interests of the child but perhaps you feel that conflicts with your professional role as a CM? Before bringing it up I would try to be clear on where you personally feel the standard and ultimate boundaries lie e.g. it's the parents' job to remember a coat being a standard boundary but a child going coatless in snow isn't acceptable so you would provide the coat however you wouldn't buy a new one (the ultimate boundary).

NickNacks Fri 16-Nov-12 16:14:05

I disagree with mr anchovy on a couple of points. Our school communicates events and requirements using letters in the book bag and a text message system. I therefore think it is perfectly acceptable to assume parents have a calendar and can organise their own children. I have (and other childminders do also) our own children to sort. Having a childcare provider is not the sane as having a PA. The more you pick up the slack for people, the more they will rely on it.

Secondly I am happy to provide a place to complete homework and be available for assistance but again it is a parents responsibility it is done on time and correctly etc. As above, I have my own children to sort out after a full days work also.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 16-Nov-12 16:28:53

My cm would not and doesn't get asked to get involved with homework. But if she did and dd happy do it there I wouldn't object would see predominantly as my own responsibility.

Coat not going to yours is difficulty, I would insistbthatbthey leave one with you if it is a persistent problem. My cm may prompt dd to get left coats jumpers from school but again I wouldn't expect it as I can do that another day.

I would expect any Carer to deal with any challenging behaviour appropriately if dd was in their care.

Parents not remembering school uniform days is quite sad and shows a lack of commitment to the dcs,Mobutu if it was regular I would text and remind them the day before. Not what else you can do other than that.m

It sounds like there is some level of communication breakdown between parent and your self I would address this and express the disruption it causes. Would a communication book help.

If you are happy doing that bit extra and parents don't mind carry on. If not I think you need to reiterate the limitations you have and re establish some boundaries.

poopnscoop Fri 16-Nov-12 17:48:03

I agree with Nick 100%.

thebody Fri 16-Nov-12 18:00:39

Ex cm here, sgree with nick really.

While the mindees were with me I was in effect the parent and would act as such not withstanding parents responsibility re illness.( ie send home)

When they were with the parents then my responsibility ended although I would always try to remind parents if school/ nursery dates and issues if I could.

However a cm isn't a nanny but a closer relationship than a nursery worker I think.

With some parents I found the more I did the less they did but most parents were fantastic.

MUM2BLESS Fri 16-Nov-12 19:27:46

Thanks for all your replies.

I agree that cms and parents need to work together. I think sometimes its my fault in what I am now doing. I will look at what I am doing and ask myself if I am happy to continue doing whatever I am doing.

I do a lot of reminding ie by text as I have to plan ahead and need to know what happening. For example school closing at 13.30 on 21 December, am I picking up or will alternative arrangements be made.

Home work time - did make time available but some of the kids were not keen on doing this. Eventually I decided that I was not forcing anyone to do home work who did not want to do it, even if thats what the parent may want.

Life is very busy overall in my house. I think I need to take a good look at what I need to do for the cm kids and what their parents should be doing. Sometimes you see help is needed and you step in to help.

Most of my parents are very supportive.

I have over the years dealt with families who have had challenges and I have tried to be supportive in how I deal with the parents and the children.

What I will start doing is looking at what I need to do and what needs to be done by the parents (not get involved).

Thank you for your comments much appreciated.

MUM2BLESS Fri 16-Nov-12 19:35:27

Also we are at times, the eyes for the parents.

Parents have given us as cm's etc the responsibilty to care for their children, therfore you are like a go between to ensure the parents know what is happening with their kids, whilst they are in our care.

MrAnchovy Fri 16-Nov-12 19:49:46

Our school communicates events and requirements using letters in the book bag and a text message system. I therefore think it is perfectly acceptable to assume parents have a calendar and can organise their own children.

Are you saying that you wouldn't mention it the night before when they are picked up? That doesn't cost you anything but to a parent that has just suffered an hour's commute having left bang on time to pick up at 6.30 and has a tiny window of time to communicate with their child during the week it is invaluable. Parents don't have the advantage of the school gate grapevine ("... X is really looking forward to wearing her new jeans for NU day tomorrow ... OMG, glad you mentioned it, I totally forgot!") so they do rely on you to provide some of that 'glue' between home and school that makes everything work.

MrAnchovy Fri 16-Nov-12 19:50:40

Cross-posted MUM2BLESS, you have put it better than I did smile

Welovecouscous Fri 16-Nov-12 19:56:48

You sound like a lovely cm op - no advice but just wanted to say that!

MUM2BLESS Fri 16-Nov-12 20:07:50

Thank you so much for your advice and encouraging words.

Its amazing...when you listen or talk to other people, you can see it from another point of view

Never thought about them commuting and arriving tired etc and me giving them alittle reminder (your so right).

I am glad I can make a difference in the lives of the children and their parents.

MaryPoppinsBag Sat 17-Nov-12 08:34:14

I don't think a CM would deliberately not mention something coming up at school. I mention letters / photographs in bags - if I remember. I am actually still caring for children when others are picked up - and it can be a little distracting!
But it is the parents responsibility in their absence to check what is coming up at school. Not mine I do that for my own children.

It hasn't stopped me offering to go to a class assembly though because it falls when a Dad is working away.

I think it is a fine line though between interfering and providing a decent service. I always ask if it's OK to read with them or if they want to practice their spellings. Because I don't want to tread on toes.

MaryPoppinsBag Sat 17-Nov-12 08:36:00

I would also like to point out that I am also tired after a full days work!

CM is a tiring job.

MUM2BLESS Sat 17-Nov-12 21:39:34

MaryPoppionsBag you mentioned I think it is a fine line though between interfering and providing a decent service

Its amazing as I see a fine line between taking on too much and providing a decent service. I know you are not aiming this personally at me. There are some things that I do because I see the need to do it. I try to get persmission for decisions which the parents need to make a not me.

I do a lot of texting when I need to make quick decisions as it may not be convenient to phone a parent at work.

At times I have to be the one to let a child know they cannot do ........ as the parents said so.

MUM2BLESS Sat 17-Nov-12 21:48:18

Me agian.

Parents are not all the same, therefore I deal with them differently.

As a cm at times we have to be sensitive when dealing with the children and their families when the need arises. Go that extra mile but not take on the burden.

There are times when I have to step back and mind my own business as I cannot get involve with that it happening. Not sure if you have ever been there.......

It great that as a cm we can offer a save haven to the children whatever is taking place in their lives.

fuckwittery Sat 17-Nov-12 21:51:09

I think you have to force the homework because the parent simply doesn't have the time to do it. nice reminders about organising my life are always welcome from my CM.

MUM2BLESS Sat 17-Nov-12 22:01:04

I will NOT force the homework as I have had so much problems with that in the past. Parent wanting children to do it, but them not wanting to. It was hard work. Its difficult as sometimes the parent maybe struggling with this due to the hours they work etc. If any pressure needs to be put of the kids it will NOT be from me.

I can be more firmer with my own kids.

If the kids want to read etc I will however put it in their reading record and sign it. (parents know about this and are ok with it)

I am no longer stressing out myself trying to get children to do something which they do not want to do. I now leave that to the parents. Been there and done that already.

My parents appreciate the reminders. I am after all working in partnerhsip with them to give the kids the best.

Differentangle Sat 17-Nov-12 22:07:04

I am wondering when homework will get done if cms don't get involved?

NickNacks Sat 17-Nov-12 22:11:35

Well mine get collected at 6pm fed and watered. They live 5 minutes away so in sure they can find 15 minutes to read (which is surely all it is at this age) with their child between then and bedtime. I good excuse for a cuddle and quality time I would have thought.

NickNacks Sat 17-Nov-12 22:12:20

Sorry for typos!

MyBestfriendsWedding Sun 18-Nov-12 07:52:19

Parents need to make the time, surely. Im no different as a parent. I don't sit with my DS and do his spellings and reading until my mindees have gone home. Homework gets done after 6pm or later in this house. Our homework situation is no different to my mindees parents. Wish it could get done earlier, but it's not doable when you have a full house of different ages all making noise and letting off some steam after a day at school. With varying pick up times and parents at my door, I have snacks/meals/drinks to make, nappies to change, contact books to fill out, provide activities for all ages, get the time to have a chat with the older ones about their day, and keep everyone happy! Nothing is set in stone though and I would accommodate reading when my setting allows.

NickNacks Sun 18-Nov-12 08:00:12

differentangle I have 3 children of my own, 2 school age so I still have to fit their homework in once I've finished working for the day. We are full time working mothers too!

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