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Freaking out - have I left finding a CM too late?!

(20 Posts)
Bunnymummy82 Sun 09-Feb-14 20:26:38

I was thinking of going back to work in July and had sent off a load of emails to childminders; 2 came back, one was already looking after 5 kids and I didnt want my 8 month old as one of 6 (first time mum and therefore paranoid!) and the other sounded perfect but has just emailed to say she now has someone confirmed from July/August and doesnt want to take on more than one baby. SO now I am freaking out that I've left it too late - would you normally expect more than 6 months notice for booking a CM place?!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 09-Feb-14 20:28:47

Things can change between now and then. Talk to them and ask to be kept informed.

Do you have any other options like nanny share or nursery?

addictedtosugar Sun 09-Feb-14 20:39:54

Considering most people won't be on a 6 month notice period, I'd have thought that there will be movement between now and July.
HOWEVER, we live in an area where you can start next week in many settings. I started looking this time of year for a April start, and nearly everyone had availability. I do have friends who sorted childcare before baby was born in a different area.

How much would it cost to reserve a place with the first childminder - she has space, after all.

Also, have a look at some other childminders, or a nursery.

HSMMaCM Sun 09-Feb-14 21:10:18

Most CMs are registered for 6 children under 8 and well able to cope. Maybe you should visit the one with 5 children and see how you feel. I'm guessing 3 of these children are at school all day anyway.

LingDiLong Sun 09-Feb-14 21:45:01

Yes, definitely don't rule out the Childminder with 5 children. I have three of my own and 5 more on my register BUT they're not all here at the same time and I have a couple of mornings a week where I just have one child.

trickydickie Sun 09-Feb-14 22:20:57

I look after 5 children. 4 are my own. 5 children are away from me by 8.45am and 2 return to me at 11.45am and other 4 return to me at 3.15pm, some days 4.15pm depending on school clubs.

Five mornings a week I have no children from 8.45am until 11.45am. I could still mind one other child, which I am hoping to do soon.

So your baby would have me for 3 hours on a 121 basis, then share me with a 3 and a half year old and a 4 and a half year old for a few hours in the afternoon.

Bunnymummy82 Mon 10-Feb-14 02:55:12

Thanks for the advice all, really appreciate it! I guess I just couldn't imagine looking after an 8 month old, two 3 year olds and 3 other under 8s! I just had visions of my baby being squashed by a load of chaotic bigger children... But I guess by then she will be bigger and more robust. How on earth do you all cope with that many kids on your own though? Surely things like the school run are a nightmare?

Bunnymummy82 Mon 10-Feb-14 02:58:22

Ps don't like idea of a nursery - not having the same person all the time, staff being quite young etc . I guess my ideal is a mum with a couple of school age kids who minds my baby and maybe one other, then the baby is part of the family.

HSMMaCM Mon 10-Feb-14 07:06:53

Don't worry about the 6 children. It really is a family environment and the littlest always gets the most attention (from the CM and the older children).

Bunnymummy82 Mon 10-Feb-14 08:15:16

Thats good to hear, but how do you give the kids any individual attention if there are 6 of them? Or is it easier if a few of them are your own so you can spend more time with them at other times? Or am I over-thinking this and it's just childcare while I work, it's not meant to be a massively nurturing or developmental environment? I am generally not a pushy "oh she's so advanced" type mother... Or at least i didnt think i was until I started looking for childcare...

You'll be fine - I found one in 2 weeks when I started uni as that's all the notice I had shock

I would have loved mine to be one of 6! smile I think if you want a smaller set up you're looking at a nanny or nanny share, which is of course more expensive.

School run will be done either in a car or with double buggy and reins or buggy boards or possibly a triple/quad buggy.

Older children tend not to be there as long - just after school really, so during the day she will just have the four and possibly the 2 3 year olds will be at preschool for part of the day as well. The older ones probably don't need individual attention as such because they want to be off playing. Babies and toddlers will, which is why CMs are limited as to how many they are allowed to have. But it will also be good for them to have interaction with older children which is far more valuable before 3 than interaction with peers.

The baby will love having all those kids aroubd. She will get 1-2-1 time when the 3yos arr at preschool, and the 8yos will obly be there tea time.

Poledra Mon 10-Feb-14 09:31:37

My 10-yo DD loves the babies at her CM's! Obviously, she is not allowed to pick up/carry the little ones (unless with permission for the CM's DGS) but she'll play with them and entertain them after school and enjoy the privilege. I've had my 3 DCs at a CM's since they were babies, and it's a bigger setting (she works with an assistant) but it's been a really positive experience. When my lot were babies, they had loads of extra "big brothers and sisters" (useful at primary school!) and now, mine are the 'older siblings' and are learning about caring and looking out for younger children.

jellyandcake Mon 10-Feb-14 09:43:35

My workplace wouldn't confirm my days until a couple of months before my return. Most local cms were booked so I had a choice of two. I didn't like one of them at all, the other was absolutely fine. She has a bewildering amount of children over the week - all different days/hours. She coordinates school runs with the local cm network so the littlies don't get dragged out in bad weather and each cm is covering a different school. My ds was 8 months when he started and the older kids loved him and fussed him - they definitely never squashed him!

Bunnymummy82 Mon 10-Feb-14 11:04:59

Thanks for the reassurance!! Another question - is it normal to pay half fees as a retainer? Would end up costing a lot if we had to do this for 5 months before I even go back!

Yes. Some CMs require a retainer and this is usually 50%. She would be silly to turn down other business based on you promisng to send your dcs to her, when in reality you could pull out the week/dday before.

Not saying you would. But she doesnt know you from Adam.

Lucylouby Mon 10-Feb-14 11:32:28

I normally have 5 children here before school. But in the morning it is just me and a baby, in the afternoon the baby and two preschoolers and after 3.30 all five. We have a brilliant routine, it works really well. Your baby will be nurtured and loved and I'm sure will love the attention of the older children as well as the cm. Children of all ages benefit from being part of a group of mixed age children. The older ones learn to care and pass on their skills to the younger ones which reinforces their skills and the younger ones learn by copying the older ones. Its a win win situation.

I would ask for a retainer or I wouldn't guarantee the place, sorry. If someone came to me asking for a place to start immediately, that is guaranteed work rather than someone who may or may not come back to me in six months time. If you were paying me a retainer, I would honour that and not take the other job.

Bunnymummy82 Mon 10-Feb-14 16:52:16

Ok thus makes sense thank you! Does this mean I am best off waiting til nearer the time? I can't afford 5 months of childcare costs even at half price when I'm not working! Totally understand why you do it of course but wondering whether most people only look a month or so in advance if that's the case?

Stickhasgrownup Mon 10-Feb-14 18:28:22

You may get lucky and there may be a childminder who has a space coming up when you need it. ie. You're child would start as the other one leaves and therefore a retainer may not be charged (I wouldn't in this case)... I usually charge 1/3 fees as a retainer as 50% always seems so much. And when I have been booked months in advance I have worked out how much a 1/3 would be and then agreed on a set amount, rounded the figure down as otherwise it can be unaffordable!
I guess if you haven't found someone you love you can risk waiting, but if you find the perfect person it may be worth paying a retainer!

Bunnymummy82 Mon 10-Feb-14 18:39:38

Oh yes I see - I think one of the ladies I'm seeing has someone leaving in July so that'd be ideal... Thanks again for all the advice!

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