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Childminder advice please - lost confidence in individual

(13 Posts)
RJazz Sun 09-Mar-14 09:00:52

My 14 month old has been settling in at CM for 5 or 6 weeks now, but no contract has been signed yet as I don't start work until next week.

Following a 2 week break when we took a family holiday we returned to CM last Monday for half day. When I collected baby I was told "today was not a good day". It turns out my child had been quite tearful and had spent most of day crying on and off. This had then caused the other 2 children (both younger than my DD) to cry as well. As it was first day back After 2 week break I was hoping it was just a one off after 2 weeks with mum & dad and junior would settle better at next session (Fri). CM made comment that she's been trying to "shush" LO by putting finger to lips and saying "ssshhh" and then wagging finger. This jarred with me but I didn't want to be a parent who micromanages every part of CM day with child so put it down to a one off and left it.

The following day I got a call from CM (baby was with me that day not CM) to tell me that my DD had not been good previous day and it was not helpful to have her so upset when there are 2 other babies. She said that if she had another day like that then she would "end up bald" as she'd be "tearing her hair out" with 3 crying babies. I actually thought she was phoning me to tell me that she couldn't look after DD anymore but it wasn't - she wanted me to bring DD back for extra settling session the following day for a couple of hours. I agreed but was somewhat taken aback by her tone, words and attitude.

Next day DD stayed for 2 hours and when I collected her was given same story about how it wasn't a good day, disruptive to the other kids and how she used the "ssshhh" and finger wag to get my baby to stop crying. Again, I was really uncomfortable with this but said nothing until I could speak to DH and get his thoughts.

Dropped her off Fri and spoke to CM as I dropped DD off about the "ssshh" and finger wag. As I use finger wag to tell DD to stop touching (eg plug sockets etc) I didn't want her to be effectively chastised for crying as she is legitimately allowed to cry if she wants to. Anyway, this didn't seem to be well received feedback by CM and she said that "it's the only thing that works" and what did I propose? I said I'd rather she used reassurance and distraction as tools to help settle DD but I was told "I've tried that and it doesn't work". She told me she's been doing this for many years and her methods work and that it wasn't as though my DD had fallen and hurt herself, she wasn't crying for a reason(!!!). She then said that as my DD was so young she doesn't have the verbal understanding to use "stop it" so "sssshhh" and finger wag is more appropriate! She then said that I have no idea what it's like to have all 3 babies crying at once and so she can't cuddle them all at once so another method needs to be used.

I am fully aware that 3 upset children is difficult, and I don't expect my child to get 1to1 care when there are other children there too but I can't help have an uneasy feeling about her approach. It seems to jar with my natural instincts that a crying infant would be told to "stop it" rather than be nurtured.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I don't think the chemistry is right so am going to move to new CM. I am not in a contract yet but I have had a space reserved for me for 4 months so should I offer a compensation payment before moving or do I just move? Am I being overly sensitive about her approach or does it jar with others too?

meerschweinchen Sun 09-Mar-14 09:03:40

I think you're right to go with your instincts. I don't really know where you stand on the payment issue, but I'd definitely change childminders if you're concerned.

Forgettable Sun 09-Mar-14 09:07:14

Well firstly let's hope the other two babies are either twins or one of them over 12 months or she is working over her numbers (assuming registered cm in England)

Secondly no contract in writing but there could be deemed to be a verbal one? I would maybe offer one week's money

Thirdly no you are not being oversensitive

Dont offer a compensation. This is a settling in period. If it wasnt working for her she wouldnt offer you one. Justsimply say it isnt working and walk away.

Tbh im more bothered about the fact she has three LOs crying so much - CMs are usually fun and interesting places to be!

ummingandahhing Sun 09-Mar-14 09:14:33

I find her attitude odd. My CM will tell my 27 month old to stop whinging or crying if she's crying for no reason. But if she is genuinely upset, she is given cuddles and kisses or good old distraction.

There's a big difference though in behaviour and requirements from a 14 month and a 27 month old and I would feel that her way of managing tears is not right for a 14 month old.

HSMMaCM Sun 09-Mar-14 09:17:02

Not sure where you stand with a verbal contract. I would have given you a written contract already and it wold be clear that you could withdraw your child with no further payment during the first month.

I would expect a child to be unsettled again following a holiday and having children setting each other off crying is normal for a CM from time to time.

Some children do seen to cry 'for no reason', but 99% of the time, it's because they want a cuddle, nappy, drink, or whatever.

insancerre Sun 09-Mar-14 09:18:19

alarm bells are ringing
an experienced cm should be able to distract a crying child
I feel for your dd, no child should be told off for crying
she is obviously unhappy and is trying to communicate her needs
the cm seems not to be able to meet these needs
babies have emotional as well as physical needs and a good cm will work hard to ensure a child is happy and settled
I think you are doing the right thing moving your did
I doubt the cm will complain. she has probably taken on more than she can cope with

catkind Sun 09-Mar-14 09:31:36

This is all wrong, you can't just tell a baby to stop crying however you do it. When DD was unsettled at the CM it was always "DD needed lots of cuddles today", "DD sat on my lap and we read books", "I distracted DD by looking at the fish". Crying is not bad behaviour, it's being upset because she's missing her mum and dad sad.
I'd get out there and look at other options. Were there other CMs you met when finding this one that might still have a space?

RJazz Sun 09-Mar-14 09:35:05

Thanks for all of your speedy replies!

She only has 1 under 12 months so is within guidelines but 3 is obviously a lot when all at similar infant stage. Also, KenAdams, I think the other 2 only cry when mine is crying as it sets off the chain reaction so they're not always crying, in her defence.

I should point out that my DD rarely cries at home and so really she is upset as she's away from mum and is a bit unsettled so I feel she really needs to feel reassured and secure, not "shushed" as if she is doing something wrong.

AMI88 Sun 09-Mar-14 17:29:12

If you haven't signed a contract then you don't have to pay her anything, it's completely up to you, what would make you feel better?

Having been in a situation where I had three little ones starting at the same time, and tears and whines, it can be very hard, but thankfully it didn't last long, and I now all these years later, I have three delightful 3yr olds.

I would advise you to think carefully about what you would like from your childcare. If you do move on, what about your little one? It's going to be confusing, all these different faces. Tears are to be expected during settling in period, and it can be testing for CM sometimes when we are by ourselves...if you move on, you may find similar situation for the first few weeks.

Good luck! Xx

RJazz Sun 09-Mar-14 20:31:20

Thanks AMI88.

I know it might be disruptive in the short term for the wee one but I think it will be better for her longer term. It wasn't her tears that troubled me but more the reaction of the CM to her tears. I didn't feel she had a nurturing, caring response to my DD's valid reasons for crying and so would rather that she did get a more loving response if she's upset in future. As DD hasn't really settled in the original CM's care yet, I think I'm really just extending the period of unrest rather than starting it over again so hopefully it will work out for the best! That's the plan anyway!

missusmrs Sun 09-Mar-14 20:46:03

Take from my experience (I posted last week when I had to immediately withdraw from our CM). Your gut instinct as a mother should never be ignored, I tried to make a situation work for 5 months where it should never have gone beyond settling in. Your negative feelings now will mean you are on high alert for everything, just say it's not working, you are not contractual obligated, move on and you will know what you're looking for now...

Eletheomel Mon 10-Mar-14 08:33:25

I would remove my child, no way would I leave her with someone who's idea of calming a baby is to wag a finger in their face - what nonsense. My CM always used to pick up and cuddle my son when he's upset (manys a time he'd fall asleep on her knee). If your CM can't handle 3 under 3 then she shouldn't be looking after them simple, she should be looking for older kids - she sounds like a right harridan to me, with no nurturing skills at all. And it's not your daughters fault (who's trying to adjust to a new situation) that she's having a bad day cos she's taken on more than she can cope with.

What a hag - leave now and find someone else. My CM works closely with all the CM's in our small town (and I know them all quite well) and NONE of them, would ever treat a mindees child like that.

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