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childminder versus nursery?

(55 Posts)
noodlesmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 17:33:30

does anyone have any tips on childminder as opposed to nursery. first baby and due to go back to work in a few months when she is 1. i dont work locally or have any family near.....

thebody Tue 29-Jan-13 17:55:55

I am biased as I was a cm..

Small amount of children so virtually one to one care.
Flexible and adaptable, can work around a parents normal requirements,
Home environment so less regimented.
Lots of 'out and about' at the park, library, soft play, etc.
Same key adult in child's early years creating a safe and strong environment.
Child is part if the minders 'family' and can benefit from mixing with older siblings, other mindees and enjoy school runs etc.
Child care vouchers can be used same as nursery.
No 'nursery routine of feeding and changing' this is done as needed.

Others will come along to extol virtues of a nursery but its really personal choice and finding the right one for you.

mindingalongtime Tue 29-Jan-13 18:50:32

The two children who have started with me this week have both been in a nursery, one for the last 6 weeks and one for 8 weeks. One was sent home 5 times in 3 weeks, for a runny nose and bottom - teething maybe? The other was still sobbing in her sleep 2 hours after pick up.

Nurseries have their place, for over 2's, not for babies, they need a smaller home environment to settle in and these two have, in a week.

SoldeInvierno Tue 29-Jan-13 19:08:01

how many weeks a year do you need childcare? I picked a nursery because I needed to be sure that I was covered 51 weeks a year. With my job at the time DS was small, there was no guarantee I would be able to take holidays at the same time as a CM, or time off if CM was ill, etc

tiffinbaker Tue 29-Jan-13 19:53:51

My DS was very happy in a Nursery from the age of 12 months - settled in fine and had no issues such as the first 2 replies suggested so they aren't all bad.

To some extent it depends on your child's personality. My DS was the kind of toddler who was into everything and wanted to explore new stuff all the time - in a home environment he quickly gets bored. Other friends had DCs of the same age who were

I've nothing against CMs but disadvantages that put me off were:
Arrangements when CM or CM's own kids were sick
Arrangements when CM wanted to go on holiday
Lots of CM kids seem to spend an unnecessarily long time strapped into buggy or carseat for the school run instead of doing something fun (not true for all) - you also hear about mindees being either dragged round the supermarket for the CMs weekly shop or (obviously worse) left in the car for it!
Not necessarily doing much mixing with kids their own age/size/development level, but instead restricted to activities which have appeal over a much broader age range.
Because they aren't in a group of kids their own size they are less likely to have naps when they need them - see other threads on MN about overtired children who haven't been made to have a nap because they were having too much fun with older mindees - whereas in nursery everyone goes down for a nice long sleep when its nap time and the ones who are too big for a nap are in a different part of the building.

Also for me personally as I am awkward socially myself I prefer dealing with an "organisation" populated by numerous (all lovely) people, and having formal documented procedures and a "chain of command" so that I could speak to someone more senior if I wanted to, rather than having to build a 1:1 relationship with a CM - I realise that this won't be an issue for many people.

Nursery isn't perfect, obviously - and it depends on the nursery you choose. Ours does charge less for short days but some charge the same day rate whether your DC is there 8am-6pm or 9:30am-3pm. Ours has lots and lots of outdoor space and outdoor activities but some only have a more limited garden space. Some nurseries have "room"/"group" changes every 6 or 9 months which is quite frequent for getting used to a new situation (and usually a new Key Worker (or whatever name your nursery gives to the staff member with particular responsibility for your DC))

tiffinbaker Tue 29-Jan-13 19:56:47

oops I seem to have got distrated and left the second para half way through a sentence. It should say "Other friends had DCs of the same age who were less outgoing and found nursery too overwhelming, but were much happier with a CM until they got to preeschool age"

AliceWChild Tue 29-Jan-13 20:00:07

I picked nursery as I didn't want just one person to be such a significant influence on my child. We'd have to see eye to eye about so many things for me to be happy. The nursery I picked has a very child minder like feel in the baby rooms. Essentially a large living room with some lovely cuddly gran/ mums to look after them. I would have been less keen on a more institutional place.

Glittertwins Tue 29-Jan-13 20:00:15

We opted for nursery for the 51 weeks/year cover and because we wanted the DTs to have more children around them rather than just them plus one other at a CM. They were 6 months old when I went back to work. We don't regret our choice of nursery at all.

Themobstersknife Tue 29-Jan-13 20:08:17

Do you have other people nearby who can recommend either / or? You really need to look at the specific options in your area, as opposed to go with some of the generalisations made above. It is an opinion that nursery is not for under 2s. Not a fact.
DD1 went to nursery for over two years and never got sent home for a runny nose and teething nappies were also tolerated. She never sobbed herself to sleep. DD2 has just started nursery - a different one as we have moved - and she settled within an hour. Yes there is a routine, but they adapt it as required. For instance DD2 has been asleep during a couple of meals or we have been late in and she has missed snack, so they have saved it for her. And of course nappies are changed if required. She will have the same key worker until she is 2 and the nursery is like a family.
There will be good and bad examples of both. Go and look at some options. Your gut feel will probably win the day. MN posters, in my opinion, seem to be pretty against nurseries in general, but plenty of people use them and are very happy with what they offer.

ReetPetit Tue 29-Jan-13 20:32:23

cm for babies/young toddlers.
nursery is fine from around 2 1/2 yrs but not suitable for little ones imo...

(have worked in nurseries and am now a cm)

calmlychaotic Tue 29-Jan-13 20:33:06

I would go and have a look at both if you are not sure, and see more than one nursery and childminder as they are all different. A shy or clingy child will often be happier with a childminder, that said an attention seeker will often prefer childminder too as they get the attention. I am biased being a cm myself and also in that my own, (quiet and clingy) ds had a terrible time at nursery. I think little babies are better off with childminders where they can have more one to one and if they need to be carried for a bit or have a hug they can. Not saying nursery staff dont its just they often have more children to deal with and its busier. I like that we can get them out everyday and they get to go to different places, i dont much like the idea they are stuck in the one room all day,but then some people prefer that. as i said im biased anyway! Childminders often have back ups in place to cover their holidays/sickness. in the last year i have not once closed for sickness and have taken 3 weeks holiday in total and provided alternative childminders.

mamadoc Tue 29-Jan-13 20:34:29

I am a parent who has used cm rather than nursery for my two dc.

Reasons for me are:
Wanted my LO to have one person to bond with and also easier for me to relate to one person. (Totally the opposite feeling to two posters above so it really is a personal choice thing)
Wanted homely, natural environment. For me school runs and a little bit of shopping (not regular) are fine to be part of that.
CM can carry on looking after dc after school so my baby and his big sister spend time together

In 5 years of using cm I can only recall a few days of their sickness. Hols she gives me well in advance and we go at the same time as far as poss. She has also done extra ad hoc days for me whenever she can which I don't think with nursery would be so easy.

I am not myself a very regimented, routine type of parent so as long as he gets a nap I'm not fussed if its shorter than at home or in a buggy. Dc2 has to fit around dc1 at home so he's used to it!

I see the mix of ages as a strength. Babies are usually a lot more interested in older children than other babies. I fondly recall the cm's 3 yr old twins helping my dd to walk by one holding each hand! Ds has quite a few different buddies at the cm because most people are part time so he sees different children on different days plus goes out to groups.

Basically I think it is a personal preference thing and You have to find the right fit for you. Standards vary in both types of setting so I would suggest looking round as many as possible and see where you feel comfortable.

We chose nursery for dd1 because it was only 2 days a week, and she was high maintenance - never slept in the day. She still didn't sleep at nursery, but we felt that at least there would be another adult to do a shift with her. If we had needed more days we might have been more likely to go with cm. Generally the cm will have older children, so you will have to accept that they will be on the school run, but lots of second and third borns have to do it anyway, and it might be nice for them to have some big 'brothers or sisters'. I really think you need to go and look for yourself and think about what is important for you working and your dd. (dd1 is lovely now by the way!)

Coconutty Tue 29-Jan-13 20:41:34

I preferred a nursery, lots of staff, gorgeous setting and facilities. I didn't want dc s to get attached to one person or spend hours doing schoolruns etc. Very personal choice I think.

Go with what feels best.

PMMummy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:42:14

I have used both. DD1 needed a nursery, sounds ridiculous but there were no other children in the family at the time, we didn't see any other children and she was very clingy and shy. I feared she would cling to a cm as a me replacement. She thrived at nursery and at pre school following that. DD2 attends a cm, but she is the complete opposite to her sister. Has no need to mix with a larger amount of children as already has confidence, doesn't cling to me or the cm and come pre school she too will just walk right in. Different children, different personalities and needs !

SizzleSazz Tue 29-Jan-13 20:49:39

We used a CM up to when DDs were 2.75 and for adhoc stuff after that (still do now at 6 and 4 lol). All the CM benefits stated above, but mainly home from home environment and flexibility (needed cover from 7am) plus happy to keep DD's if we were caught late. Plus she did a couple of weekends for us at VERY reasonable rates.

Re reliability, my CM was absolutely bloody brilliant. She never had a day sick in 4 years and only had 2 weeks off plus Xmas. One time for the 2 week holiday period we needed cover, she found a friend who had a farm and she had them for us and they felt like they had a holiday grin. Oh and she was a fab cook and gave the children delicious home cooked food every day.

I know we were pretty lucky and found a CM star, but worth going to see a few and if you find a really good one you like, you may want to try it. Otherwise you can revert to the more 'shared care' of nursery.

blondefriend Tue 29-Jan-13 21:16:50

We use both.

My dd (4yrs) has been at nursery since 9 months and loved it almost from day 1. She is confident, talkative and extremely social. She loves being in the thick or it at all times.

My ds (2.5yrs) started at nursery aged 1 year and hated it. We moved him to a childminder and he absolutely adores her. She dotes on him as well and he has thrived in the one-on-one/small numbers in her household. He has become more independent and confident because he always knows he can go back for that all important cuddle.

Basically look at both and choose the right situation for your dc as it's such an important decision to make.

ZuleikaD Wed 30-Jan-13 06:10:36

I agree with look at both. I used a nursery for DD for about 5m and it was awful, with hindsight I would have used a CM. Being a CM myself now I have had children brought to me who've been miserable at nursery - I think you do have to be prepared to change if they're obviously not settling.

With regard to bonding with one person, it's important to remember just how important that bonding is for a child's emotional security. Babies can only bond with a maximum of five or six adults and that's recognised in good practice guidance (which is exactly why a nursery should have a key worker assigned to your child - so that they can bond with one person). One of my main gripes with the nursery we used was that they had such high staff turnover and such a bitty shift system that she didn't have one person who looked after her on all the days she was there, there were at least two and sometimes four.

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 30-Jan-13 10:27:04

I am a CM BTW.

I would choose a CM because I like the idea of children being in a homely setting looked after by a 'mother figure', and to be able to form a good bond with one person (I found the nursery I worked in had quite a high staff turnover and staff switched rooms regularly).

I want my children to experience life in the community, go to get groceries (small daily shop- they can get so much out of it - counting, learning new words, choosing what they want for dinner, learning where food comes from) go to the library, go for walks, feed the ducks, go on trips and go toddler groups and CM network groups.

CM now have lots knowledge and good resources and know how to use them to make sure children are learning through play. This is due to being able to access the same training as many nursery staff.

I wouldn't mind if a CM has her friend /sister/ Mum round for coffee occasionally as long as my DC was entertained and not totally ignored! It's nice for children to meet other adults and their DC's.
(I haven't done coffee with friends as a minder but my relatives do pop in and make a massive fuss of my mindees which makes the mindees day.)

The downside of choosing a CM for me would be finding cover for times when the CM or her DC's were Ill. But this would be less important than them experiencing the whole package a CM has to offer.

We used nursery for all the reasons above. My DSs were both very happy and still speak fondly. They went ft from 1 and 3, and I had no reservations or issues with the nursery at all. They were fantastic and the key workers all lovely.

DSs don't seem to get ill!! Very lucky we are.

I didn't want to get them too attached to one person....we have had a series of APs as well, and the changeovers have been ok (only traumatic on one occasion, but older DS soon recovered and speaks fondly of that AP on occasion).

My boys are happy and well adjusted, and it worked for them. The transition to school was smooth. I think it very much depends on the nursery and the child. Incidently, we moved just before DS2 started school, and he went to another nursery for a few days....he didn't like it at all!

ChunkyPickle Wed 30-Jan-13 10:41:54

Mine goes to both - although my CM has grown-up children so there's not an issue with her children being ill and her having to cancel.

I liked the child-minder for when he was younger (he's 2.5 now) because it was much more homely - like going to play at a friends, and I like the nursery now he's older because it's starting to get him into the idea and routines he'll need for school.

He absolutely loves both, although I think that these days if I were to ask him to pick, he'd probably go for the nursery because there are older children there, vs. the child-minder where he is one of the oldest.

waddamess Wed 30-Jan-13 23:31:03

My strong advice would be to go for 1) a good nanny if you can afford it, share with one another family if you must. Chose someone caring as opposed to anyone billing themselves as an 'educator' or 2) a good childminder with as few mindees as possible. Nursery is not the place for under-3s, they just cannot get the care they need at this vulnerable age. Look up any book on attachment theory. Best of luck.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 31-Jan-13 00:49:41

I've worked in nurseries and am now a nanny. I would always go with a nanny, nanny-share or childminder for an under 2. My reasons would be;

1) Many nurseries have one room per age group plus outside space so your child will spend their whole time in one of two places. With a childminder they will be out and about at the park, softplay, swimming, the zoo, a farm, the library etc etc etc. I hated working in nurseries for this reason and wouldn't want to inflict it on a child.

2) Working in a nursery does not pay well. I found this meant that a significant portion of the staff were inexperienced teenagers or too unmotivated/disinterested/uneducated to do anything else. There were staff who just loved the kids and had a high-earning partner to pay the bills, but they were in the minority. Staff turnover can be high because the ones who are motivated leave to become nannies/childminders.

3) I'd prefer there to be one person responsible for my child as I think accidents are more likely to happen when the responsibility is shared. Children are able to choke/drown/strangle themselves at nursery because no one person is watching out for them. Three staff are in the garden with 9 children, but there is no one-on-one responsibility so carer A thinks carer B is watching your child, Carer B thinks Carer C is, Carer C thinks Carer A is and your child is quietly choking in the Wendy house. That's an extreme example obviously, but the same is true when you drop them off and say please make sure they have X/don't have X or bear in mind he's really upset about X the person you've told gets moved to another room/goes to lunch and no-one knows about your request.

4) Most children start school at 4 years old where they will learn about routine and rules and group care and not being individually catered for. I don't know why you wouldn't want them to have a bit of home care prior to entering this world. We use foster carers instead of children's homes for the very reason that children need a homely environment. It's ok for a few hours a week, but a 6 month old baby in institutionalised care 50 hours a week is horrible imo.

5) With a childminder your childen are cared for in the community, they will meet children in the park/playgroup etc who will be neighbours, who they will go to school with. They will learn about being out in the world, crossing the road, going to the shop, see a building site, a fire engine etc. They will speak to other adults in the library, wait their turn in a queue, just learn things and have experiences they wouldn't get sat in a purpose-built, toy-filled, enclosed room.

6) If your child makes friends the will be able to have playdates/meet up with these friends. If there is a child at a playgroup who attacks/bullies the other kids the childminder can stop going. At a nursery you child will have to put up with whoever is there, if a friend is older and gets moved up they get split up, if they have a biter/pusher/snatcher staff will do their best but your child is going to be locked in a room with them for 50 hours a week.

7) The more children the less child-led the activties are, nurseries will almost always have more children than a childminder .

8) There are benefits to mixed-age care, as one of the younger ones your DC will learn and enjoy the older ones, when they get bigger they'll learn to care, share and be patient with the little ones.

9) Most of the advantages of a nursery are to you and not your child e.g. they're open 51 weeks a year, I won't need to take time off to cover holidays/sick, my child won't get attached to anyone else (this one's really selfish; it's actually in your child's interest to be attached to their caregiver).

10) You know exactly who you're dealing with, you have personally interviewed the childminder, seen their certificates and CRB, got references from other parents. With a nursery you have no say over their staff. You trust the nursery management to take on qualified, first-aid trained, CRB checked staff. If someone leaves and is replaced or off sick and an agency person is sent in you trust the nursery as a whole, but you have no idea who is actually looking after your child. My first job in a nursery I was unqualified, no CRB, no first aid, they didn't check my references, but they were short-staffed and I was cheap. Second day they left me to supervise 'the sleepers' while the rest went for lunch. 20 sleeping babies/toddlers and someone who just came in off the street....

10) Most importantly you don't know what goes on behind closed doors. One of the nurseries I worked in was Ofsted rated good, was full with a waiting list, we had siblings coming through over a period of years, parents were happy and it was like one of those Panorama expose things. Awful, truly awful. With a childminder you're dealing with one person so if there is an issue you can go direct to the cause, not dealing with 'room manager', 'nursery manager' when the actual issue may be with a student who was in that week. A childminder is out in the community so you can get good word of mouth reports on who is good and who isn't.

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 01:09:37

I think some of this is a bit extreme Outraged! In any childcare setting you don't know what goes on behind closed doors and in a cm' s you don't know what other adults your child may come into contact with etc. I originally chose a cm but when I did a drop in unannounced saw children in her husband's car not in car seats, bouncing around while the car was moving. Also 51 week care is usually chosen as some jobs don't tolerate frequent absences for illness and not all of us have backup, it suits the family to have a roof over our heads not just me!

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 01:17:32

Also same applies if another mindee is biting etc or making friends. If you are going to go with extreme Wendy house choking examples, the chances of your child being killed in a car accident are higher at cm' s but still improbable. Many cm' s have quite a lot of after school kids if partner is coregistered number can be quite high. Blanket shock statements silly. I would have loved a cm but very few available near me. It isn't always a free choice.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 31-Jan-13 02:38:50

Just giving my views, based on my experiences of working in childcare . There are bad childminders (and bad nannies), no question. I just think it's easier to tell which childminders are good/bad than it is to tell which nurseries are good/bad. I also think all things being equal an under 2 is better in a home environment. Just my opinion.

'the chances of your child being killed in a car accident are higher at cm' s'

This is true, also more chance of them drowning in the duck pond, being abducted in the supermarket or eaten by lions and I have seen people say that they prefer nursery because they know exactly where their child is for the entire time they are at work. For me, babies not being cooped up in one room outweighs this argument, but others are different.

Themobstersknife Thu 31-Jan-13 08:38:14

Outraged - how did Ofsted deal with your report regarding at the nursery which was truly awful? I assume they investigated?

Can I ask then - are CM ratios different to nurseries? My baby goes to a nursery where she is one of the few full timers, and therefore quite often gets one on one care, but at worst she is 1 in 3. Is this different for CMs? All the CMs I see have at least three charges at any one time?

I could give loads of examples of childminding I have seen which is far from ideal, but I wouldn't do that out of respect for people who use CMs. I don't understand why people don't have the same respect for people who use nurseries. Yes there will be bad ones. There will also be excellent ones. The generalisations on this thread are not very helpful.

HSMM Thu 31-Jan-13 09:27:46

Themobstersknife - CM ratios are different (ratios currently being changed, but I'll ignore that for now). 3 under 5s for CMs. Nurseries have this ratio for babies but are allowed more toddlers and even more at pre school.

You are right there are good and bad CMs and nurseries. The best way to find a good CM is to watch them at toddler groups, the park, the school run, etc, or to get a reference from someone else.

HSMM Thu 31-Jan-13 09:29:52

OutragedFromLeeds - I haven't got a risk assessment for being eaten by lions! Do I need one?

noodlesmummy Thu 31-Jan-13 09:30:18

Thanks for all the responses everyone! I visited a nursery and to be honest it didnt feel right but appreciate it was just one place. I wasnt keen on the quality of staff and food choices (lots of treats). Plus the place felt really depressing with a few visibly ill children. I am meeting a couple of childminders and a nanny next week but other than checking quals etc and obtaining references feel I will probably go on gut feeling.

MaryPoppinsBag Thu 31-Jan-13 09:45:44

Noodles - can anyone you know recommend a CM to you?
I find a lot of my work comes from recommendations from people who know me, not necessarily in a CM capacity but they've known me since I was a child or from school. Or they know me through DC's school and know what I'm like with my own children.

It's not a reference relating to my ability as a CM but it's a character reference.

galwaygirl Thu 31-Jan-13 10:06:25

noodles - I felt the same about the first nursery I saw and was upset afterwards as there isn't the option of a childminder here (city centre) but the next nursery we looked at we absolutely loved.
DD has been there since 13 months and is 19 months now, she loves going. They do lots of great activities I wouldn't/couldn't do at home, she has music classes on a Friday and she gets loads of benefit from it. So much so that we have kept her in there even though I'm not working.
When DH drops her off in the mornings she runs in the door and is so excited to see her little friends.
I really think it depends on the personality of the child - my DD hates being bored and sitting inside watching tv or playing with the same toys. Her nursery is great for having lots of things planned so she doesn't get bored. But she also just loves playing with her friends. I've seen her playing when I pick her up and it is just so cute.

Ultimately you need to pick whatever you feel most comfortable with though

Twinklestarstwinklestars Thu 31-Jan-13 10:50:03

School runs can also be a positive thing if not meaning they are strapped into a pushchair for ages.

I mind a now 3 year old who was terrified of nursery at 1 so came to me, mum couldn't even go down the road without her screaming and being hysterical. from doing the school run to our local school and getting used to the staff she started in September with absolutely no tears and mum couldn't believe it. When we go to school there's an adventure playground and toys so its a fun experience.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 31-Jan-13 11:21:40

Themobster I didn't report to Ofsted. I absolutely should have done, but I was 17, no experience, no qualifications and tbh I had no idea about Ofsted and even if I had I probably would have been too scared as they would have known it was me. There were specific incidents where there was me and two other members of staff in the room, they were good friends and I was new it would have been obvious it was me.

The nursery is still up and running, still Ofsted rated good, I believe it's under new management. Don't know if it's still awful. I hope not. I was there a while back, only for 8 weeks, awful incidents were daily not one-off rarities.

'I don't understand why people don't have the same respect for people who use nurseries.'

This is a thread entitled childminder versus nursery. I never, ever share my experiences or offer my view on nurseries for babies unpropmted. If you've seen a general pattern of neglect amongst childminders then by all means share it here, or report to Ofsted.

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 11:23:56

Yeah Outraged, but the chance of a car accident (which is probably one of the greatest threats any of our children face, regardless of where they spend their time) isn't quite like that of being eaten by lions now, is it? I mentioned it because one CM I went to meet with told me how she loved taking "the babies" to the seaside (an hour and a half away from here, so three hours in the car for the babies) once a week during Summer, and then in the next breath told me it had taken her eight times to pass her driving test. I couldn't see any reason for a year old to be in a car for three hours one day a week other than to give the CM a way of justifying strapping the child into a car for that length of time. Sounds like hell to me, either way.

I think instinct is a huge part of it but I would agree that if you want to go the CM route in your area, get out to playgroups and watch to see how CM's are interacting with the kids in their care. I did this and unfortunately didn't see an awful lot to recommend any of the ones with any availability - there were some amazing CM's also but they didn't have any spaces or were offering term time only. Many of the ones with availability were basically hardly interacting with the kids and more interested in nattering/gossiping than the kids in their care. I think this is sadly more likely than it used to be as the paperwork associated with childminding has driven a lot of very caring and talented people out of the job.

Given that, having childcare that was 51 weeks became a bigger priority as we really needed to be able to rely on ds being able to go if he was well. Obviously if he was sick we would have been off with him whether or not he was in a CM's or a nursery.

In general, as I now face this choice with ds2, I would say that any paid childcare isn't really ideal. A great nanny is the best, a great CM next best, a great nursery after that.. but it is rarely as straightforward that there is a raft of high quality childcare to choose from. We have dealt with the issue here by seriously reducing the time they have to be in paid childcare - I work a 2 day/3 day fortnight term time only and dh uses his holidays to work a nine day fortnight with parental leave for one annual holiday and Christmas so the children are in nursery only 2 days a week. We also stagger drop offs and pick ups, so I go to work stupidly early and dh comes home stupidly late to minimise time in nursery. We found that despite my wage being technically high, that no matter how we crunched the numbers or what we tried that the cost of two in childcare meant working just couldn't pay.. but we want a third so we are putting up with this so I can get maternity leave for a third and then I will go back to work that off for six months and leave.

It is a really complicated thing, childcare.. and your needs will change as your family grows and changes, or as work demands increase or decrease etc. I think everyone has to come up with their own individual solution and there will always be some compromise - you just have to choose what matches both your needs and your values personally.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 31-Jan-13 11:36:39

thunk I was agreeing with you! You are absolutely 100% right that a child is more likely to be involved in a car accident while with a childminder than in a nursery. Completely agree. It just doesn't override the fact that they'll be out and about e.g. at the seaside, instead of stuck in one room all day long. For me, personally, I'd rather take the risk on a childminder with a clean driving license and properly fitted car seat than confine them to nursery. I'd love my kids to have a day at the seaside in the summer!

Looking at childminders at playgroup is a good method, though I will say also watch the children. I'm often to be found chatting at playgroup and not interacting with my charge (nanny, not childminder). I work a 45 hour week, and playgroup is an hour and a half. He is completely content and happy to play independently with his friends because he has my attention the rest of the time. Maybe don't judge the childminders if the kids are happy playing with friends/by themselves.

pebbles1234 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:41:50

I have used a nursery for my DS since returning to work when he was 14months. My main reason for this was personal experience, I went to a childminder from a very young age and had a horrible experience with her own child who bullied me, the CM never intervened and I spent years feeling miserable....that said I know many people whose children have had great experiences and are very happy.

For me there are a number of other advantages of nursery - the availibility across the year, the structured stimulation and activity planning means I feel like I know whats going on and can support it at home. My DS has also had the opportunity to try lots of different foods which means he is a great eater. The nursery was recommended to me by numerous people whose children had been very happy there.

I think its also massively dependent on the nursery.CM you choose - our nursery is expensive but has great ratios accross all groups, its in a village and the children are regularly taken out to the little supermarket, library, park (mine often sees his grandparents whilst out and about and waves happily!)

good luck!

Themobstersknife Thu 31-Jan-13 12:07:19

So outraged, have you seen a 'general pattern of neglect' from a large number of nurseries? Or one or two? I absolutely agree that people should be contributing to the debate, and many of your points are interesting and insightful, but I think the scaremongering with regards to very specific examples is less useful. But I suspect I am being defensive, as both my girls attended nursery, and all I ever see on here is blanket statements about how they are no good for babies.

Tanith Thu 31-Jan-13 12:23:19

I haven't heard of a child being killed in a car crash while with their childminder.
On the other hand, I have heard of a child who choked to death in the Wendy House at nursery: there's quite a fuss still going on about it.

So maybe those statistics aren't quite accurate?

Tanith Thu 31-Jan-13 12:34:35

I agree with HSMM: you really need ti visit as many settings as you can and get a feel for what you want.

Make a list of all the points that are important to you - food, outings, numbers etc. - and make sure you ask about these things.
Ensure you read Ofsted reports and discuss any points that were highlighted.
Get opinions from parents already using the service and always, always visit any setting you are seriously considering more than once.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 31-Jan-13 12:57:30

Themob I was not happy with baby provision in any of the nurseries I worked in. Some were not good enough throughout, some had good provision for the older ones, not one of them would I have wanted my baby to go to. There was only one where what I saw went beyond 'not very good' to awful (I'm talking kids left in wee-soaked clothes all day, 18 month old whacked on the head with a book because he wouldn't sit still during singing etc).

I will say that even at the awful nursery the staff had their favourites, so there were children who had lots of cuddles and attention, just a shame if your DC wasn't one of them.

As you say, these are specific examples, not true for all nurseries. What put me off ever using a nursery, more than what I actually saw, was the fact that clearly the parents and Ofsted had no idea. How do you know which ones are the good ones and which ones aren't? With a baby it's very hard to tell, they weren't coming in screaming in the morning, but no way were those kids as happy as they could have been in better care.

It is my opinion, that it is easier to tell the good nannies/childminders from the bad.

botandhothered Thu 31-Jan-13 14:13:28

Have to agree with everything Outraged has said.I have more than 20 yrs experience working in Early years. Would never send my own child to a day nursery. I have worked or trained in at least 7 Day nurseries.
I would be looking for a childminder with a level 3 college based qualification.
I would prefer a qualified experienced nanny, although appreciate that is expensive.
I am quite shocked that some parents don't want their child to form an attatchment to their carers, and use nurseries for that reason.

ReetPetit Thu 31-Jan-13 14:26:43

i agree, i am a qualified nursery nurse now working as a childminder. I would never put a non verbal child into a nursery setting. I have seen some shocking practice in the nurseries I have worked in.
Nurseries are not suitable for very young children. Anyone who knows anything about child development would know how important it is for a young child's emotional development to attach to one carer. Anyone who doesn't want their child to attach to someone is showing something about their own guilt at returning to work and their own insecurities. A childcarer will never replace you but it is vitally important that young children get enough, and good quality attention. In day nuseries this is just not possible.
Most staff are young and underpaid, their is a high staff turnover, not enough space - and I agree, it is not healthy to have a young child in one room all day. Children need to be out and about. With a childminder, the day is much more normal, such as it would be if at home with a parent.

minderjinx Thu 31-Jan-13 15:00:06

In defence of nurseries, muy own eldest son was lovingly cared for in his nursery from seven months. He never slept during the day, and far from finding this an inconvenience, I could drop in any time during the day and find him getting loads of attention and cuddles. I had a travelling job and could finish just about any time of day and they simply gave me a key to let myself in whenever I got back (not sure that would be allowed now, but they did know I was CRB'd!). When the rest of the children were sleeping I would find the girls chatting together and with him - 6 adults to one baby - he absolutely adored it. By the time my second child was born, that nursery was closing and I never found another I was as happy with, added to which my second child was a completely different character and just did not take to group care. I have heard many parents say much the same, that nurseries do not suit all children, and many children come to me having failed to settle or having had various negative experiences at nurseries, which is why I think there needs to be another alternative.

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 15:16:36

Tanith, that doesn't seem a very objective statement! Road traffic accidents are a leading cause of death in the under 5's all over the world, much higher than things we fear much more like cot death or even choking. If a child did die in a tragic car accident and there was no dangerous driving/illicit substances involved we would all assume it was just one of those terribly tragic and awful things that happens in life. Sad to say, choking is likely to be similar. Children (and indeed adults) can choke on anything.

At my first aid training (NHS), I remember being haunted by a story of a woman who choked on her lunch in the staff room at work, she went out to get a glass of water and was found dead. We were also told that there are literally seconds to clear an obstruction and many obstructions, sadly, won't be cleared even by the most skilful of first aiders in time sad. I think there was a child who died of choking in a primary school this year, wasn't there? It is awful but tragically one of those things that no amount of supervision is guaranteed to prevent yet thankfully generally pretty improbable. I sometimes think we are all encouraged to be a bit OCD about these things these days. In OCD treatment, you are told that anxiety is maintained by an overestimation of the probability of a risk where the thing you fear is really really awful. How many of us do that these days?

I would love a level 3 qualified childminder - I can't get one here, I can't get one within five miles, I can't get any with year round hours. So it is all a bit academic. I have no desire to return to work at all, but this is the way it has to be right now. I don't think any young child should have to be forming an attachment with someone who is paid to care for them, their attachments should be with people who love them and will be in their life in the long-term but that's not feasible for everyone at the moment unfortunately.

minderjinx Thu 31-Jan-13 15:55:38

I had a distant relative who slipped and banged her head on a kerb, dying of internal bleeding at 21. I am disproportionately fearful of similar accidents. But accidents in nurseries and horror stories about childcare generally are not only frightening but very newsworthy, and the media stoke up parents' fears and guilt. It is sad when the need to work is as the above poster says a reality for most parents and it is much better for the child if the parents are happy and confident in their childcare choices.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 31-Jan-13 16:23:09

In the spirit of weird childcare deaths, I work not far from Chiswick, last year a baby was killed when a lampost blew down and crushed his pram as his nanny pushed him along. Wouldn't have happened in a nursery......

but that's not really the point. I didn't mean to derail the OP's thread. My point was simply that when there are several people responsible for one child, the ball can be dropped with regards to who is watching/taking of them at each time. I think the child who was strangled in the wendy house was a recent, high profile example of this so I used it to illustrate my point.

doughnut44 Thu 31-Jan-13 19:50:27

I am a childminder who hasn't got a level 3 qualification, however I am (and not just my words) a FANTASTIC childminder. I honestly do not think you need these qualifications to childmind. The things that you learn are common sense anyway. I don't do the things I do with the children to impress Ofsted or the parents, I do these things because they are what I did with my children when they were little to aid their development and give them a good time.
My own daughter went to a nursery because at that time we were told that that was the best thing for children, it helped them to get ready for school, socialize and so on. My daughter is now 16, one of her nursery teachers came round to ask me if I could childmind for her. I thought she was lovely and caring towards my daughter but my daughter told me she was awful - always shouting and being mean. Really had the wool pulled over my eyes. I have never shouted at one of my mindees but there again - I am not a young girl who has done my level 3 - I am a mother of 3 children who knows what I know from being with mine and other children, reading a lot about looking after children and making my own mind up what is good and what isn't.
To me nurseries do have the facilities and resources to teach children about the world in the confines of 4 walls - a good childminder will teach the children about the world by living in it.
Children are institutionalized enough once they reach school age so why start them sooner.
As for childminders not interacting with children at playgroups - playgroups are an opportunity for children to have free play and mix with their peers. A childminder will interact with the children at home. Playing without parents/ minders at playgroups helps to develop confidence

Sirzy Thu 31-Jan-13 20:02:52

I think its a very personal thing which is best for the child. I picked a childminder over a nursery for DS for a number of reasons, the main being..

- there being more than one carer - adults naturally get fed up/annoyed/need time out, personally I think when it comes to childcare having someone else to help, or to allow you 5 minutes out is a positive. I know its a small thing and childminders will of course carry on through it but still it was important for me.

- Not having to find cover (or have the child with a carer who is unknown/lesser known) for holidays/illness/family problems etc

- The wide range of activities they offer, helped by the fact that I use a fantastic nursery who do plenty of trips out and have wonderful facilities.

- The main thing for me was the ability to deal with my sons asthma, the childminders I saw didn't seem as confident and the fact they work alone would make it hard for them to deal with an attack whilst also looking after other children whereas in the nursery the staff are all trained to deal with him.

That said there are fantastic nursery and childminders and crap nurseries and childminders the key is finding the right one. I have seen some truly horrendous childminders out and about and would never leave my child with them but I know others who are great.

SizzleSazz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:05:40

Re finding good CM - I rang a few on the list and one (who was actually my favourite 'paper' choice) was full. She said she would only leave her own DC with one of the other CM's on the list. This for me was a strong recommendation.

When we went to see her she actively encouraged us to speak to other current parents to ask their views. Everything was open and transparent.

She also happened to be the local 'CM network co-ordinator' but if she hadn't I might have asked if there were a local equivalent and speak to them to ask which local CM might be a good fit for you and your DC's priority requirements.

Where abouts in the country are you? Someone on here might have a recommendation?

Tanith Thu 31-Jan-13 21:22:41

Thunksheadonthetable: Merely trying to show that your post regarding potentially fatal car accidents and demon-driver childminders is irrelevant and pointless.

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 21:36:58

Yes, irrelevant and pointless - as opposed to citing the dangers of choking in Wendy Houses, which started that part of the discussion. Your rudeness is quite telling, I think.

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 21:38:53

I presume this is the "irrelevant" and "pointless" post you are referring to?
"If you are going to go with extreme Wendy house choking examples, the chances of your child being killed in a car accident are higher at cm' s but still improbable." Doesn't really fit with your argument there, Tanith.

housesalehelp Thu 31-Jan-13 21:40:10

honestly go and see both - for me CM more flexiable, cheaper and suited my DCs very well indeed - no problems with sickness and holiday were booked well in advance - but I think once you have visited a few of both you will get a feel for what is going to work for you

Wishihadabs Thu 31-Jan-13 23:08:06

I have used all 3 types of childcare. (Nanny, cm and nursery) for very young dcs. I think it depends on what's available locally. When I returned to work with Ds I visited 2 nurseries, interviewed a nanny and met 2 cms. At that time the cm was by far the best choice, her flat was clean and bright she had the most wonderful selection of toys and most importantly she interacted with Ds really well. I thought the nanny was only in it for the money and the nurseries felt crowded and institutional.

When dd came along I had changed my job and there was a lovely, subsidized purposeBbuilt creche on site. I accept what people say about non-verbal children, but dd (aged 5 months ) would smile and laugh as we approached the building then put her arms out for her carer. For us that was a great choice.

Sadly I was made redundant and we had to move, then having 2 under 4 I used a nanny. So I would say there is no best. Only what is best at that time out of what is available.

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