Using a childminder for the 1st time..(11 Posts)
As it says in the title
Very new to using childminders, what questions should I ask to see if they're suitable? Looking for care for ds2, 20 months old. TIA for any help.
ask to what they do with DCs , attitude to disapline, ask to see their ofsted report and references from other parents - but mostly should get a feel if you see a few - there is a childminders section on here which could be helpful
Ask what their approach is to meals and feeding, to bottles, how often they take the children out, what qualufications they have, what they do if they are ill, what their attitude is to coughs and colds, how long the child needs to be away if sick, how many other children there are and of what ages.
What holidays they take and what you do about school holidays. What health and safety courses they have done. What skills your child will develop. Ask about exercise, singing, play, naps and nappies ( do you bring your own ).
Ask about insurance. About whether they take the children to nursery and or school. And fees. And a model contract .
I have the most wonderful childminders in the world. Ds wrote a superb article about them for the NCMA 17 months ago ( not even a stealth boast here, just a boast).
Get a feel for if they are fun, calm and love the children they care for.
When I was expecting dc1, I prepared a whole list of questions I was going to ask, and had thoughts of filtering a short list down to just a few.......
I learnt that, in reality, you first find the shortlist of who has a space reasonably near enough to you to be workable, who can do the days / hours you want, and then you see which of the 2 of them "feels" right when you chat to them.
I'm a CM - you might find the Childminders and Nannies board helpful as well.
Agree that you need to first find the ones who've got places. Ask to see their policies and procedures (some of these will be Oftsed requirements, like a Lost Child policy, others will be about their approach to things such as TV), ask about food (a sample menu would be good), ask about how much holiday they take and who pays. Other than that, as thewhistler says.
I think instinct is as important as the answers to specific questions. YOu will have a feeling for whether you get on with someone and trust them with your child. Also - it's very personal to you and what matters to you. Some childminders will fill in a form every day about what your child has played with - for me, that goes against the reason I want to use a CM, which is that they are a home style environment - I want them to be relaxed and like an aunt / (Or uncle!) to my child - not filling in forms, constantly analysing their 'play'. But for some that would be something that mattered - its up to you.
Talk through the things they will do to get outside, groups they will take them to - if there are other children, then how will naps happen - again, its personal, do you mind them napping in the buggy - for me, I don't mind as I accept there are other kids involved.....if you want them to get out, they need to be flexible...
trust yourself - and it's a great set up, I love the way childminders work...
My 11mo DS has just started with a childminder and I just went with my gut reaction to her, she's lovely, with him, her own children and the other children she childminds. There have been a few teething problems as she's never taken on a mindee as young as my DS, but she's been brilliant at sorting them out. She is very no nonsense with him, but really kind and he seems to be taking to her. He refused to eat the first couple of times he went, but that seems to be settling down now as well. She emails me photos and videos of him playing happily, and also has a notebook where she writes down when he's napped/what he's eaten etc so I can have a quick look when we get home. She's been graded ofsted 'good' and is massively flexible. I am very pleased with our decision.
There are some suggested questions on the PACEY (was NCMA) website
If you find one who 'feels' right, and you and your child like them, I'd set far more store by that than their paperwork (as long as they provide a written contract and have policies and procedures in place for you to look at) and Ofsted reports.
I've been using the same CM for 8 years
Both my dcs went to her as babies and now they still go to get after school a few days a week.
When I found my CM, it was definitely a good gut instinct. I liked her. I chatted to her very easily. She was warm. Her house was clean but not imaaculate. There was an overflowing toy corner, a book corner, an activity table. She had a file for me to look through showing me photos of her days out with other children - the zoo, the beach, the park etc. All the children were happy, smiling, wearing high via jackets. She gave me the phone numbers of several references to call - which I did.
I can't remember any formal questions I asked her accept to see her ofsted report, which she had ready. It really was mainly on my how I felt. Best decision I ever made
Good luck with it.
I would suggest taking your child when you go to visit.
We were looking for a CM when DS was about 12 months old. The first one we visited spoke to me and DH, and DS sat on our laps and wriggled. The second one we visited spoke to DS first of all, found toys for him and made sure he was happy and entertained before paying us any attention at all.
Guess which one we went with? ...and we couldn't be happier with our choice.
Thank you for so many great replies! I'm taking lots of notes.
The 1st challenge was definitely to find ones with spaces, but I have a couple of visits lined up now so looking forward to seeing how they are. Thanks again for the great advice, feel much more confident now
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