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Would you be interested in this childcare arrangement, or IABU?

(27 Posts)
ThatWomanAgain Tue 23-Aug-11 11:03:09

Another thread got me thinking re teachers and childcare.

Not an issue yet, but I have a friend who works until 2pm and then can pick children up. My child and hers are friends and my child is pretty good in that he's easy going and not prone to wrecking things. Quite independent (just luck there tbh!).

Would it be unreasonable to propose this:

She collects my son from school at least a few days a week.
BUT, I know she's always stuck in the holidays for childcare as she only gets 4 weeks holiday. I am more than happy to have her dc in the holidays until 2pm for the same number of days a week, e.g. she has my dc 3 days after school, I take hers 3 days in the holidays. If she wants 5 days I'm ok with that, I have a big garden and a car than can carry all the children and I like her children. I think she'd go for 4 days. I'm used to many children at once, either jobs or family members being dumped round. It could save me loads obviously in childcare and it could mean for her she could plan holidays as she wants them, so she could be off at the same time as her dh rather than separately and using a few weeks unpaid each too.

Would you be interested in this idea? Or is it putting someone in an awkward position asking this? I have seen her struggling this holiday, I've had the children round with her a lot but not on their own though I've told her to nap on the sofa while I watch them. In previous years she's relied on her mum a lot, who is less able to step in now.

whoneedssleepanyway Tue 23-Aug-11 11:06:28

I think this is a good idea.

I have agreed with another mum (who also works part time like me but different days) that I will do the school run on one day she works and I am off and have her DC after school and she will do the same for me on another day and then in holidays she will have DD1 one of the days and I will have her DD in return on another day.

Like you say keeps the childcare costs down.

StrangeTown Tue 23-Aug-11 11:07:34

Yes, just ask. She can always say no. Tell her not to give you an immediate answer. She needs to think about it. And if she doesn't want to she has time to think of an excuse.

saadia Tue 23-Aug-11 11:07:42

I think it is definitely worth suggesting, in an "I have an idea, what do you think of it?" way, but you might have to work out the difference between number of school days and number of holiday days and find a way to balance that.

ShoutyHamster Tue 23-Aug-11 11:11:51

Yes, good idea. Give her time to think about it and make the point that you won't be at all offended if she turns it down! - something along the lines of 'Of course a formal arrangement might just not be the kind of thing you feel comfy with - if so absolutely fine' - just to say you'll understand if she just doesn't fancy it, she doesn't have to make up a 'reason'.

pozzled Tue 23-Aug-11 11:11:59

Sounds like a good idea to me, certainly worth suggesting, she can only say no.

wonderstuff Tue 23-Aug-11 11:12:55

I am going to try for a similar arrangement when mine start school - I would definitely ask I would go for a 'don't give me an answer now, don't worry about saying no, but how would you feel about...' approach.

sunshineandbooks Tue 23-Aug-11 11:17:41

As someone 100% reliant on professional childcare I think this is a great idea. I think this sort of arrangement builds communities and is a win-win situation for everyone. I dream of this kind of set-up and hope that once my DC start school I may find other parents I can develop my own arrangement with.

My only word of caution would be to make sure that she parents in a similar style to you. This won't work if you have radically different approaches.

worraliberty Tue 23-Aug-11 11:20:53

How old are all the kids involved?

Gonzo33 Tue 23-Aug-11 11:20:55

I would definately be open to that suggestion if I was the other Mum. Worth approaching in a "I had this thought, what do you think" manner

BranchingOut Tue 23-Aug-11 11:21:55

Worth suggesting - although I think it only works when it is truly reciprocal.

A friend entered into a similar arrangement but then she became a SAHM but kept looking after the other friend's DC for a nominal fee - worked fine for a while but gradually things have become rather strained and she now feels very underpaid/undervalued.

Takitezee Tue 23-Aug-11 11:43:33

It is a good idea and lots of people benefit from it but it's also illegal. If you do it then keep it as quiet as possible.

JsOtherHalf Tue 23-Aug-11 12:20:49

Takitezee, it is not illegal as long as no payment is involved. Ofsted have a fact sheets with new interpretation of laws published in March.

www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/factsheet-childcare-childminding-between-friends

Takitezee Tue 23-Aug-11 12:37:18

Thanks JsOtherHalf, I didn't realise that. It'll make a lot of people's lives easier.

Smellslikecatpee Tue 23-Aug-11 12:47:07

Sounds ok, but I would say now make it very clear what happens when there is illness be it You/ your DC/Her/her DC and how that will be handled

porcamiseria Tue 23-Aug-11 13:40:55

yes to make to fair hours should be EXACTLY the same

and suggest you have an informal agreement to cover every possible scenario, be professional abut it, honestly as long as its 50/50 and you have every scenario covered should be OK

and FFDS since when is friend looking after kids illegal, ANNOYED!!!!!

toniguy Tue 23-Aug-11 15:52:54

I think you've been given good advice here about suggesting it but with a 'think it over first' clause. And the other thing which would be very sensible is to agree on a regular review, so that if the situation changes for either of you, you aren't feeling tied into something which might go on for years. Something like a 3 month notice period if either of you want to back out makes sense. It all' sounds great in theory, but you never totally know til you start something like this how it will pan out in reality, and it would be a big stress all round if one of you isn't happy but feels obliged to stick with it

Silverstar2 Tue 23-Aug-11 16:11:34

I would be very very careful with this - I had a similar arrangements years ago when my dd was small, and the other person just changed her mind and left me with no childcare at very short notice, and she was a good friend (was being the word). I had to quit my job because I couldn't find childcare fast enough, then waited til dd (and ds by then) were both at school to start work again.

I know it is hard, but I would prefer to pay for official childcare - then you have a say in what goes on and there is no awkwardness. Things between friend is ALWAYS difficult ime and I wouldn't go there again.

Hope you can find a solution.

lazarusb Tue 23-Aug-11 18:59:22

Good luck if you can make this work for you both. I had a reciprocal arrangement with a friend. She then increased her hours at work so she couldn't have mine anymore but I have spent the last 7 years continuing to pick up both of hers, including emergencies & holiday care. When I wanted to change one day because it was my birthday she refused! shock Just be very clear what you both agree to.

ChippingIn Tue 23-Aug-11 19:03:25

It could work out brilliantly - but if you ask her and she would like to, there are a lot of things you need to consider - it's much more complicated than it seems at first, but we'd all help you smile

toniguy Tue 23-Aug-11 19:24:22

Op it sounds like you're a teacher or doing some term time job if you're going to be around in the holidays. I agree it all could work well, but I think the most important thing is to protect yourselves by agreeing that you will review, say every 3 months and either of you can back out (with reasonable notice) if its not working out for any reason. You may find that the reality of caring for other children in your school holidays is actually more of a pain than you envisage. It will only work if there is an equal balance in terms of hours and also you need to think about the temperament of the kids. Tbh some kids are harder work than others, and this could be a potential issue. I know the cost of childcare can seem high but don't be tempted to put up with unsatisfactory arrangements just to cut them. IMO money on professional care is Money well spent because the arrangement is formalised and reliable. So while i agree that there is no harm in raising it, you need to think through all the possible outcomes. You may find that you value your time off just with your own child more than you realise, and wouldn't want to trade it for free childcare. Just a thought

BsshBossh Tue 23-Aug-11 20:10:08

Sounds like a good idea, just bring it up informally eg "Hey, what do you think about this? We could try it for a few months, until after half term, and see how it goes."

redwineformethanks Tue 23-Aug-11 20:13:48

If you do go for this, I'd suggest you agree to review it after a period of time (6months?) and even if you think it's going brilliantly, be prepared for her not feeling the same

Grumpla Tue 23-Aug-11 20:17:45

I think it sounds like a great idea. But you will need to build in some understanding of the fact that there are more 'school' weeks than 'holiday' weeks, but that covering a full day is more than pickup till teatime, and make it fair e.g.
roughly work out the actual hours involved. Otherwise one or the other of you could end up feeling like you are doing more than the other.

Agree that regular reviews is a good idea - but maybe also agree a 'notice period' so neither of you gets dropped on your bum without childcare if it doesn't work out.

Nagoo Tue 23-Aug-11 20:18:00

I notice you are thinking this up at the end of the holidays grin

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