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Childminder help

(31 Posts)
lollipop306 Wed 07-Feb-18 12:38:27

Hi All,

Some of you may have seen my other post in AIBU a few days back.

I am now in a position where I am meeting a childminder tomorrow and I am waiting on a few more calls back.

Given how short notice I need to place the childminder, I don't want to end up choosing the wrong one under pressure (although beggars can't be choosers!!)

What are the main things you look out for (personally - I know Ofsted etc) when choosing a childcare provider? What factors are you considering?

overmydeadbody Wed 07-Feb-18 12:41:09

Accent and grammar

Cleanliness of house and resources for the children

Just the vibe you get off the childminder when you meet them.

When I visited them, I ruled out some straight away, and others I warmed to immediately.

AuntLydia Wed 07-Feb-18 12:47:05

Blimey, I wouldn't have imagined accent would be top of the list!

I'm a childminder myself and apart from the setting itself being clean and well stocked with resources, I would expect parents to want to see all my relevant certificates and paperwork (you'd be surprised how few ask for this), I'd ask what their daily and weekly routine looks like (where they go and what activities they do), what food do they provide? How do they give you information? Make sure you look at copies of their last inspection. Don't be scared to ask for references too if you want. Look for someone open and honest and happy to provide you with as much information as you need.

lollipop306 Wed 07-Feb-18 12:54:17

Thanks @AuntLydia. That's helpful to hear from an actual childminder!

I've made a point of going to see her when she has another child of a simile age to mine too as he is under one.

I'm going to make a list and take it with me, hopefully I'll not come across too horrid! 🙈

jkl0311 Wed 07-Feb-18 13:07:41

Don't rule out a nursery either with an under 2's room. Pros and cons for both type of childcare. Bear in mind in a larger care environment no one is trying to be main care giver and if one member of staff is ill they find another. Speak to your health visitor they can recommend local people and things to bear in mind and point you in the direction of funding help.

AuntLydia Wed 07-Feb-18 13:12:14

No, a good childminder won't think you're horrid at all. I prefer the more thorough parents because I know they understand fully what they're signing up for and there are less likely to be issues that way. I always encourage parents to look through the contract properly too to make sure they fully understand my terms. To be honest, questions will be the same for childminders and nurseries as we are inspected by the same people to the same standards.

overmydeadbody Wed 07-Feb-18 13:17:45

No not top of the list out of priority, just one of the things that's important after all the paperwork etc is checked.

I go through my contact item by item with the parents so they know exactly what they are signing up for and what they pay for.

Ask about things like sleeping arrangements for nap time too.

overmydeadbody Wed 07-Feb-18 13:18:27

I too prefer thorough parents who ask lots of questions. Don't worry!

genehuntswife Wed 07-Feb-18 13:28:18

Accent? It’s a wonder I have any clients at all.
As a childminder I would say it’s all about having a good relationship with you ( the parent) If that works, everything else falls into place.
As for accent, a lot of my little ones come from the other end of the country ( army town) and we love swapping our little coloquialisms, diversity at its best.

overmydeadbody Wed 07-Feb-18 13:36:59

More grammar than accent, if I had a little one, because correct grammar is important to me.

I know not everyone cares. It's just something I would care about.

Accent if they don't have English as their first language, rather than regional accents.

jannier Wed 07-Feb-18 13:38:48

jkl0311
"Don't rule out a nursery either with an under 2's room. Pros and cons for both type of childcare. Bear in mind in a larger care environment no one is trying to be main care giver and if one member of staff is ill they find another. Speak to your health visitor they can recommend local people and things to bear in mind and point you in the direction of funding help."

Most HV's have never seen a childminder and don't know what they do similarly unless they have their own in a nursery setting they don't know the nursery. Ive lost count of the number who don't know that the Ofsted inspections are even carried out for childminders or that often the experience and qualifications are as high as the nursery manager or that they have an equal role in meetings and assessments of children.
Many childminders work with others either directly with assistants or co minders or as part of a network so often their are alternative careers available.
Bonding with one adult carer is better for child development than being handed to one of many (although some parents do struggle with this mistakenly believing it will undermine the parent child bond) which is why there has been an attempt to reduce this by introducing a key worker, however not all and in my experience not the majority, use it as it was intended, to be the person greeting and working closely with the child on a daily basis, instead using it as a paperwork thing being the staff member who takes all observations and puts them together. They also tend to writ up daily diaries but may well not have even been in the room to do a first hand recording.
Nurseries like all settings can be very good but the reasons you suggest as being an advantage are not always relevant.

jkl0311 Wed 07-Feb-18 13:44:20

I looked at what the other kids were doing when I got there, the ratio adult to child, sleeping arrangements, my DD liked 2 naps a day in a cot, will they respect your current routine at home? What different activities do they offer? Will they show you what they have done today via online or in a book? What food do you need to provide? Sick policy/minimum hours? When do they shut/open? Go through each contract with a fine tooth comb. And of course a settling in period is no where near as stressful as you think, we done 3 sessions over 10 days and DD settled in fine. Best decision I ever made! I promise you once your in the swing of it you will be pleased smile

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Wed 07-Feb-18 16:32:43

2 naps a day in a cot? They’d never leave the house!

I think a realistic expectation of what a cm will provide is important. You are bit paying for a nanny who will provide one to one care but a group setting where everyone’s needs are taken in to consideration and all the positives that go with that. If you aren’t a little flexible then you will be disappointed and difficult to work with.

jkl0311 Wed 07-Feb-18 17:06:45

@GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat
At 7 months old most need 2 naps still?! Or do you just make kids power on tired ?!

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Wed 07-Feb-18 17:09:52

Not at all, but napping in a pram so we can take part in outdoor time/groups/soft play/ Park/walks is usually needed and appreciated.

jkl0311 Wed 07-Feb-18 17:14:09

@GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat maybe I was unlucky but can I get DD to sleep in a pram for love nor money past 7 months! Luckily the nursery could offer a cot and was a smooth transition!

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Wed 07-Feb-18 17:36:14

Children and babies usually behave differently in childcare settings and do things they wouldn’t do at home. I have many that sleep in a cot here that have to be fed or cuddled at home for instance. If a parent was insistent that it must be in a cot then it wouldn’t work for be. I have other children to consider to. When your child is older and no longer needing a morning nap you would probably expect them to be taken out and not kept home the whole day waiting for another baby to nap. It’s just the type of settings we are.

And the OP did ask advice about choosing a childminder, not a nursery as you did.

jkl0311 Wed 07-Feb-18 17:41:49

@GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat I know but she should also be considering nursery as the fees are similar but very different settings which suit each case differently.

jkl0311 Wed 07-Feb-18 17:59:48

@jannier I take your points on board and you sound like your well sussed out with sickness and in leave but it is a point to definitely consider if you can’t get care that’s reliable for you to be a reliable employee it can be a nightmare. I can see your point of the key person too however I’ve not found that to be a problem so far. Another point for OP to consider that’s all I was saying, my HV recommended both childminders and nurseries so they aren’t biased but gave level headed advice. although OP said childminder in the subject she goes onto refer to childcare settings so both should be considered.

lollipop306 Wed 07-Feb-18 19:20:26

Mines the total opposite actually!

I can't get him to nap in the cot during the day for love nor money! He only sleeps during the day either in the car or when he's being pushed about in the pram.

I hope this won't be an issue 😳

jkl0311 Wed 07-Feb-18 19:43:41

@lollipop306 I'm sure they will find a way to get LO to nap, they know what they are doing good luck and keep us updated

lollipop306 Wed 07-Feb-18 19:47:10

Thank you!

I will do, I have another lady phoning me in the morning too. Hoping I have a bit of choice rather than being forced into one option smile

Tinseltower Wed 07-Feb-18 21:07:10

Jkl0311 - they nap in a pushchair, sling or car whilst out and about.

jannier Thu 08-Feb-18 13:33:52

jkl0311.....I was just pointing out that your negatives of a childminder and not always or even usually true but a common misconception as is the one some use for older children needing socialisation which childminders have to do to get good and outstanding grading's.

You are lucky in your HV most do not know any settings as they don't professionally come into contact with them much.

Twofishfingers Thu 08-Feb-18 13:41:02

Wow. As a childminder, I use my knowledge of three European languages as an asset to my business and parents love it. It has been a unique selling point as opposed to an obstacle for me. I find it very interesting that someone would reject a good (actually Outstanding) childminder on the basis that he/she has a foreign accent... how strange.

I would also look at the space where children sleep. Can they have a bit of peace if they don't feel like playing with the others or have a rest?

Outdoor space is also very important I think.

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