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First settling visit with childminder, a dog and serious misgivings!

(20 Posts)
MumOfEmily Fri 17-Sep-10 08:47:28

Hi,

I'm feeling really miserable today after taking my 10 month old DD for her first visit to settle her in with her childminder yesterday.

After going round a lot of nurseries and meeting a few childminders, we decided that we like the idea of a childminder better - more homely, DD gets to know just one carer, etc. We decided on the current one because she is very warm and friendly, the children she looks after seemed happy and it felt like a home from home.

HOWEVER, when I got there yesterday, I was greeted at the door by a very boisterous dog. Apparently, it is her son's dog and she looks after the dog during the day whilst he is at work. When I met with her initially, she definitely did not mention this and the dog has never been there before! In fact, what she said that was that she and the children sometimes go round to the son's house during the day and take the dog for a walk. I was fine with this but I don't feel at all happy with the dog being in her house all the time.

Trouble is, the dog was leaping all over the place, jumping up, jumping on the furniture. He came up and licked my daughter's face about 10 times. I worry that the dog might injure my little girl and felt unhappy about leaving her on the floor with him around. Also, the childminder didn't seem to be making any effort to closely supervise the dog or keep him separate from the children. I thought you weren't meant to trust dogs with young children - especially if it's not your dog or your children? He is a large dog - boxer/collie cross I think she said.

Also, when I got back from leaving her for an hour, my DD was playing with a box of unsuitable toys (cars with small removable parts). Arrrgh - what a nightmare! Instead of feeling reassured by the visit, I literally had a sleepless night last night worrying about it all.

Help - what do I do now? I feel slightly deceived and concerned that the cm didn't think to mention the dog before and don't feel happy leaving my DD there any more. I'm starting to wonder if I should pull out of this arrangement and take DD to the local nursery instead. At least I'll feel that she's safe there. There are very few local cms available and we have already eliminated all the others for one reason or another.

I would be really grateful for any second opinions - am I just being an over-sensitive mother? Are there any guidelines that cms are supposed to follow with regard to dogs and children?

BoysAreLikeDogs Fri 17-Sep-10 08:56:45

a big fat no-no from me

the dog should be boxed/locked away and she should have paperwork showing how she keeps the children safe from the dog - a policy and/or risk assessment

children can learn lots from being around pets but the fact that she never mentioned this is enough for me to say I would pull out, without even going into why the toys for older children should be not available for babies to play with

PS I am a CM myself

Fuchzia Fri 17-Sep-10 09:03:48

I'm not aware of any rules. I did look at a CM who had a dog but it was mentioned on her inspection report. I should think Ofstead should know about any pets she has in her home, what does the report say?

I loved the CM I saw but in the end I decided I couldn't leave DS there. I know dogs and young children can get on fine and this one had been very used to children but I was waking up in a cold sweat every night thinking about what could happen.

If you are not comfortable with the situation then you should think about other options.

Fuchzia Fri 17-Sep-10 09:08:09

Also I think I would have been more worried with a dog that was not allowed to interact with the children. It might mean it develops jelousy towards them.

looneytune Fri 17-Sep-10 09:17:08

Another childminder here saying NO NO NO.

1) You should have been told
2) If it's always there in the day, Ofsted should be aware
3) She should have a pet policy which details how she will keep the children safe (and she's certainly not doing that if it managed to lick your child ONCE on the face, let alone 10 times!)
4) The fact she's not even worried about it says a lot

I wouldn't let it put you off childminders, however, if you have ruled out the others locally then I agree that putting her in nursery sounds the way to go. What a shame, I don't understand childminders who take this approach. I have CM friends with dogs but they are so good about no contact or controlled contact. I'm a big fan of pets but not with your CMs attitude, honestly, your DD is far too young to be left around a big energetic dog like that one.

Poor you

Booh Fri 17-Sep-10 09:37:09

I am another dog loving childminder, but its a big no no from me.

Totally agree with looneytune I am afraid. The dog licking the face would be a big no no from me first off, as for the cars and tiny parts another no no

Are there anymore childminders locally? Could anyone on here know of anyone that can help you?

Andd always go with what you think is right for your child - your gut feeling counts for a lot

MumOfEmily Fri 17-Sep-10 09:54:01

Thanks you so much for your comments. It's great to hear from some childminders too and reassuring that my gut instincts about this situation should be trusted!

I've already looked through the list of childminders on the directgov website and there are no more local ones to try. I was particularly keen on someone quite local who could take DD to preschool eventually. Is there anywhere else I could look for childminders? I'd still love to use a childminder in principle - but you seem to be in short supply!

Thanks.

looneytune Fri 17-Sep-10 09:59:56

There are LOTS of childminders round here who are not listed on that website (either because they don't want their full address listed, problems with the site, not wanting to be on the internet full stop). There is a telephone number on there which will put you in touch with your local Family Information Service and they'll be able to email you a full list of minders and if you're really struggling, tell them and they may send a bulk email to local childminders for you (our local FIS does anyway).

Good luck

MumOfEmily Fri 17-Sep-10 10:05:04

Ooh - thanks looneytune. I will do that - maybe there are some more out there that I don't know about! Fingers crossed.

Now I just have to get in touch with this childminder and tell her why I'm not happy. Not looking forward to that. I think that there are no strings attached at this point though as we're still in the settling-in period.

bluecardi Fri 17-Sep-10 10:07:20

Not a good idea to have a dog around & toys with choking hazards. Would report this.

looneytune Fri 17-Sep-10 10:07:31

Quite often there is a 4 week settling in period (if you have an NCMA contract it will be shown at the bottom of page 1). If this is written into your contract then basically you can call her and say you're not coming back and you'll only owe for the care you've received. Good luck

MumOfEmily Fri 17-Sep-10 10:09:48

Yes, I think you're right looneytune. It is an NCMA contract - she has not given me back my copy yet though so haven't got it to hand to check!

Booh Fri 17-Sep-10 13:33:22

I am another childminder who isn't on the government list - as they kept getting the info on there so wrong!!!

RosieGirl Fri 17-Sep-10 13:56:17

Sorry to hijack - booh I also got really fed up with not being on the Direct-gov list and contacted my FIS who got me on within 2 days. I waived my right to have my name and address published and it went straight on.

RosieGirl Fri 17-Sep-10 13:58:15

MOE - awful situation, find someone else, she should have been upfront from the beginning, the bit about going around her sons house during the day also rings alarm bells, does she take them into his house - is it childproofed - safe??

Far too much to worry about.

Booh Fri 17-Sep-10 14:05:30

Hi Rosiegirl - I was sick of them never getting my details right.......silly things like number of vacancies incorrect, which schools I collected from etc....so I gave up! Have never got any work from there anyway its always been word of mouth!

stomp Fri 17-Sep-10 14:29:31

That is bad, she should have mentioned the dog. Also you should have a copy of your contract as soon as you’ve signed it, but most do have a settling in period (between 2 -4 weeks usually) when either party can cancel the agreement without notice- so just call her up and say you will not be back. If you paid a deposit or fee in advance it will depend on how the contract is worded as to whether you get any money back. Hope you find good childcare very soon.

Ripeberry Fri 17-Sep-10 14:33:49

A good site to try is www.childcare.co.uk, lots of CMs have their own websites so you can 'take a peek' before meeting them.

Most CMs I know don't even bother with the FIS site as it's rubbish.

Danthe4th Fri 17-Sep-10 17:06:09

Agree with all the above comments, just wondered if you have a children centre near you as they sometimes run childminder drop ins and you would be more than welcome to call by and speak to a few or put up an advert.
The children centre usually have a list of local minders as well.
In many areas there is a network and they can ask around for you for spaces, again you could try the children centre.

squiby2004 Fri 17-Sep-10 17:08:57

err no no no! I am a CM with a boxer dog, she is lovely however she spends her day in the kitchen with a gate across the door way to stop her getting out and mindees getting in. In addition I regularly risk assess the situation and make any necessary changes to ensure it stays as it is ie the dog and the children don't mix with each other. What you describe sounds like a recipe for disaster!!

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