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Starting to think Im really not cut out for childminding

(24 Posts)
Quasimojo Fri 22-Jul-11 20:39:57

I have been doing it 6 months and just find it so stressful all the time.
I have only 2 charges, 14 months and 3. Two DCs of my own, one of whom is at home mostly (also 3) one of 5.
The baby has no routine in that I never know if she will need morning or afternoon nap. She will not sleep anywhere but cot (ever!) and is permanently tired and grizzly. I find it very hard to plan my days therefore.
Elder girl pushes my buttons. She is defiant to extremes, but in a quietly smiley sort of way. drives me mad. today at soft play i asked her not to throw the ball pit balls at me. She carried on so eventaully I timed her out for 3 mins. About 5 mins after that she sat next to me and threw a ball hard in my face. Smiling all the time.
I could carry on decribing the 'quietly defiant' things she does every day.

I hate it so it cant be right surely. Is it just the children I have at the mo not working out for me, or is the job?

LemonDifficult Fri 22-Jul-11 20:42:38

What did you do before, and why did you choose CMing?

TheBreastmilksOnMe Fri 22-Jul-11 20:48:19

Op- I used to childmind and I felt constantly stressed and just hated it. I thought I'd love it but it took a while to admit to myself that I just wasn't cut out to be a childminder. I have quit now after 3 years and TBH I feel much better about my decision.

It is very stressful caring for other peoples children and if you get a baby who doesn't sleep and a toddler who is hard work you need the patience of a saint to get through the day. I would really evaluate my feelings if I were you as it's not fair on the children you are minding if you hate the job, or you, or your own children.

6mths is a good go at a job and if this is how you have been feeling for the majority of it then maybe it's not for you.

Quasimojo Fri 22-Jul-11 20:48:36

I am at home with my own DCs. Used to be a teacher and love children. It seemes to fit. So dont understand why Im finding it so hard.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Fri 22-Jul-11 20:53:12

Is it just these particular children, do you think you may feel happier with 'easier' children? If yes, then it's going to be hard in the future for you because you cannot really pick and choose which mindees you have, and not even the best behaved child will be an angel all of the time. Part of being a CMer is tailoring your care to bring out the best in each child.

Why did are you no longer teaching?

Quasimojo Fri 22-Jul-11 20:57:45

Thats what Im wondering TBMOM.

No longer teaching due to DCs. Tho did used to find that quite stressful too (tho not as much as this!!)

nbee84 Fri 22-Jul-11 20:58:03

Sometimes it does depend on the children you look after as to how you feel about work.

I've been a nanny for over 20 years and one of the reasons I do this job is because I enjoy children. I'm currently looking after a 3 year old who challenges everything and this makes it very hard to enjoy doing anything with him. If this had been my first job I would be wondering whether it was the right job for me - however because of my experience I do realise that with time and a bit of hard work things will improve.

6 Months is quite a time with no improvement - I would have thought that you may have been able to set up a routine for the baby and maybe sort out some behaviour issues with the older one. This is something that needs to be done in conjunction with the parents, it rarely works properly without parental back up - have you had a chat with them about how these things could be tackled?

curlyredhair Fri 22-Jul-11 21:02:08

What do you do on an average day, is there a chance the children may be bored? Are there issues in their homelife that the 5 year old is behaving like this? The baby, if she sleeps, how come you're not putting her down for a nap after lunch and getting a break and time to play with the other children?

Quasimojo Fri 22-Jul-11 21:03:21

Mum is managing pretty much single handed and is incredibly stressed. She has been here in tears about both DCs at various points. She cant advise me because she doenst seem to know what to do herself. Baby just carries on being grizzly, other child comes and goes with the behavioural issues. Was compeltely unbearable for mum and me a while back but a bit calmer now. I have tried to offer advice, told her how I try to handle things, asked what she does, she is very very unsure of herself.

Quasimojo Fri 22-Jul-11 21:05:47

curlyred - the problem is that I never know if baby will sleep am or pm. I plan to go out am but then she is tired and cries all morning. Or I try to put her down am but she resists and by the time its clear it isnt going to happen then its often a bit late to head out ( I have lunchtime pick up to do)

TheBreastmilksOnMe Fri 22-Jul-11 21:29:01

It does sound like you have a couple of difficult children so maybe you can try to come up with a plan of action with mum, sit down and chat and work out a plan. You both meed to work out the issues and how you are going to manage them and she needs to agree to implement the same techniques that you do. There is also a course called 'the incredible years' that is for parents who are struggling with their childrens behaviour issues. She might find this useful?

As for practical solutions- Won't the baby sleep in a buggy when you are out and about? How about using a sling, maybe she would prefer being next to you? She might just be a grumpy baby! Being consistent with the older child and using a time-out after a warning might help? Lots of positive praise for the good behaviour, but I'm sure you know all this already.

The thing is, I feel a large part of it is down to the way you're feeling. Even the most angelic child will feel like hard work if you're not enjoying the job. Trust me, I've been there.

Another option would be to terminate the contract but that doesn't guarantee that you will get mindees that are 'easier' next time, or that you will start enjoying it.

Working with children is stressful, as you well know, but is it the sort of stress you can manage or is it getting on top of you and getting you down day-to-day? It might be time to find a different career path?

LesbianMummy1 Sat 23-Jul-11 08:26:23

Quasimojo I have designed some leaflets for parents I child mind for about behaviour management etc do you want me to forward them on to you. You could adapt them for your parent

HSMM Sat 23-Jul-11 09:53:00

I have been minding for 12 yrs now and I have to say the the first few children I had were little angels. I may not have carried on if I had challenging children as the first ones. Now I quite enjoy the challenging children, because they are more interesting and make more visible progress. Generally I find, the busier I keep them, the easier they are. I look after a boy who seemed to grizzle all the time as a baby, but now when I look at his happy smiling 7 yr old face, I know I must have done something right.

Some babies are better at routines than others, but maybe the little one you are minding who start to adapt to a routine where there is a morning of activities (with a buggy to rest in if she does get really tired) and a quieter afternoon. I have sat with a sleeping child on my lap at toddlers, while the older children get on with playing. They can still come and see me if they need me (and there are other adults to support you).

Have you met any other local childminders ... maybe you could do some activities together?

If none of this sounds right to you, then maybe you are not going to enjoy childminding.

HSMM Sat 23-Jul-11 09:55:42

An alternative could be 11+ coaching, with your teaching background? Or early maths/english skills for children struggling in infants? Or GCSE tuition, if you were at Secondary?

Alternatively just run before/after school and school holidays for the Primary School children?

sandym3g Sat 23-Jul-11 10:25:33

I'm not being flippant here but maybe she was throwing the ball in your face to get your attention? Have you tryied distraction methods? In this case with the balls you could start throwing the balls to a different object. Maybe seeing if you can knock something over or something. Often when they see something that looks like it might be fun they copy. Ignoring bad behaviour and praising good. My husband Juggles and a little 2 year old we look after has started to try to 'copy' by holding the balls one in each hand and waves his little arms about lol.

boombangabang Sat 23-Jul-11 13:30:48

They sound awful. I have been minding for nearly a year, the first 2 mindees have been lovely - well I thought they were quite challenging but now I realise how lovely they are compared with the next 2.

I have a 9 month old who screams and wriggles to be put down, then screams and cries and grabs hold of your legs to be picked up the second she is down. And this noise she makes is like nothing I have heard, it makes my ears ring. I can't get anything done at all except when she is in the sling, and even then cooking is a no-no as it's a front sling and she grabs hold of everything.

Then I have a four- year old who won't potty train and needs cajoling into doing the littlest thing, so takes up all the time away from the others. On the day I have both these together i barely see the lovely ones, and if i had gotten these two first i would probly have given up in a matter of weeks.

Also used to be a teacher by the way, but I still find cming less stressful even taking these kids into account...

CrazyBabies Sat 23-Jul-11 19:13:13

Hi there, I too used to be a teacher, I decided to childmind when ds3 was a baby. I have minded quite a few children and they vary from being delighful to really hard work.
Luckily my first 3 were pretty much ok. I looked after a little girl whose mum was only 18 when she first started, and she is the most delighful little thing. Some days I had her for 11 hours. Now I couldn't have worked such a long day with any other mindee. Her mum is amazing!
At the moment I look after an 18 month old who drives me bonkers!
He really knows how to push my buttons. But I see it as a phase - it wont stay like this for ever. He does have a really sweet side too and I am always trying different things to see what works and what doesn't.
I think you should plod on for a bit. My friends first mindee was really hard work and would even bite her and other children etc. But she now looks after a really placid little boy.
I just think you haven't been very lucky and with time will have easier mindees.
Please don't give up smile

leeloo1 Sun 24-Jul-11 18:36:34

Another ex-teacher, now CM here. smile When you were training to be a teacher were you told to assume that your classroom may well be the only consistent thing and your behaviour the only consistent behaviour in the children's lives?

I think this is even more true for CMing, as the children are (generally) younger and less able to make sense of whats going on around them. The children I have most trouble with behaviourally tend to be the ones who have the less stable home lives and it sounds like this is definitely true with your mindees. The 3 year old may well want attention and know that with her mum she gets attention for bad behaviour, so she's trying it on with you too. Try consciously deciding to give time outs/ignore bad behaviour and give loads of praise (or stickers) - hard when you feel ground down by it all, but usually pays dividends.

If I was you I'd also decide that next week is a new week and come hell or high water you will be going out every morning. Even if the baby is tired, at 14 months she should be moving towards a longer afternoon nap and will benefit from consistency (tell the mum you'll be doing this and ask her to do the same - if she isn't setting boundaries and establishing a routine then you need to do so). Then you'll feel better for getting out of the house, you'll be able to better prepare the two 3 year olds for what will happen that day and the baby will be distracted by being out and ready for a nice long nap after lunch! smile

Good luck with it!

leeloo1 Sun 24-Jul-11 18:37:52

edit: 'give loads of praise (or stickers)' for good behaviour

HSMM Sun 24-Jul-11 18:56:01

I agree with Leeloo1 - I have had to do the new week/new start approach with a difficult child before and it does help to feel you are starting fresh, with a plan in your head.

HSMM Sun 24-Jul-11 18:56:25

I agreed with all the other stuff Leeloo1 said too smile

Quasimojo Sun 24-Jul-11 20:25:35

Thanks for replies and sorry for absence - been away this weekend.

yes mum and 3 year old do seem to have issues. At pick up all hell breaks loose normally.

I have tried to discuss with mum, and ostensibly mum really wants to be helped, she is always, always coming to me for advice...yet she doesnt stick to it. we agreed a while back to start working towards a lunchtime nap, yet she is still putting baby down am because 'at the moment its works better for me'. Its hard to just carry on mornings regardless because she (baby) works herself in to a state ..and if we miss the am nap she then has to wait til after 1 because of pre-school pick up. Then if she protests at that too because she is over tired, it all goes horribly wrong since we headout again before 3 for school pick up. Its horrible!! She has started breath holding lately until she is unconscious, just to add to the fun.


leeloo1 Sun 24-Jul-11 23:39:10

Thanks HSMM, its nice to be agreed with! smile

Quasimojo, it does sound horribly frustrating - especially the breath holding shock - very scary. Having to do school pick ups must add to the stress of it all too.

Perhaps you could work on the baby sleeping in the buggy then? Would she not do it with familiar objects/ milk as she goes down/ blanket that smells of home? etc etc - think of anything that might work. Then you won't be stressed out if she falls asleep at 2 as you know you can take her out in the buggy at pick up time? It may give you a hard week or two whilst you break the habit of only napping in the cot, but it can be done - eventually with reassurance she will fall asleep and having done it once it'll get easier. If she's permanently tired and grizzly then it doesn't sound like she's napping enough anyway. Poor baby. sad

At the end of the day though you've found you can't change the mum, you might be able to modify the children's behaviour (especially if they're with you 3+ or more days pw), but you can only really change (or try to change) your own attitude to it all. If after trying to have a fresh start then its still all too much then (if there are enough enquiries in your area) give notice and get new mindees. Most of them are not at all this challenging.

thebody Tue 26-Jul-11 21:27:06

quazi... so sorry for you.. totally give notice.. cming isnt for you ( it may be when your own dcs are older but not now)and these kids sound very difficult.. take it from me if parents arent on board you may as well give up...

anything has to be better than how you feel about these children and it isnt fair to them.. or you..

best of luck..

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