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Pros and Cons of using a Childminder vs Daycare Nursery(11 Posts)
There are no absolutes here. I have used nurseries largely for practical reasons because the hours and the times they are open during the year are better for me. I didn't want to accommodate a CMs two week holiday at odd times of the year, for example, who is not my employee (and of course perfectly entitled to take holiday when she likes.) The dates the nurseries tend to be closed coincide with my DH's time off as a teacher. The availability and location of CMs in our area also made it not suitable for us personally. These were insurmountable problems for us in our area, but should not be treated as absolutes in terms of the relative value of CMs vs nurseries.
The way the children are looked after does vary from CM to CM and nursery to nursery. I wouldn't say one is inherently better or worse - it will all come down to what's on offer in your area. You need to go and meet individual CMs and let them describe to you how they organise things, as well as the nurseries. Listening to them you will get a feel for which particular arrangement is better for your child. They will get socialisation in both environments, the food mgith be better in one place or the other, poss more outings with the CM but then the nursery might have a bigger outdoor space. It all depends.
Nurseries and cms tend to be pretty much the same price around here.
I would say a child is equally as safe with a cm as with a nursery - individual cms are rigorously checked by ofsted individually, whereas individual nursery workers are not, only by whoever employs them at the nursery.
Both settings legally have to have child protection procedures and CRB, first aid etc.
I get the impression nursery workers are sometimes younger and often do not have their own dcs whereas cms often do it as a way to stay at home with their own dcs, meaning that although nursery workers may be doing it as a career straight from school and therefore will have lots of training, cms will be doing it as a career as an older person so will have different life experience.
Definitely more outings with a CM, find one with a good garden and more outside space too.
Cms are not institutions, it's a home environment where theoretically your dc will be cared for like one of the family.
Nurserys are sometimes open all year round but not always, you do have to sometimes work around cms holidays of course but lots take hardly any, and they all do things differently i.e. some take hols in term time, some in school holidays.
Most people round here pick nursery, but I don't know why as I am biased being a cm and think if only people did a bit more research maybe they would see how nice some cms are (like me!) and not plump for nursery assuming it will be safer somehow.
I use a (fabulous) childminder. My reasons for choosing this were:-
My DD is looked after in a family environment with just 2-3 other children. I went back to work when she was 7 months old, and at that age especially, I really wanted her to be a family-type setting rather than with lots of other children, where (in my head at least) her individual needs might not be catered for so much.
My childminder does the same sorts of things with her as I would do if I were able to be at home - ie various activities at home, but also lots of trips out and about in the local area, toddler groups etc.
DD is able to build a strong relationships with one trusted adult, which in the very early years, I thought was important, rather than lots of different carers.
The hours are more flexible - my childminder comes to pick DD up in the morning at 7:30 - nurseries don't open til 8. She also is happy for me to just use a couple of hours in a day if necessary (I use two days contracted, and parts of a 3rd day when I need to - partly self-employed). Not all childminders may be this flexible, but the local nurseries certainly aren't.
On top of all of this, a childminder is also significantly cheaper around here!
Most people I know use nurseries. The reasons I have heard them give for this are:-
Great facilities and opportunities to interact with lots of other children. With just 1-2 children there may be difficulties if there is a personality clash.
They feel like a nursery is more professional, and a safer environment, as there's always lots of people around. (Personally, I don't worry about this at all as I trust my childminder and she is incredibly professional).
They believe that nursery staff have more training, (though I don't think this is necessarily the case).
I'm probably biased too, as my childminder is fantastic! I think you should go and look at both - you'll know what you feel happiest with for your DS when you see it. Hope this helps.
I looked at CM as I was looking for home-based care for lots of reasons. My first child was one who could sleep happily for hours. I wanted a response to him rather than a strict nursery timetable. Another reason was that as we didn't have any family or know many people in our town, I wanted him to have an extended family through his CM. And another reason was that he went out - to the park, other CMs, day trips, etc. far more than I saw the local nursery do (20 something women looking rather bored pushing double buggies to the park every day).
I didn't find the right one straight off. I didn't like a couple on the phone and didn't follow them up, saw one who was ok and then met mine and knew straight away I'd find the right person!
Four children later... and she has looked after them all. A good choice!
I have used a nursery, a CM, and a combination of the two. Having had my DSs with a good CM I would never go back to a daycare style nursery unless I have no other option. But I am able to be flexible re my CMs holidays, others might find that difficult
A lot of nurseries have young staff and a high turnover. My CM is a mother who has young children herself. My DSs feel like it's one long playdate when they are with her (only 2 days a week).
If I'm running late or need extra prearranged time my CM is usually very flexible. However not all CMs can be - they also have evening activities for their own DC and sometimes need to rush out the door after you collect
A nursery does, however, give DC a chance to mix with a larger group of children over an extended period of time. My DS1 has been going to a community nursery for a few hours a day, and the CM would collect him from there. Best of both worlds. However I pay the CM for the hours that he is at the nursery - fine with the 15 free hours, but not so fine before they turn 3 as you pay twice! Will face that with DS2 soon, but willing to pay twice because I just love both that nursery and the CM.
DS1 absolutely flourished when I moved him to community nursery and CM, and I have no hesitation in doing the same combination with DS2 when he is old enough. (They only take children from 2 1/2 so impatiently waiting!!)
I am a cm and at the moment am only looking after a little girl before and after school due to there being very little work around where I live. I have tried everything to advertise my business but am in competition with quite a few nurseries in the vicinity.
I try to be as flexible as possible, my hours are 7.30 till 6 but I can open at 7 am if needed, if I need to take my ds to football training and the parent is late back I just take her with me then drop her off at home while he is training. We need to be willing but not to be walked all over as well (the last parent I had did just that so I gave a month's notice for her to change her attitude to paying me or find someone else - she lost her job anyway and I lost the stress!)
I would hope I treat the child as I would a member of the family, parents are given policies to read and sign that they will ensure their child behaves in my care and various others at initial meeting. Its important they know your house rules from the start yet at same time feels welcome.
have a look at the different settings and let your heart decide.
our dc are/were in nursery, because of the better hours available. the dc love it there are are balanced little humans. nurseries can provide great care and a nurturing environment.
we looked at both and chose a childminder for 3 days a week he has been going almost 4mths and is very settled now and she has had one 2wk hol and we managed that with our own annual leave not a huge issue really and certainly manageable.
I am now increasing to 4 days and we have chosen a local nursery for that 4th day just for some variation for our now almost 13mth old.
Even when I went with him on monday for 1hr settling in with me staying (he has some more sessions before he starts on his own) I knew one day a week will be plenty in nursery I liked it and he seemed to but def not for 4 days a week too many children in one place for my liking! Childminder just works for us at this moment in time.
Childminder, but do your research and follow your gut feeling. A bad childminder is worse than a bad nursery IMO, but then I have heard some horror stories recently about nurseries (nappies not being changed all day etc).
Childminders tend to be older and more experienced. The children are cared for in multi age groups (which helps socialisation) and the groups are smaller (albeit the staff ratio at nursery will be the same, but often key workers "float").
For us it was worth the hassle of covering the CMs holidays (and it was often a hassle) and she gave my daughter a home environment and sibling type relationships with her two kids and the other mindees. She had a good ofsted and was easy to deal with. My daughter had/ has a lasting bond with her. It was the best decision we ever made.
I am a hugely vocal supporter of CMs, there is a raft of paperwork that they need to do and they work for very little reward. They are great
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