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Childminder leaving 10 mth old to cry in high chair

(25 Posts)
jollijojo Sun 18-Sep-11 06:40:36

I'm in the difficult process of deciding on a childminder to look after my baby when I return to work - when she will be 10/11 mths. While I was a visiting a childminder who recently got an 'outstanding' report form Ofsted, I noticed that she left another child (about 10 mths old) to cry in the highchair. Up to that point, I was very impressed with her and she clearly was very organised, flexible, accommodating and impressive. It was this baby's 2nd week with her and he had just woken from a nap. She said that he had not slept long enough and that he was still tired. At first she had him on her lap and he seemed fairly happy. Then she strapped him in his highchair, gave him a bottle, then a toy to play with - while we were having our conversation - but kept him strapped in the high chair. Just before I left, I put my baby into her pushchair, but quickly went out into the garden to have a look outside. The other child started crying, but was left there. My baby also started crying, but the childminder just kept talking about her garden, even when I said I needed to check on my baby (being aware that it was a strange environment and she was suddenly left on her own). When we got back into the kitchen she still kept talking to me, going through her folders etc, not comforting the child in the highchair. She spoke to him, but only said 'I know you're tired, you should have slept longer'. She then walked me to the door, leaving the child crying in the kitchen, still strapped in the highchair.
Am I being too sensitive about this? I kept thinking that could be my child in a few months... Should I just discuss this with her, or rule her out straight away?
Is it reasonable to expect a childminder to pick a child up who seems distressed, even when she knows that the child may be tired?
How would I know that a childminder has the capacity and the willingness to cuddle and comfort a tired baby who may still be in a settling-in period?
What questions do you ask and what do you look out for when you visit potential childminders to determine their ability to nurture?
Is it unreasonable to expect a childminder to put a child first and not worry about a visiting parent?
So far, from the childminders I've seen, it seems as if the focus is on activities and paperwork, rather than what they offer emotionally (especially to young children).

coccyx Sun 18-Sep-11 06:48:37

She sounds awful. poor child should have been put in cot to sleep .
If she thinks thats ok when she has a parent with her, what is she like when no one is there!
Would you really be able to settle if she did that to your child, I wouldn't

Gincognito Sun 18-Sep-11 06:51:35

It depends on your attitude to crying, I think. I still respond as quickly as possible to my 10 mo's tears. I would not be leaving him there. You need to be comfortable that she will be looking after your child the way you see appropriate.

DecapitatedLegoman Sun 18-Sep-11 06:56:18

The fact that you're posting means she's not right for you. She wouldn't be right for me either. Keep looking.

HSMM Sun 18-Sep-11 06:57:30

Doesn't sound too good to me. If you are still undecided, go back again. She might have known that the child would not settle while you were there and cuddled him and put him to sleep as soon as you left. Still sounds like she should have at least tried to soothe him while you were there though.

RitaMorgan Sun 18-Sep-11 06:58:33

You'll know the right childminder when you meet her - if this one made you feel uncomfortable rule her out, it's not worth wasting your time on.

HSMM Sun 18-Sep-11 06:59:09

And I always tell people to use their instincts when choosing Childcare and I think you know what yours is telling you

PaulaMummyKnowsBest Sun 18-Sep-11 09:49:25

trust your insticts, they will be right vitually every time.

I am a childminder but I wouldn't be able to leave a child crying, particularly sucha young one.

Good luck with your search, as others have said, you'll know when you find the right one.

OnEdge Sun 18-Sep-11 09:56:06

Agree with Paula, trust your instincts.

apotomak Sun 18-Sep-11 13:17:24

She shouldn't leave the child crying that long. The child should always come first over any visitors. However I must say I never show any folders to prospective parents while I'm on duty. I stress that this is just a short visit of maximum 10 minutes and if they want to see more they can come once children have left and my husband is present to look after my 3 little devils.

ChippingIn Sun 18-Sep-11 13:22:28

How the hell did she expect him to settle strapped into a high chair?

I could have understood it if he'd just been put down for a sleep in a cot and generally grizzled himself to sleep - but not having just woken up and been plonked in a high chair.

No way I'd be leaving my kids with her!

Rosa Sun 18-Sep-11 13:24:37

Leaving a child unattended in a high chair ....I would keep on looking and tell her why you will not be choosing her...

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 18-Sep-11 16:54:28

def dont use her

trust your instincts

squinker45 Sun 18-Sep-11 18:30:15

I know an Outstanding who is a totally cold fish too, don't go with her if that's what she's like

Rosiegirl Sun 18-Sep-11 20:13:35

I think this goes to show that just because someone got an outstanding, doesn't mean they are perfect. Look at all local child-carers, try and get personal recommendations. I happily (with parents permission) give prospective parents contact details of past or present parents, so they can chat freely. I am not against outstanding (I have 2 of my own grin) but I had to tell my SIL to stop just looking for outstanding child-carers for her own children, as she felt if they weren't outstanding, they weren't good enough. I know lots of other childminders who are brilliant with children, who didn't get an outstanding. It can be as simple that an inspector is having a really bad week, we all know of those who walk in the door stating "I rarely give outstandings"

As the others have said, go more with your gut feelings, one of my parents recently said they picked me mainly because when they visited me I was minding a little boy who was being very difficult, and they loved how I dealt with it.

You also mentioned about other childminders being focused on paperwork. It can be quite difficult at first as there does seem to be quite of a lot of paperwork, but if it is all done at the beginning, you will know exactly where you stand on a professional basis which is very important.

I always give parents a 4 week period in which either party can cancel without any notice period if they are unhappy in any way, this then gives some time after all the formalities to ensure you are happy for the long term.

jollijojo Sun 18-Sep-11 20:37:00

Thank you all for the contributions. Yes, my gut feeling said 'stay well clear'! But it makes me nervous about visiting other childminders, as I was maybe just 'lucky' to have seen this while I was there. How would a parent know after just one or maybe two visits...? I'm definitely asking to speak to past and present parents - I guess in the end it will be happy children who will be the true testimony.

clothesoverbros Sun 18-Sep-11 21:47:58

I think you do just 'know'. I went to see a couple of nurseries, and three childminders. There was one who on paper seemed the better option.

But something didn't feel right, can't really say why.

The CM we chose, I just felt completely comfortable with straightaway. And it was partly that she told me times for visits that fitted into their existing routine [so not putting a prospective parent/child ahead of an existing one] and I was lucky to be there to see her tell one of her charges off. She didn't try to brush over it, or pretend it wasn't an issue. She calmly told him off, and he listened and said sorry and stopped misbehaving. It gave me confidence that the children listened to her.

DD is very happy there, and I have never had a second's concern about leaving her there.

Go with your gut.

emsyj Sun 18-Sep-11 21:55:44

We chose our childminder after a recommendation from a close friend. She lives in a really inconvenient location and is more expensive than the nursery that is just down the road, but when we walked into her house we just felt it was right. She immediately took an interest in DD (whereas at the nursery not one single member of staff asked her name, spoke to her or showed any interest at all) and picked her up and sat her on her knee. Then some of the other children (she has quite a few as she employs helpers too, all of whom are lovely) came up and climbed onto the sofa and were asking about DD and talking to her, putting their arms around CM's neck etc and clambering around and they all seemed so 'at home' and happy we knew DD would be safe and happy there.

Sorry, but I think you do just 'know', and if you are not 101% happy to leave your child there then you will be anxious the whole time. We saw the nursery before we saw the childminder and we felt so gloomy about the whole childcare issue we discussed me not returning to work - but we saw the childminder a week later and it was so different I can't tell you. Like night and day. Just go and see some more places, you might be surprised.

ChippingIn Tue 20-Sep-11 00:11:29

I agree with not only considering CM's with 'outstanding' Ofsted reports. It's a bit of a crock. It depends on so many factors and some which as a parent have no value. I would rather have a warm loving CM who isn't so great with the paperwork or doesn't have enough individually labelled hand towels than one who is 'outstanding' but not loving. Of course some are both smile

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 20-Sep-11 21:43:13

Totally agree CHippingIn, DS started out at a highly rated CM and was so unhappy, he spent his life being ferried around after bigger kids and when he was old enough to explain things he said through tears that "X say me "SSSSSHHH!" - it sounds like nothing but he had to be taken there crying every morning and she reassured us this was normal. I will listen to my gut in future sad

We met with one who had a pretty average rating with a couple of points made against her on the report, just that she should be doing some stuff to involve parents in her service or some crap. She was awesome, really properly warm and loving a such fun, always doing activities and craft, really child-centred, firm but fair, and just wonderful. She just loved them. She sadly gave up when her own children left home and we miss her terribly. On the basis of ratings we'd never have looked her up though - madness.

Harecare Tue 20-Sep-11 21:56:11

Agree with Rosa. Make it clear why you aren't choosing her. If the baby had only just woken up and needed more sleep it would hardly get back to sleep in a high chair - how odd. Don't be put off, I'm a CM and only "Good". When you see a CM try to time it when your DD is alert and awake so you can see how they interact. Ask friends for recommendations. Go to your local CM drop in or playgroup attended by CMs and spot the ones you like.

pleasantlyconfused Tue 20-Sep-11 21:58:10

You can only go on instincts, and yes, make sure you say why you aren't choosing her. I would hate to think I was paying someone to leave my crying baby in a chair.

emsyj Tue 20-Sep-11 22:15:10

Our childminder is only rated 'good' - but DD is very happy there and smiles and puts her arms out for her in the morning. That's good enough for me.

Rosiegirl Wed 21-Sep-11 08:27:48

Please remember a Good grade is still well above average, Satisfactory actually means you are meeting all the required standards necessary and nothing is wrong, Good is still a brilliant grade to get. I think the wording for the grades doesn't do justice to what is required.

I think it should be more:-

Unsatisfactory
Good
Excellent
Outstanding grin

HSMM Wed 21-Sep-11 09:51:50

Agreed Rosie. People don't realise that satisfactory is a good grade!

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