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Chidminder v Nursery

(26 Posts)
GodLovesATrier Wed 26-Sep-12 18:47:19

Am making tracks towards arranging childcare before returning to work in December. Am thinking childminder at the moment but would be interested in peoples thoughts on childminder v nursery debate. I don't want to miss out on an opportunity over something I hadn't considered.
Re childminders: I have visits arranged with 3 childminders. Depending on the experience will I will then more than likely make a decision between them Is 3 enough? I hear a lot of 'you just know who is right' but I'd hate my child to be short changed because I have only visited 3. Obviously if I meet 3 people who are rubbish I'd meet more.....but for comparison I thought 3 would suffice?
Thanks to all for responding - appreciate your experience and advice.

wishiwasonholiday Wed 26-Sep-12 19:08:04

Do any of your friends use a cm? Get some personal recommendations if you can, think if which school/nursery you might use, might seem a long way off but might save hassle in a couple if years if it saves you changing. Also your dc will get used to school runs etc, all mu minded children have settled straight in and were desperate to go as they were used to dropping the big ones off. I live in a rural area where you can generally only pick up from one school, i tried doing 2 schools but it was too much and unfair on my own children waiting for me.

lechatnoir Wed 26-Sep-12 20:23:39

Having used both & now being a Cm I would say definitely cm for little ones (under 2's) or for very long day's but a good nursery 1-3 times a week can be great for older children. With the benefit of hindsight I'd go for local cm who could drop off & collect from local pre-school when they get free places and then school runs at 4+ for continuity of care.

As to how many to see it really is pot luck & personal recommendation is definitely the way forward. I was in a large town & saw over 10 before finding 'the one' with DC1, but that was bad bad luck (with a touch of PFBness wink) & I was literally just going on proximity & Ofsted report (never again!!) whereas in my current area there are only 6 cms and I'd happily use all of them.

cheekymonk Wed 26-Sep-12 20:44:16

I have always used nurseries but my dd is due to start with a cm on Monday!! i saw 8, and think that was too many in hindsight as i got very stressed and overwhelmed with trying to make a decision. I went for the cm who didn't presume on my yes meaning dd would definitely be with her (lets see how she settles). I've found some are very paperwork orientated and less hands on or vice versa but i;m sure many exist who are good at the 2! My dd also attends nursery so she will benefit from both. i think its all about whichever you choose, making sure it is quality care. today at nursery dd has been playing in water, been hiding in a black out den, and several other activities. she is flourishing there and they showed me pics of how happy she was! priceless. CMs will slag nurseries off ime, but both have their merits. good luck!

eastmidlandsnightnanny Wed 26-Sep-12 20:51:08

we use both little one started with a cm 3 days a week at 9mths and then at 13mths started nursery 1 day a week and then when he turned 2 we planned to change to 2 days of each however due to circumstances we changed cm at 18mths so at the same time due to new cm availability we changed to 2 days of each and actually its tues/fri cm and wed/thurs nursery and works very well ideally would have been 2 days one then 2 days other but we took the days the cm had.

we pay less for cm but only use her from 7.30-4.30 whereas nursery is open 7.30-6 and generally we collect at 4.30pm but on those days I can be a bit more flexible with work.

He is 2yrs 1mth now and starts in the next room next week has done settling in and been fine - our nursery have a teenies room generally under 1, 1-2yrs room, 2-3yrs and a 3+ although montesorri so more development led and perhaps why I chose nursery and cm as wouldnt use any nursery only considered monetsorri.

cm is lovely goes to toddler groups, shops, went to an art exhibition with her on a day she had him by himself and there was lots of childrens acitivities there and the 2 of them had lunch out together which he wouldnt experience at nursery.

All cm and nurseries are different and a if you find a good one of either then its about whats right for you and your family.

GodLovesATrier Wed 26-Sep-12 22:08:45

Thanks all for these messages. I'm feeling more confident that I'll find the right cm (I believe this will be best for me and DS) but it's quite the minefield!

One key frustration is the lack of unreturned calls. Hardly inspires confidence that your child will be well cared for does it?!

wishiwasonholiday Wed 26-Sep-12 22:21:04

That could be a good sign, they may have been too busy with the children to answer and if anything like me too shattered to do much after (or have a voicemail that doesn't alert you to messages!).

ioness Wed 26-Sep-12 22:37:33

Re the unreturned calls - I know my cm doesn't return calls when she's out and about with has mindees - it's too dangerous is she's got 4 or 5 little ones to watch. She does it once her own dc are in bed or on a day she has a quiet time.

GodLovesATrier Thu 27-Sep-12 08:50:53

See! I wouldn't have thought of that re calls.

Mum2Luke Thu 27-Sep-12 16:16:04

I am a bit biased as I am a cm but it depends what YOU want for YOUR child. Do you want a homely atmosphere in a cm or a nursery with lots of other children of different ages and staff (dependig how good the nursery) coming and going?

There are lots of good and bad childminders and nurseries, get reccomendations from other parents or look at their OFSTED reports and make visits.

As a parent of a 10 year old I would be looking at a cm if I was working out of home. Good luck x

lotsofcheese Thu 27-Sep-12 20:40:07

I met several childminder's before choosing one. She really stood out from the rest in that she was an ex-nursery nurse & nanny - her passion for children really shone through - she was a brilliant childminder - almost like having a private nanny. I was gutted when she moved on.

Un-returned phone calls are common, IME - only CM who have places tend to call back. I find the best way to contact is text message (some of the sites detail mobile no). I have experienced great variability in the quality of CM's I have met - one I wouldn't have left a dog with (filthy house, expected DS to nap in a buggy at a toddler group)

If you are weighing up CM or nursery, a major consideration is the CM's holidays & how he/she takes them - as you will in all likelihood need to take the same ones as them - or make alternate plans while they're off. Also working hours eg CM's sometimes finish earlier than a private nursery.

Ask the CM's you visit how they structure the child's day, where the child sleeps, what groups they go to etc

Good luck!!!

sleeplessinderbyshire Thu 27-Sep-12 20:42:53

I'm sure a good CM would be great but that depends on there being one near you with a space.
We have always used a small family run nursery. I like the idea that the children develop a good 1:1 relationship with their keyworker but also see other grownups. The nursery has male and female staff so not all female. They sit down together for meals but get to play mainly with other kids the same age. I hate the idea of my child being dragged out on the school run and I am terrified of the idea of someone driving my DD around not in a decent car seat (and feel it would be totally unreasonable and PFB to insist on an ERF seat in a childminder's car). I really struggle to take time off at short notice (work as a GP) so the fact that nursery never closes due to someone being sick it very important to me. I also often get odd free mornings/afternoons and like to be able to drop DD off at a time to suit me where if she went to a CM I'd have to be there bang on 8am so I dodn't disrupt school run or cause issues with planned outings. I did looks at some CMs when I was first returning to work and did really like one of them (but she couldn't do the days I needed) and hated the others. The other issue is if you plan to have more DCs - it's nice to have them all in the same place and a good childminder may well be so booked up that you cannot get a space for DC2 when you need one.

An0therName Thu 27-Sep-12 20:47:21

I wouldn't want do see less than 3 I think but it would be worth doing much more. Re calls - I rang in the evening or emailed when contacting - it could also be that they are full
I would go and look at a couple of nurseries as well - just so you have covered all bases

Italiana Thu 27-Sep-12 21:16:10

C/ms are not 'rubbish' ...they range from Inadequate to Outstanding...from having no qualifications to being EYPS !!!
maybe you could read their Ofsted inspection report prior to visiting them to give yourself an idea of what their practice is about?...once in their setting you will soon get a feel of what they are about

We are talking about children being in 4 walls 10 hours a day (nursery) versus being out and about in the community and in a small home based environment with individual care...the choice is yours in the end...choose wisely !

DerbyNottsLeicsNightNanny Thu 27-Sep-12 21:32:24

My son is 2yrs 9months and has been with a CM 2 days per week since he was 8 months. She was the second one I met (only met 2) and although she was more expensive than the 1st, I did instantly feel she was the 'right one'.

I really think my CM is fantastic, but, with hindsight I would possibly have chosen nursery. I think from say 18months+ he would have benefitted from being in a more structured environment with other little people his own age and a set routine for those 2 days per week.

I could have moved him to a nursery at some point but didnt want to disrupt him, then disrupt him again at 3hrs 3months when he will start going to state nursery for 5 mornings or afternoons per week.

Main reason we went with CM was because it was cheaper, but also because at the nursery that he would have gone to (only one option really without making mornings/eves a nightmare with traffic etc) there are a lot of staff who smoke - you see them standing outside smoking. This is a pet hate of mine and I really didnt want people looking after my baby just after being outside for a cigarette. Some people will think this is a bit OTT, but I really didnt want this for him.

CM/nursery is an endless debate that I have with myself very often, good luck with deciding!

DerbyNottsLeicsNightNanny Thu 27-Sep-12 21:32:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DerbyNottsLeicsNightNanny Thu 27-Sep-12 21:34:03

3yrs 3months, not 3hrs 3months. also dont know whats going on with multiple posts!

ecuse Thu 27-Sep-12 22:08:08

I love love love our child minder and she loves my daughter. Only got a cm as a backup when a place didn't come up at our nursery of choice but now am really glad it didn't as our cm couldn't be better.

I interviewed the three closest to us on the council list with vacancies. I didn't "just know" in fact I agonized over the choice between her and another woman - both seemed to have good and bad points, neither "perfect" (whatever that is). But she turned out to be fab and we're so pleased with her we're going to keep DD with her when we move half an hour in the opposite direction!

Oh and she is shit at returning calls too grin

PetiteRaleuse Thu 27-Sep-12 22:23:49

I was advised to go for a CM the first winter to minimise colds / flu / other bugs etc. Was v happy and would have continued but CM went weird on us so have now moved DD to nursery. As she is a little older (18mo) it's a great age to participate in more organised activities and in a bigger group.

I was really nervous the first few days but she is now, after a couple of weeks, thriving. Really happy and all kinds of skills coming on in leaps and bounds.

I was really disappointed when our CM turned weird (long story) but in fact wouldn't have it any other way now. It suited her when she was really small - more one on one attention - she'd have found creche hard I think at 9 months - but now the organised structure suits her.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 27-Sep-12 22:25:28

Oh, but of course a really good CM would be great and would do the whole organised activity thing. I think they may be harder to find than good nurseries though.

peanutMD Thu 27-Sep-12 22:27:57

I am a nursery teacher, have a 6yo and am PG with number 2.

IMO both have their pros and cons, nurseries can help with socialisation and experiences that a child may not get at a CM but then you may have staff changes although any good nursery should assign key workers who will be there 99% of the time.

Children are not stuck in 4 walls all day as suggested above we are often outside, in the garden at the park n library our feeding ducks.

I did look into a CM when my soon was a baby but around here a lot if their time is spent walking to and from schools to collect other children our drop then off.

This may well just have been the ones I dealt with though, I also saw a highly recommended CM just this morning walking along with a baby RF in pram with a cigarette in one hand and a toddler clinging into the side of pushchair. I just don't like the ideas that you are putting all of your trust in one person rather than a team

RubyrooUK Thu 27-Sep-12 23:03:03

Agree with everyone here that there are good and bad CMs and good and bad nurseries. I'd see enough of both that you know what to look for.

I saw a great childminder but she had no places and her holiday requirements made her incompatible with my work. I also saw some not so good childminders who smoked (dealbreaker for me personally); also some who seemed fine but my baby would spend a lot of time in cars and pushchairs on the school run (he hated both the pushchair and the car).

I also saw some nurseries where there were tonnes of agency staff so it felt like there were new people constantly with no continuity. And I saw the lovely, homely family run nursery where my DS (now two) has been cared for by the same group of people since he started at 9 months.

So I think it's hard to predict what will appeal to you without giving lots of places a try. I didn't realise that the amount of time DS would spend on school runs with older children really bothered me until I looked around. And I didn't know that some places would be better than others about the fact that my DS wouldn't take a bottle and still breastfed at night so they needed to work a bit harder on his diet to compensate (his current nursery were very supportive; other CMs and nurseries less so).

So I'd see a couple more childminders and a couple of nurseries if you have the time and don't find your perfect match immediately.

lechatnoir Fri 28-Sep-12 10:53:39

Peanut you should report a cm smoking whilst minding children - it is most definitely not allowed!!

blondefriend Sun 30-Sep-12 19:53:42

I use both. My daughter started at nursery at 9 months old (3 days a week) and settled extremely well. She is lively and boisterous and thrives in the environment. She has benefited from being with a number of different adults and has made a number of friends from a range of ages, genders and racial backgrounds. Her speech and confidence is fantastic and I put a lot of that down to the nursery.
However my son hated nursery! We allowed him a couple of months to try and settle but he was just miserable. He also has underlying health issues which were compromised by the nursery environment (including parents ignoring the 48 hour "stay at home" policy after D&V - different story!). Anyway we booked 4 meetings with CMs but only saw 2 in the end. The 2nd one jumped out at us and despite being more expensive than our nursery (£6 hour) we chose her. DS was settled before the week was out and loves her and her children implicitly. He thrives in an environment where he has one adult to rely on and a couple of children to play with but not the hussle and bussle of nursery.
Therefore, despite the hassle of two separate pick-up/drop-offs, I believe we have made the best decisions for each of our individual children. If I did it again I would look at a couple of each and go with my heart for my own child as they all need different things.

GodLovesATrier Wed 03-Oct-12 12:17:02

More thanks to everyone for the advice and feedbaack.

Am now doing more visits to nurseries to have some comparisons and am hoping to speak with and meet more cm's in the next week or so.

Am running out of time to give notice to work within 8 wks of returning on the date that I want to and request flexible work hours (on the basis that child care ends at 6pm ish whatever the option selected) so need to get this sorted asap. Am now confident I'll feel what's right though.

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