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Is it reasonable to as our childminder to keep DS's place for him?

(17 Posts)
mumtomoley Thu 27-Sep-12 11:50:15

We are trying to work out when we would be able to afford to have another child but the answer really depends on childcare costs, some of which depends on our childminder and although I will speak to her directly I just wanted some advice on what's reasonable/normal practice.

I have one 18 month DS in childcare 4 days a week with a fab childminder that he adores. If we were lucky enough to have another, I would struggle to pay for him to be there for 4 full days while I was on maternity leave. Also being at home I would obviously want to see a lot more of DS but I think it would be beneficial for everyone if he still went to the childminder some of the time.

So if I wanted to reduce his hours/days, would it be unreasonable to ask the childminder if we could do this for a few months but for her to keep his full time place open for when I go back to work or is that not the done thing as she'd be out of pocket.

Just wondered what other people did in these situations?
Thank you

mumtomoley Thu 27-Sep-12 11:51:10

Sorry about typo in the title.

And by 'a few months' it would most likely be 9-10 months.

RillaBlythe Thu 27-Sep-12 11:55:52

Well - would it be reasonable to ask you to drop your income by, say, 20%? You can ask but don't be offended if she says no.

mumtomoley Thu 27-Sep-12 11:57:18

So what normally happens then? I would reduce the hours while on maternity leave, and then if she's filled the afternoon/mornings he's not there move him to a different childminder when I go back to work?

This is why I am asking here rather than offending her by asking for something ridiculous!

Unlurked Thu 27-Sep-12 12:02:36

She might ask you to pay a retainer for the days you want to keep him with you. So foe example, if you want to send him on Monday and tuesday but keep him at home wednesday and Thursday she might ask you to pay two half days and she'll keep his space for you until you want it all.

It depends on the cm and how she runs her business, if she has a waiting list etc. She might be happy to keep the space for you (I don't imagine she would do this for free though!) as shed be keeping your ds in the long run as well as new business in the form of your new baby.

It's not a ridiculous request so just have a chat with her about it and see what she thinks.

Poledra Thu 27-Sep-12 12:09:44

When I was expecting DC2, DC1 was going to a CM 5 days a week. I had a formal discussion with my CM about how we would handle changes in hours etc (i.e. it wasn't done at the hand-over, we met one evening to fully go through it without any distracting children around). In my case, I kept DC1 going to the CM 3 days a week while I was on mat leave. The place for DC2 would be available from before I needed it, so I also paid a retainer for 3 months to hold that space. She did let me drop my hours and payments for DC1 dor 8 months, but that was entirely her decision, and was also beacuse I guaranteed her that I would take 2 full-time places for the children on my return to work for a minimum of a year.

The children are still with her, BTW, 6 years later, and there's 3 of them now grin

Oh, another thought, she said that she was OK with the financial changes as I was a prompt payer who never let her down, so she was keen to keep us too.

HSMM Thu 27-Sep-12 12:31:30

Just ask and see what she says. She might say yes, or no, or something in between. It can depend on her own financial situation, so please don't be offended if she says no.

Good luck smile

mumtomoley Thu 27-Sep-12 12:31:44

A retainer sounds fair. I would definitely want to send the completely-hypothetical-at-this-point second child to her too grin (assuming she had space)

As we're not even trying for a baby yet I think it's a bit early to sit down for a detailed chat. She's in her first year of childminding (DS was her first mindee) so I don't think she'll have been in the situation before so perhaps I could mention it now so she can, if she hasn't already, think about how she would want to do it?

mumtomoley Thu 27-Sep-12 12:34:50

Actually thinking about it, if we managed it so that DS was at least 3 by the time I was ready to go back to work we were thinking of sending him to nursery for a couple of morning/afternoons by that point so if she couldn't hold his place then we could always send him to nursery for those bits..

lechatnoir Thu 27-Sep-12 13:09:13

By 3 he would be entitled to 15 hours free childcare which your childminder may be eligible for or as you say he could attend pre-school so if you're at home you may find this enough. Most CM's will however charge full rate even if they do wraparound care for a pre-schooler because of ofsted ratios they are unlikely to fill the few hours he's not in their care & would therefore rather have someone all day.

A lot depends on the CM's financial situation as to whether she would hold a place on a reduced fee & you may find keeping 2 days a week with a retainer for the other 2 would suit her well but if she relies on the salary as a full time income she may not be in a position to afford reduced fee.

PorridgeBrain Wed 03-Oct-12 02:56:29

My cm required half fees as a retainer so if dd1 went to cm for less than half her normal hours, I still paid half. All you can do is ask cm what her policy is.

HeffalumpsAndGoldenWoozles Wed 03-Oct-12 03:20:19

I've recently gone on mat leave, DD1 previously went to CM for four full days a week so knowing I didn't want to lose the full time place while off I just asked her what she had done in the past when her mindees had siblings. She's been brilliant and we agreed that I would reduce DD to two days a week while I'm off and wouldn't have to pay a retainer for the remaining two as I would be wanting her to have both DCs full time again on my return to work. She also made a comment similar to previous poster re being happy as we are prompt payers and so I suppose things work both ways. I also imagine by the nature of the job CMs do expect siblings will be on the cards for their mindees at some point or another.

Exciting times for you though if you decide to ttc, good luck with your decisions smile

wednesdaygirl Wed 03-Oct-12 09:19:54

Dont forget if you have another child you would prob want your cm to look after that child too so you need to discuss dropping dc1 hours while on mat leave and the possibilty of then fitting 2 children in when you go back to work

mumtomoley Wed 03-Oct-12 15:17:27

Thanks for your replies.

Whether she has space for another little one if and when future DC is born is another question, but obviously not one I can ask until I am actually pregnant and we won't even start trying till next year. I would really hope that she would agree to part time, and hold DS's place and would happily agree to committing 2 DC's once they exist. Quite a few of her mindees are of the same age so in about 2 years when not-yet-created second child would be ready to go (at the earliest) a few of them would be off to school.

Anyway, realise it completely depends on what the cm would like to do, but it's interesting to know what other people have been prepared to agree.

(we are good payers too, it hadn't occured to me that anyone would not be a good payer to their cm!)

mumtomoley Wed 03-Oct-12 15:18:52

porridgebrain - so your cm didn't ask you to pay for hours that you weren't having?

In an ideal world we'd pay for 2 full days, (but probaby actually send him for a slightly shorter day for those 2 days)

Jelly15 Thu 04-Oct-12 14:55:12

As a childminder I would charge a half fee retainer to keep the space. One parent did this but complained about it, so I had to explain that mincome was dropped by £200 pound a month by charging a retainer and I could easily fill the space with a new client so that half fee was a fair compromise.

Another parent sent her child during her materinty leave and then the child started school so new baby filled the space.

mumtomoley Thu 04-Oct-12 19:27:45

Thanks Jelly. By half a retainer fee, do you mean they would need to pay at least half of what they pay per month normally, or pay half for the days that they aren't using.

So if I dropped from 4 days to 2 days would you charge for 2 days or 3?

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