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Childminder - advice please

(15 Posts)
NikNakF Mon 15-Oct-12 22:38:31

Hi all,

I don't post often but am a bit concerned about our CM situation. Found a nice (nicest of those available) CM to look after my <1yr old and pick up my son from school.

It's been a few weeks and son (4yo) doesn't seem that happy - says that all they do is eat pasta (it has been the same dish every time), eat ice cream (I know, odd he is complaining!) and watch TV. I have talked about food and TV but she has previously said that she likes to make various home cooked meals, and TV only as a last resort... but it is always on when I go.

<1yr old seems ok, cries on drop off and pick up but I guess that is to be expected. This evening CM asked for a car seat but wouldn't say why/ where (via text, I know not ideal... but car journeys were never discussed) and I don't know if I should be asked about days out/ journeys, or is that just part of a CM perogative?

Sorry if it all seems like small things, on the plus side she is VERY cheap - but now that just concerns me too!

All/ any comments very appreciated.

HSMM Mon 15-Oct-12 22:45:17

Is she registered? Why isn't she providing the car seat? What did she discuss with you about daily routines / outings? Has she offered to provide you with any information about the day (food, nappies, activities, etc)?

The price isn't necessarily a concern, as long as she is providing quality care.

I am a cm and take the children out all over the place in my car, but parents know this.

NikNakF Mon 15-Oct-12 22:50:36

Thanks for getting back to me HSMM.

She is registered (she had a poor rating due to lack of health and safety forms in 2009 and when they re-visited it was theoretical as she had no children at the time) and she said she wouldn't be using a car so the car seat was never discussed.

I offered to buy a journal but she said she had ordered one, and despite encouragement it has not yeat appeared so unless I ask I don't get any information.

I don't think they have done much in the way of activities yet... sad

GrimAndHumourless Mon 15-Oct-12 22:51:33


is she registered with the relevant authority (eg Ofsted in England) ?

does she not take your baby out and about in the community already? (I appreciate that not everyone lives like me in the arse end of nowhere where a car is essential as public transport = one bus a day and the decent groups are in the next village, too far to walk to, no pavements make too dangerous anyway)

I would have expected you and her to have discussed a little bit about what the baby's day might look like (out and about in the mornings, take snack, back for lunch, naptime, play, snack, schl run, play, teatime, home) and am frankly astonished that she hasn't got a car seat already - what if yours cannot be safely fitted to her car model?

doesn't sound v good I'm afraid, when you add in lack of variety in meals and dependence on tele sad

Do you get a daily report/diary of the baby's day, what they've been up to, 'wow' moments, food/milk intake, sleep times, their interests etc from the CM?

GrimAndHumourless Mon 15-Oct-12 22:52:17

sorry, crossed posts with you there

GrimAndHumourless Mon 15-Oct-12 22:53:24

she doesn't need to order a sodding journal, just an A4 lined hardback book will do. Does she give you photos, text you little updates through the day, email you ?

GrimAndHumourless Mon 15-Oct-12 22:55:36

Not cross with you, NikNak, she sounds awful

procrastinor Mon 15-Oct-12 22:58:40

Hmm. Is her hourly rate in keeping roughly with the area? Personally I wouldn't go for someone who is very outside the norm - it would make me wonder.

About car travel, both childminders I've used were upfront about what car seats they had, if I had any preferences (e.g. Extended rear facing) and offered to buy a new carseat if I wasn't happy as well as showing me copies of their driving licences/insurances/MOTs. I now would find it a bit odd if it wasn't mentioned at all.

Lastly, what do you get told about what she's doing with the kids all day? My first (and much loved) CM wrote a few lines about what DS had been up to. My current CM writes a couple of pages with lovely detail about what he's done, what he enjoyed doing the most and a breakdown of what he ate, including if he ate all of it or just tasted it. I live the fact that they put details down and obviously are paying attention to what he's doing, despite the fact that they've got a bunch of other kids (they are a couple).

You need to feel happy with who you are leaving your DC with - I breathe easy at work because I know my DS is in a loving caring safe environment having heaps of fun.

NikNakF Mon 15-Oct-12 23:03:46

Hi GrimAndHumourless,

Haha yes I know you're not cross, and thanks for the replies.

We had a LOT of discussion beforehand, and she had lots of plans - or so she said - but now they don't seem to have come to fruition and I haven't wanted to hound her during settling in but it's been a few weeks now.

We don't really get updates etc during the day unless we ask how things are going, and it seems really hard (I don't know why, because I do ask!) to pin her down on exact sleep times, meals and activities. I once picked my little one up early and found one of her other charges asleep on the sofa (2yo)... I think that is where she has all her naps.

I don't want to be snobbish or difficult, I just can't work out what my instincts are saying...

NikNakF Mon 15-Oct-12 23:06:08

Hi Procrastinator,


Her hourly rate is quite a bit lower, but initially that was the only alarm bell as I did check registration and references and visited alone and with kids quite a few times.

Despite the journal conversation we haven't had anything written yet.

procrastinor Mon 15-Oct-12 23:10:23

See niknak I wouldn't be happy with that. CMs are all about communication and rightly so. I think that perhaps OFSTED can go a bit overboard but you can't do well with them unless you can demonstrate how you are meeting your mindees needs and documentation to support that. Why wouldn't a good CM want to let you know what they've been up to? I don't think CM need to be constantly doing organised activities but just explaining what's gone on, they've played with blocks, crayons anything.

Personally with what you've said I'd be looking elsewhere.

GrimAndHumourless Mon 15-Oct-12 23:11:02

you are NOT being snobbish, or difficult, you shouldn't need to try to pin down what your baby has done all day, she should be providing you with a steady flow of info, you shouldn't be offering to purchase a journal or supply car seat at short notice.

I know what your instincts are saying, you know too

Your children are too precious, too important. Please think about pulling them out as soon as you can (And I am so NOT an advocate of impulse-withdrawing from a setting)

NikNakF Mon 15-Oct-12 23:12:17

Thanks - I think that is what I am thinking but I have a tendancy to overthink and panic so wanted to make sure my expectations were right. Grr, childcare is so stressful sad

GrimAndHumourless Mon 15-Oct-12 23:17:16

oh bless you, I am so so sorry, it shouldn't be like this, your children should have first rate, top notch care where they are valued, and nurtured, and you (and DH) are embraced as experts in your children, where your opinion is eagerly sought and taken account of

there are FANTASTIC CMs out there, heaps of them.

Where are you, roughly, in the country (ie London, SW, East Midlands) we might be able to point one of our colleagues your way

You have a right to know what your baby has been doing all day

my cm doesnt write it down and sometimes get more details than other when collect but thats dependant on how busy household is and whether my 2yr old continues playing or starts trying to leave - so time really at collection. But when I drop off she always tells me her plans for day and follows them through (prev childminder always had lovely plans but when collected they never ever got there for one reason or another).

Costs for childminder in my area vary from £2.50-£5 an hr and cost wasnt a reflection of rating and on visiting many cost didnt reflect what they offered either ie - meals etc (what I mean is the cheapest was the satisfactory no meals inc in price/ the most expensive wasnt the outstanding/everything inc in price) - so perhaps going on cost alone isnt a reflection esp if she is newish to minding perhaps shes trying to build up a client base.

I would go to her this week and say here is a book please write down all meals x is eating as we are monitoring what x eats at the moment and also could you just add what x did today and when x napped - says daddy likes to know and easier if written down as he can have a quick read when having his dinner (my husband always read nursery journal when having dinner - we use both cm and nursery)

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