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Childminder - First time mum needs help!

(13 Posts)
whosthis Mon 07-Jan-13 15:10:23

Hello, it would be really helpful to get an idea from someone about the childcare arrangement.

I think I started looking for childminder too late - while my baby was over 6 weeks old in late November and I planned to go back work around spring time this year.

I live in Barnet and I don't drive. So there's limited choice for childminders. I found a few, but either they only have vacancies two or three days of a week or full week but with very odd hours - say. 3pm.

I considered go back to work at part-time contract - half day or something. But the salary in that case would not make us do worse than I simply stay at home taking SMP.

I can't make up mind:

> shall I just accept the reality stay at home until I found childcare with full week place and reasonable hours or if there is any other solution.

> I also wonder if the childminders have a waiting list or something for later on. Will there be more vacancies in September while the new school year starts? But my baby is perhaps too young to take advantage of that?

> If the childminder only has place for three days of a full week, shall I take it and look elsewhere to cover the rest?

> If a childminder only look after the child until early afternoon, what could I do with the rest of the hours before I leave work?

Could any of you recommend some way out of this situation? I would be very much grateful.

I couldn't fall into sleep last night until 3am just thinking about this! Thank you very much.

HSMM Mon 07-Jan-13 15:40:39

Childminders are more likely to have spaces coming vacant in September.

Ask everyone you have seen (that you liked) to put you on their waiting list and let you know as soon as a full time space comes up.

CMs can be given notice at any time, when a parents is made redundant, moves house, or whatever, so spaces may well come up before September.

whosthis Mon 07-Jan-13 15:47:55

Thanks for your quick reply, HSMM.

I understand I need to sign a contract if I agree with one childminder. Normally a four weeks notice should be taken into account.

Will this contract hold me back from accepting a full time space from someone else? If I do so, wouldn't that be really bad for the childminder I first signed with? Or it's a normal thing?

fraktion Mon 07-Jan-13 15:59:47

You would have to pay the notice but it wouldn't stop you.

I would avoid chopping and changing CMs or accepting care you aren't happy with.

Have you considered other options - nursery, nanny etc?

ReetPetit Mon 07-Jan-13 16:16:18

i'm really surprised you can't find a childminder tbh. if anything, you probably started looking to early. as childminders we only get around 4 weeks notice of a child leaving so you could start looking in feb and still find someone in time.
could you call all the cms back who say they don't have vacancies and leave your number with them and/or ask that they pass your number onto any other cms they know. some cms don't put themselves on the list.
Try Barnet FIS - call and speak to someone - they sometimes know of new cms who are not yet on the list. they may also arrange events for parents to meet cms.
have you got an up to date list?
Also, try childcare.co.uk.

HSMM Mon 07-Jan-13 16:25:41

You shouldn't have to sign a contract to go on a waiting list, but you will have to sign a contract (and pay a deposit) as soon as you book a firm place.

HSMM Mon 07-Jan-13 16:28:20

And I agree it's not a good idea to change if you can avoid it. As long as you give appropriate notice, your CM should be fine (but might like to know in advance that she is just a stop gap). You could ask if someone will give you a temporary place?

whosthis Mon 07-Jan-13 18:43:59

Thanks to everyone!

To fraktion: I was told by some other mums that the nurseries are more than fully booked already and there's better chance with the childminders. And I also understand the nurseries have very strict hours and finish early as well.

To ReetPetit: Only my company needs 6 weeks notice for going back to work. I thought it better to plan very early and have a clearer idea about the mid-term future. Thank you for the information. I probably have to do it in that way.

To HSMM: Thanks again. You are right. I might need to be more candid and would feel better if I let her know upfront she's a stop gap...

fraktion Mon 07-Jan-13 21:10:22

You don't know top you try. They d

fraktion Mon 07-Jan-13 21:13:08

You don't know til you try. They do tend to close at a set time bit I wouldn't assume a CM will do extended hours.

Is a nannyshare a viable option for you?

whosthis Mon 07-Jan-13 21:41:08

Hi Fraktion, nanny of course is fine provided the cost is reasonable. But I guess that takes a completely different route to organise and it costs a bit more?

fraktion Mon 07-Jan-13 22:45:19

Cost depends. You really do get what you pay for but a nanny share splits the cost with another family, and a family who want to keep their nanny but reduce the cost may be happy to negotiate a bit if they're currently paying full whack.

It's a different route, yes, as you're employing someone which some people aren't happy with, which is why I wondered whether toys ruled it out on those grounds. Plus you don't get a guarantee that they can be paid with childcare vouchers - they would need to be registered with OFSTED.

whosthis Tue 08-Jan-13 17:37:36

Hi Fraktion,

You are right. To employing someone perhaps is far more complicated than sending the child to a childminder's place or a nursery. I would not be very keen to use that route if I could find other means.

I think I would set my timetable for going back to work more realistic - say before September instead of spring time. In this case, hopefully we could get a full time place via the waiting list with someone.

Thank you very much for the help, everyone!

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