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Childminding - honest pros and cons please!

(13 Posts)
smilingismyfavourite Wed 23-Jan-13 16:41:02

I am having very serious thoughts about a change of career and I would be really grateful for some honest opinions about childminding from current or ex-childminders. What things to you love? what do you hate? What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

For information, I have two DCs aged 6&7, SAHM for 4 years but kept my "hand in" in the sector I worked in previously. Now having returned to work am finding current career stressful and not very rewarding at all.

Thank you very much for any input

NoHank Wed 23-Jan-13 18:37:19

What I wish I knew before hand? It can be quite a lengthy process. Almost a year from my initial enquiry till all training and pre inspection visit was completed.

The cost - this will depend on your LA but when I did my training (2011) the cost was £40 for the training plus a fee to the GP for my medical, setting up initial paperwork, extra resources e.g fire blanket, first aid kits plus high chair, stair gates etc if needed. You will also need to register with Ofsted (£35 IIRC) and you will need PLI. Plus NCMA membership if you choose. Yes you can claim these as expenses but you still have to pay the money up front. A friend of mine is looking into doing it now (different LA) and has been told the cost will be £10 for the initial introductory session then £250 if she decides to go ahead and complete the training.

What I love is being able to be home with DD who is 2 and take DS, 6 to and from school, not struggle for childcare in the holidays and just generally be around.

What I find hard - not much really, personally I feel much less stressed compared to when I was working although I only mind 3 days a week so still get a couple of days with just DD. It can be quite physical though, especially running around after babies and toddlers all day - I do sometimes feel like all I do is wipe noses and change bums and play (and tidy up - lots)

Some find the paperwork a slog. It can be hard to get your head around at first but once you find a system that works for you it doesn't have to be all consuming. I use an online system for all my recording of obs, pictures etc that the parents can also register with and see exactly what you upload.

You may find your house gets taken over but again there are ways around this. Good storage for your toys etc that can be put away at the end of the day.

It is also worth remembering that you can go through all the training etc. and then be sat there waiting for someone to want a place. It was 6 months before I had my first mindee in place. Your FIS may be able to tell you what demand is like in your area. Luckily for me this is a short term career until DD starts school and I finish studying as my earnings are much much less than when I was WOH, however many can and do earn much more.

Sorry, that was a bit of a mammoth post but hope it was helpful!

smilingismyfavourite Wed 23-Jan-13 19:06:48

Nohank Yes thanks, that was fabulous and very useful! Lots to think about. Timings in particular are a consideration, e.g. when to hand in notice etc if I was to leave my current career and how long it might be before I might earn some money.

lechatnoir Wed 23-Jan-13 19:26:26

I would start your training whilst still working if you rely on your income & hold off until you're almost or at being qualified & registered.

NoHank Wed 23-Jan-13 19:35:21

Glad it was of some use! I think if you contact your LA they would be able to let you know when the training is and how long for, it can vary. Again when I did it it was 2 hours on a Thursday eve for 8 weeks plus 4 full Saturdays. There were many who were working and doing the training at the same time. My friend who I mentioned before has been told all training will be on a Saturday, over 6 weeks I think but none can be missed. Also they are only run at certain times in the year and sometimes they can be oversubscribed so again it might be worth contacting them and at least getting your name down.

Re work, I would suggest doing the training and getting registered whilst still working if possible. I have found that many people looking for childcare start looking a few months before they actually need it so even if you have to give a months notice most people would be able to wait this time for you to be available. (hope that makes sense, found it quite hard to explain!)

If the training is a reasonable cost and you can do it in your own time I would recommend doing it as it is always useful to have a plan B - at least it was for me when work got too much and I was able to start minding straight away

Flisspaps Wed 23-Jan-13 19:37:30

Ups: own boss, the kids

Downs: paperwork, home can get taken over, Ofsted, lack of security, quiet periods in business

anewyear Wed 23-Jan-13 20:32:44

Agree with all the above.

Your own kids - well mine were a little older than yours when I started, 9 & 6, and to be honest Almost 5 yrs down the line, they still really dislike the other kids being here most of the time. They have and still do play up terribly..
They dont appear or want to even understand the money I earn for CMing pays their shoes, clothes, pocket money, treats & our 1st holiday in 4yrs, etc etc !!

anewyear Wed 23-Jan-13 20:37:34

I will just say that the kids I mind are term time, & after school only and even the 3 of them are then only 3 nights a week.

Unlurked Wed 23-Jan-13 20:45:46

Having a child in that your own child doesn't get on with can be a total nightmare. I found the registration process horrible but I'm in Scotland so I think it's a bit different to England.

I think those are the only things I've found difficult. I could definitely live without the paperwork but I think I'd say that about any job I did grin.

mamamaisie Wed 23-Jan-13 21:49:36

Things I like:
- Having no commute and being home for my children
- Seeing my children grow up alongside mindees of a similar age and form amazing friendships
- Beings able to go to the park in the summer
- Having more time to socialise as I go to a lot of toddler groups and arrange play dates. When I had a full time office job I rarely got meet any other mums.
- Feeling like an important person in the lives of my mindees, especially when the little ones give me lots of cuddles

Things I don't like are:
- All the cleaning required to keep my house presentable to parents
- Having to cook a healthy meal every night. I miss the days when I could just stick some chips in the oven if I was feeling really tired.
- Some children being much more work than others, for example last year I had a little boy who was very hyperactive and it was hard to cope as I had 3 children all under 2 at the time.
- Having to follow some Ofsted/EYFS rules and regulations that I really don't agree with

calmlychaotic Wed 23-Jan-13 22:02:08

pros - can do what you want, get to decide for yourself what you are doing everyday, its lovely having the time to make snowmen and look at spiderwebs when I used to be rushing about.spending time with own dc, mine loves it and thinks its all about him and he has friends round to play, I mind similar ages to him that helps. I like working from home, love watching kids develop and grow. helping them take first steps, starting school etc, so rewarding. its lovely when parents appreciate what you do.

cons - can be physically hard work if you have several toddlers. I love the running about though keeps you fit so I would put this as pro really. your house can get trashed. you feel you do nothing but tidy up. good storage essential. if you are very houseproud you might find it hard. paperwork if you want to be accredited and get ofsted outstanding you will have to do quite a bit. once you get into routine its ok though. parents can be hard to work with if they have very set ideas as to what they want which different from yours. lots of communication and its usually ok.

overall I love it

smilingismyfavourite Thu 24-Jan-13 09:41:38

Thank you all so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It is a big decision for me to make and I really appreciate your thoughts. I took time out from my career when I first had my DC and have got back into it but if I leave again I don't think I would find another job so I have to be sure. At the moment though the stress involved in my current post is not sustainable. I have to decide whether to change career (childminding is a possibility that would give me the kind of work life balance I am looking for but might be a financial drop) or look for a different post within my current career. Thanks again

goldie81 Mon 28-Jan-13 21:46:48

I love it- yes occasionally there are bad days (but what job aren't there??) but you get to help these children develop and be your own boss and in my opinion earn a relatively good wage. Yes I work very hard, but with being able to look after my own means I save myself approx £900 a month! Then I'm there whenever something on at school ( all be it with a couple of kids in tow).
Paperwork wise I don't ever think that I could do enough but once you keep on top of it it's fine!
Find out whether or not they are allowing people to start training etc in your area, my friend wanted to start last year and got told no because too many minders in the area. Saying that there has never been a problem getting work!

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