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What to Look for in a Childminder

(38 Posts)
dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 10:18:46

Right, Looks like I'm going back to work full time and will need a childminder for PFB (6 months)
How do I go about this and what do I need to bear in mind?
Also what should the going rate be in Glasgow?
And finally (silly question) what does he need with him when I drop him off?

Thanks in Advance Vipers smile

mindingalongtime Wed 30-Jan-13 16:29:53

dashoflime so lovely to her that you are happy for your son to form an attachment to another caring person in his life, a lot of people don't realise just how important it is for small children to have secure healthy relationships with people other than their parents ( John Bowlby - attachment theory)

You sound a lovely parent and your attitude to childcare shows that your choice will work for you as you are happy wit the reasons for choosing it.

I hope you find someone lovely, I have had many of my children for over 11 years and still in contact with families after 25 years

showtunesgirl Tue 29-Jan-13 22:47:03

And if anything in some ways, I think my CM is more qualified to be with my DD than I am. She is a highly trained individual with 20 years childminding experience, not to mention having had 4 children of her own. The youngest of which is now 16, is polite, intelligent and sociable whom my DD adores. If my DD turns out half as well as her kids, I will be happy.

showtunesgirl Tue 29-Jan-13 22:44:48

Definitely go with your gut instinct.

I interviewed only one childminder and went with her!

MaryShoppins Tue 29-Jan-13 22:05:18

*TotallyBS Tue 29-Jan-13 12:57:38
Ladies - Some CMs are 'professionals'*

Think you can take the sarky ' ''s off of the word professionals, because the amount of paperwork (including our tax & expenses) and excessive training we childminders are required to do means we are very much so professionals.

Clearly though, you are oblivious to this and are too arrogant to appreciate that in all professions there are good and bad. except of course in your child's private nursery where it is probably run by Mary Poppins' clones

Tut tut. Off your high horse now

Thewhingingdefective Tue 29-Jan-13 21:24:09

I find it really odd that anyone would think that CMs just sit around all day ignoring their mindees! I think my CM deserves a bloody medal - she is wonderful!

Thewhingingdefective Tue 29-Jan-13 21:14:55

All four of my children go to a CM two days a week, although she is flexible enough to swap days or do extra days for me. Two go for the whole day and two just before/after school.

We chose her because we knew her as an acquaintance already and knew she had a good reputation as a minder.

It's reasonable cost and is convenient - close to the children's nursery and school and close to DH's work.

She and her assistant (her grown up daughter) are very loving and affectionate to the children they mind and the children (not just mine) all seem to love them. There is a mix of different children of different ages throughout the day (ie before and after school) or depending which days they go, so they have regular friends they see but there is variety. The minder also has lots of her own children (all teens and early twenties now) who are also fab with the children.

The CM and her assistant take the children to toddler/playgroups, the park, swimming, the aquarium, library, soft play etc. They also do baking and craft activities at the house and generally have a great time.

The CM will provide food if we want, or we can send packed lunches. I send my little twins with a changing bag and a packed lunch.

They bring home their Early Years Learning Journey folder every few months that are full of pictures and info about their development.

I think if you get a good CM you can't go wrong really - it's a lovely home setting for the child, but with all the stuff you get at nursery and more.

mamadoc Tue 29-Jan-13 21:03:52

OP sorry your thread has got a bit derailed.
Sounds to me like you have sound reasons for preferring CM and I am unbiased (just a satisfied punter). Bond with one person and normal local activities are definitely advantages. I didn't realise it when dd started but it was great for her to start school later knowing some people from toddler groups etc and cm still has her now after school plus baby ds so it is a long term solution.

I found mine by looking on the local child are information service and on Then you just have to make some appointments to visit people and see what you think. You will need to know what days and times you need and you may have more choice if you can be flexible on that.

I take note of how they interact with me and my child first, what the place looks like, what toys etc. I ask about typical activities, how they handle meals, naps, behaviour. Do you have any deal breakers (smoking for me, dogs for some people)?

My cm is 5 pounds per hour no meals or supplies included down south but not London.

I send ds with a bag with nappies, wipes, change of clothes and lunch daily but previous cm used to keep supplies there and just request us to top up when needed so it varies.

Good luck with your search.

calmlychaotic Tue 29-Jan-13 20:50:24

I wont get involved in the are we professional or not conversation !
As someone else said i would check to find someone local, if you put on your profile what you need childminders tend to pay subscription to the site and will go through the profiles and contact you. You can then go visit a few and you can then check them out and their last inspection report on the ofsted website.
I just ask mine to bring nappies, change of clothes and this time of year outdoor clothes, wellies and warm coat.
I take mine on some day to day things, they helped me put money in the bank today, showed them how to fill out the slip, queue quietly , wait till the number was called, say hello nicely to the lady and hand money over and have a conversation about where it goes etc, i love that the kids get to do this kind of stuff and i think they learn loads from it, I mean i wouldnt drag them rouud tesco for 2 hours, cant imagine anything worse! We also do lots of lovely activities too, museums, farms etc. Some people prefer nurseries some prefer childminders, we are all different. hope you find somone lovely for your little one.

ReetPetit Tue 29-Jan-13 20:29:20

TotallyBS - you seem a bit aggressive to me towards childminders - is there a particular reason for this? hmm

so the fact that cms are mostly mums wanting to supplement their income and stay with their children is a bad thing, is it? As opposed to a private nursery which is run for, umm, profit, and mostly staffed by young girls and or unqualified staff ime.

You may think you are getting a superior quality of care because your child is in a 'private' nursery but sadly Totally, you are probably mistaken. I have worked in private nurseries as a teenager and would never send my child to one!! I know many excellent, highly experienced childminders who have raised families or their own, and bend over backwards to help the families of the children in their care - that would be my choice any day - one dedicated carer.
Of course there are the odd not so good cm, same as there are some not so good nurseries. That's what ofsted reports/references are there for.

And fwiw, I never Mumsnet when working - and don't know any other cms that use their internet when working, we are all far too busy with the children.

You seem to have a serious problem with cms - would love to know what it's about to make you quite so unpleasant on here!!

Fightlikeagirl Tue 29-Jan-13 19:46:53

I noticed that on a couple of threads too Mary, TotallyBS does not seem to like cm's at all!!
Op, visit lots, ask as many questions as you want to and go with your gut instinct.

MaryPoppinsBag Tue 29-Jan-13 14:00:57

I think TotalBS has got the face on with CM's for some reason this week. Ignore her. wink

The vast majority are professional.

Squeakygate Tue 29-Jan-13 13:38:12

I have used both nursery and cm's.

With my pfb, I thought nursery was the only option - dc1 went until I had dc2. At that point I had met a few childminders at soft plays and toddler groups etc.
I would go along to these and see if you can meet any. There are a few I have met that I would be uncomfortable leaving my dc with after seeing them away from the parents.
my current cm is good - quite flexible and the dc like her. My previous one retired and I cried all the way home on her last day as she was like a second grandparent to the dc.
Go with your instincts.

ZuleikaD Tue 29-Jan-13 13:36:37

I also view myself as a professional, in just the same way as I viewed myself as a professional in my previous career. I have qualifications and experience and keep my training up to date by going on regular courses. Like all CMs I am inspected by a standards body and am also a member of my professional organisation. I don't see how the fact that I also look after my own children is remotely relevant.

Totally, your objection to wheeling out their CV to make a point is meanginless given that the accusation is that CMs aren't professional. How is someone to say "actually I am a professional, thanks"' without pointing out their qualifications?

fieldfare Tue 29-Jan-13 13:19:46

As a cm I view myself as a professional. I take part in training, I adhere to the eyfs, I provide a service for the parents so that they can work. It's not just a supplementary income. Today is the 2nd sick day I've taken in 3 years. The children I care for are like my extended family, I seriously do care about the children I look after.

In answer to the OP, take a look on And contact your local Families Information Service for a list of the Ofsted reg cm in your area. It might be worth having a think about what pre-school/school your lo will attend and see if you can get in now with a cm that goes to those places as it will make your life easier in the long run.
Rates around here (Suffolk) are approx £40-£45 a day.
I provide all food and snacks for my mindee's so these costs are built into my daily charge. One of my children arrives with a bag each day (change of clothes, nappies, wipes and contact book), the others all give me a pack of nappies and wipes and a few changes of clothes to keep here - they all have their own drawer in my spare room, and I let them know when I'm running low. I wash the changes of clothing but some people might not be happy to do this.
Go with your gut instinct as well as checking their references, Ofsted report etc.

fivesacrowd Tue 29-Jan-13 13:18:36

Also, look at scswis website to get inspection reports and list of local childminders. You type in your postcode and I brings up the local ones and their gradings.

bluebean Tue 29-Jan-13 13:18:14

We're just outside Glasgow and pay our CM £3.25 an hour for DD2 (nearly 2 yo and there four days a week) and £3.50 an hour for DD1 (5yo, there after schools only). We don’t pay for agreed holidays, so it is cheaper than nursery.

Our CM is just a lovely, lovely woman. She's completely bonded with both my girls and they with her(in particular DD2 who loves her completely, and you get the impression the feeling is mutual).

I chose a CM over our local (very good) nursery for similar reasons to those mentioned above

* When DD1 was my PFB I feared she'd have been swamped by the noise and chaos of the nursery baby room, but then she is a sensitive soul.

* Other mindees seemed to genuinely love the CM, lots of cuddles and affection. Other mindees just looked happy out and about with her (we're in the same village, and you'd often see her at park etc)

* CM takes mindees to local toddler groups etc, so she is mixing with other children she'll eventually go to school with.

* Mindees do normal outdoor stuff, park, library, shops, soft play, days out; they have a broader horizon than nursery can provide with outings only once or twice a year.

* Nursery staff all seemed very young and inexperienced when we visited, CM has adult children of her own and has CMed for years. She knows what she's doing.

* She's very professional, proper contracts, all the paperwork you'd expect, excellent inspection reports etc

DD1 went to our community nursery 3 hours a day from the age of three for her free place. CM took and picked up, so she still got the benefit of the nursery structure when she was older.

Now that DD1 is in school and DD2 at CM, they benefit from being together at CMs during after school period. This hadn't crossed my mind when DD1 started, but it's a great advantage.

As for what to take, I provide packed lunch, nappies, clothes etc. That will vary with each CM though.

fivesacrowd Tue 29-Jan-13 13:16:37

I'm cm just outside Glasgow. Expect to pay around £35 per day or £5 per hour. Get list of local cm from local council or cm coordinator (I know east ren has one) and go to visit a few. Most of us are very professional despite some of the opinions on here and when you visit you can go on gut feeling and the information provided to see who suits your needs. You'll probably need to take nappies, wipes, food, spare clothes and poss favourite toy/comforter. Cm should have pram, high hair, car seats etc. I've closed for two days in over two years as a result of my dc being ill, so don't assume that'll be a huge issue but the fact that you have a backup plan is fab. Expect your little one to be out and about most days at toddler groups, local parks, museums etc as well as the odd trip to the shops, cafe etc. When children are small, everything is a possible learning experience and they are little sponges - a good childminder offers a caring and stimulating environment. Good luck, I'm sure you'll find someone lovely.

TotallyBS Tue 29-Jan-13 13:01:12

blue - when people start wheeling out their cv to make a point is the time to reach for the HIDE button coz nothing good is going to come out of engaging that person. Bye

TotallyBS Tue 29-Jan-13 12:57:38

Ladies - Some CMs are 'professionals' in that this is their full time career. Then there are IME the majority that are mums with kids of their own and are looking for supplementary income.

That is all I meant. Now if you want to waste time and energy parsing everything bring written here on MN and seeing slights in every comment then that is up to you.

blueberryupsidedown Tue 29-Jan-13 12:35:48

I'm a childminder (this is my day off!!!) and I can say that one of the downsides is that I have my own children and if one of them is ill with something contagious, I can't look after other children. Over the last 12 months, I have had to shut for six days in total, because of two stomach bugs and DS had the flu just before Christmas. On the up side, I am flexible, open earlier than nurseries, don't charge if parents are 15 minutes late, am flexible with food, drinks, etc. Childminders have to take a childminding course, we have first aid and food hygene training, and many will have extra training on anything from behaviour management to language development. Many childminders are educated to degree level. It is dissapointing that some people don't see us as professional.... I do not close down because I have a bad day....angry

And yes I sometimes take my minded children out for a small shop, they pick new fruit and veg, we try new recipes, I tell them about how much things cost, let them pay, we count the money together. I also take them out to the cafe as I think it's part of every day life, a normal thing to do, that their parents would do with them occasionally. I also take them on other outings, such as small soft play areas, visit fire stations, do forest walks...

And I speak two other languages and all the parents I work with love the fact that I also teach their children songs and words in English, French and Spanish.

ZuleikaD Tue 29-Jan-13 12:29:37

DD went to a nursery while I was back at work for five months (then DS came along and I requalified as a CM so I could stay at home with them) and we all hated it. She didn't have one key person who was there all the time so never settled because she didn't bond with anyone, they never took them on outings and stuff and she was totally overwhelmed by the chaos. Also they never put her down for her naps (she was still on two naps a day at that point) and she was just miserable. With hindsight I would totally have used a CM.

Dash - try looking on for CMs in your ideal postcode(s). Your local council should also have a list of all the Oftsed-registered CMs in your area and may also be able to give you an idea of costs. It could vary widely depending on how many there are in your area (for example I charge £50/day but there aren't many around here - in CM-heavy areas you may pay more like £40/day). What they need with them on a daily basis will vary - you'll probably be expected to supply nappies but you can send those along periodically. My mindees have a daily book that comes and goes with them every day but other than that they don't bring anything. I have all their creams, spare clothes etc here already.

In terms of 'what to look for' - rely on your gut instinct as far as the person goes, and be sure what the terms are going to be before you sign up. Ask about holidays (do they charge you for theirs, do they charge for yours), what about sickness days, that kind of thing. You could ask to see a draft contract before you sign anything.

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 12:19:58

Bramshott: definitely agree with making life easier!! That's what I'm hoping to achieve!

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 12:18:24

Thanks Pourquoimoi:

I think I will stick with my childminder plan as I would actually prefer DS to be reliant on one person- attachment forming and all wink

I also quite like the idea of him being taken along for daily activities- especially if we can find a childminder nearby as he is then likely to be seeing local shops, houses etc and feeling a connection with his area (something I always felt the lack of as a child)

I can see the range of activities thing being important for older children, especially if they are in child care for the full working week, but i think since mine is little and will be with DH half the week, we can let playgroup/state nursury pick up the slack on that later on.

Thanks for your input though: this is my first kid, so I really appreciate hearing other peoples experience.

Pourquoimoi Tue 29-Jan-13 11:28:55

Icantuckmyboobsin - the majority of staff in nurseries do need to have qualifications I think. Don't over half have to be nvq2 qualified or more? with min of nvq3 for supervisors?

chesticles Tue 29-Jan-13 11:28:47

I use both a childminder and a nursery. We use the childminder for flexiblity as my 4yo goes to preschool and the nursery doesn't do wraparound for the 2.5 hours that she is there.

We chose the childminder due to location (just down the road) and availability to be honest. It doesn't work out any cheaper for us, as both nursery and childminder are £35 a day (8-6). Though it is cheaper for DD2 with the childminder (25 per day as the 2nd child). My childminder doesn't provide food so I provide a packed lunch ( our nursery doesn't provide food either). She keeps a bag of nappies& a change of clothes at her house. Daily we take along food and that's about it.

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