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What's fair to pay for 2 children's dinners?

(28 Posts)
curryeater Tue 05-Feb-13 21:17:01

My two dcs, nearly 2 and nearly 4, go to a CM full time. She gives them lunch, which we agreed at the beginning, but now she has suggested giving them dinner too because her own kids get hungry when she delays their dinner so mine have gone before they eat. (Mine are gone by 5.30 - we are not making them wait till 8pm or anything)
This would be quite convenient but the horrible truth is that we are so, so financially stretched that I don't want to over-pay for this. I can't say yes without offering to pay, obviously; but on the other hand, we are cutting expenses left, right and centre and employing someone to make meals for my children wasn't high on my list of priorities when we can do it ourselves and be eating by 6 or soon after (which they are fine with).
(Also I don't know what they eat, but let's assume for the sake of argument that it is fine, I can find out)
What do you think I should offer to pay for 2 dcs dinners 5 times a week? I think they have normal appetites for their ages, if that makes a difference, have no allergies and are not fussy eaters.

apotomak Tue 05-Feb-13 21:21:40

My local schools charge £2 for school dinners ... I cook for mindees (sometimes as many as 10) and that's roughly what the ingredients cost me to make it (i.e. 2x10=£20). My dinner is made from scratch and they get a pudding as well. I do not charge parents - I put it through my expenses instead. I think £2 is a fair cost but talk to your childminder ... her meals may be cheaper than mine.

curryeater Tue 05-Feb-13 21:26:01

thanks, apotomak. How old are the mindees you cook for?

apotomak Tue 05-Feb-13 21:38:12

as young as 9 months as as old as 9 years old but most of them are between 4 and 5 years old

ReetPetit Tue 05-Feb-13 21:40:50

i don't charge for meals and don't know anyone who does!!
does she charge for lunch? what does she charge for those?
i would say £2 each per day is reasonable for a cooked meal - that is of course assuming it is a cooked meal!
If you can't afford it, just tell her thanks but no thanks. I don't see why she can't just feed her kids if she needs to and give yours a piece of fruit or something?
i'm sure she's offering to give dinner with good intentions but if you don't want it/need it, i would just tell her, I'm sure she'll be fine with it either way.

ImNotDrunkIJustCantType Tue 05-Feb-13 21:41:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cece Tue 05-Feb-13 21:43:40

DS2's cm includes all meals, including dinner, in the hourly price I pay.

DS1 has a different cm as he goes to school. I pay £2 per day to him (male cm) for a cooked meal.

curryeater Tue 05-Feb-13 21:48:05

She doesn't explicitly charge for lunch, but we always knew it would be part of their day so I sort of assumed that her fees cover it. Adding 10 dinners a week (even very little ones) must surely have a financial impact on her so I thought I should offer something - but on the other hand, sorry if this is mean, I think £2 is pretty steep unless they are eating salmon or something. If we physically could not cook dinner for my kids I would accept that I would have to pay someone to do it, but dp collects them at 5.30 and can have dinner on the table at 6.15 so I don't think we should pay for the cooking (as it is for her convenience) just for the food (as I do not want her to be out of pocket)
I'm overthinking again... am I not?

ReetPetit Tue 05-Feb-13 21:50:32

can't you just tell her you don't want dinner then??

ImNotDrunkIJustCantType Tue 05-Feb-13 21:54:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

curryeater Tue 05-Feb-13 21:54:31

Well we can but she is finding her kids difficult if she delays it and she is uncomfortable with giving her kids tea and not mine. And tbh that is what I like about a CM setting, that it is all domestic and relaxed and they treat your kids like theirs. It would not work with that vibe if she calls two kids to the table and leaves two out. I think I should ask her what she thinks and work something out. Maybe she doesn't intend to charge at all in which case I can offer a fiver a week and salve my conscience while still being actually quite stingey? (but I don't think unfair)

curryeater Tue 05-Feb-13 21:55:23


ok I am over-thinking! Dammit I always do that!

frustratedashell Tue 05-Feb-13 21:58:54

I would ask her how much she would charge and take it from there

ReetPetit Tue 05-Feb-13 22:02:35

yes, i would explain how bad things are financially but ask her what she charges for 10 cooked meals a week. If you feel it's too much to manage then you could decline the offer - or perhaps send food with the children which she can then prepare and give to them for dinner? I think at the age your little ones are, she could easily have her children and yours eating together but gives yours sandwich/fruit etc and explain that mummy and daddy will be getting them soon and giving them dinner at home...

cassell Tue 05-Feb-13 22:08:59

I would say to her that you would be happy for them to have dinner with her children if that's easier for her but that you are really struggling financially and you wouldn't be able to pay her any extra for giving them dinner and see what she says. I don't see why you should pay for a service you don't want just to suit her esp if money is a problem for you.

BackforGood Tue 05-Feb-13 22:11:56

I think - as you pick them up by 5.30 - I would say "Thanks for the offer, but we like to eat together as a family, it's an important part of the day" (which it might not be at this age, but believe me it becomes so as they get older, and it's good to have this as ingrained habit). End of. As long as you aren't regularly late, and don't hang around once you get there, she can presumably be putting her own dcs food on the table at 5.32 or similar, and I'm sure there can't be many children for whom that would be too late.

goldie81 Tue 05-Feb-13 22:33:06

I charge mine £2 for dinner but to be fair that is because the parents wanted me to do it so they can just pick upat 5.30 & go home. My kids would eat later so I'm doing it purely for them.
I have another who also goes at 5.30 & he doesn't eat meal with us. He does have lots extra snacks though.

ReetPetit Tue 05-Feb-13 22:38:16

i don't think £2 per cooked meal is unreasonable btw. I don't charge because no one else round here does but i don't think it's expensive.

NannyPlumIsMyMum Tue 05-Feb-13 22:43:46

2 pound certainly not expensive - I was paying two pound fifty per child.

curryeater Wed 06-Feb-13 10:45:07

thanks everyone.

I don't think £2 a meal is unreasonable for a service we need and have asked for - but £20 a week is a lot when it is something we don't want or need. I won't save £20 off my supermarket bill for this, and the labour is something I would rather we do than pay for.

Thanks everyone, this is all a lot clearer in my mind.

looneytune Wed 06-Feb-13 10:57:23

Just tell her you don't need meals but thanks for the offer. She doesn't need to delay feeding her children either. I provide a cooked meal at 5pm and not all children have dinner then, it's their parents who chose it and I have other mindees who need feeding. I may delay this time when it's just my own children but that's my choice. I used to do evening meals for free and then when I found cooking for 7 children most days was getting too full on, I started charging £2 per meal in the hope that some would stop having a meal and it worked! smile I would most definitely not be happy to pay a childminder £20 per week for meals if I didn't need to so I'd think nothing more of it! smile

Delayingtactic Wed 06-Feb-13 11:11:03

My CM doesn't charge, even when my DS is staying on for tea (I occasionally do late days at work). My previous CM charged a pound a day but that was breakfast, lunch and tea (I worked much longer hrs then). I would just ask her if she intended to charge and if so, sorry but that it just isn't feasible then.

Tanith Wed 06-Feb-13 11:53:36

I provide a cooked meal that is included in the fee.

Can't you give your children their tea as a packed lunch to eat with the childminder? Or even a snack they can have instead.
I can totally see her point: we have a boy who doesn't eat with us and it's horrible, knowing that he's just as hungry as the others, yet has to wait for his mum.
He helps himself to fruit, which is freely available, but it's not the same.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 06-Feb-13 15:01:49

5.30 can be a late tea for some children, most of my charges eat 4.30ish

but you are quite within your rights to say no, so just say thanks, but you like to eat together as a family/talk about their day etc

but fine for her to serve tea at 5pm etc

Ginger43 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:20:21

I agree and my minded children eat at 4.30. I cook for some and others bring a snack and they all sit down together to chat and socialise. If the smackers are still hungry I offer a yoghurt or fruit or a small sandwich. To keep them going after a long day ( remember) till their family tea time. So my advice to you is to send a snack for them to eat with the other children as a compromise.

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