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childminder or day nursery??

(16 Posts)
enormouse Wed 17-Apr-13 09:37:25

At the moment my 18mo DS is looked after by my DP who works as a freelance writer and I go to uni and work part time but that's all set to change. DP has gotten a new full time job starting in a few weeks time. My personal tutor and head of course has assured me that I can get partly subsidised childcare so I should go ahead and look for a childcare provider but me and DP have completely opposing views on this. I think a childminder would be best as the care would be 1 on 1. But DP thinks a nursery would be better for socialization with other kids. (I pointed out at Toddlermouse's age they just parallel play) but am warming to the idea.

What are your experiences of both, fellow mumsnetters? Pros/cons? And when we do make a decision how do we go about choosing a provider? What do we need to look out for?

(In the period with no childcare DPs retired dad has agreed to look after DS but this is by no means a possible full time option)


Exhaustipated Wed 17-Apr-13 09:50:35

It's a very personal decision for each parent, and probably depends on the child too. I would prefer a childminder up to (and possibly beyond) the age of about 2.5 or 3, when socialising with peers becomes more important.

At 18 months, your child certainly doesn't 'need' nursery to socialise, but that's not to say it would be a bad choice, as long as your DS is able to form an attachment to a keyworker and likes the setting.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Wed 17-Apr-13 09:57:09

Childminders aren't 1 on 1 - I have 3 under 5 and 3 over 5's after school, plus they make friends with children at toddler groups and on outings. I care for a very shy little girl who was struggling to make friends at school but because she sees a little girl at the park they are now firm friends at school too. A childminder would be more consistent as its always the same person, but nursery would have a few adults do it depends what you want.

enormouse Wed 17-Apr-13 10:03:50

Thanks exhaustipated and twinkle. Thanks for your advice. I didn't know that, I just assumed it was one child, one childminder. I would definitely prefer a childminder in that case. I'll let DP know that it's likely toddlermouse won't be alone.

HSMMaCM Wed 17-Apr-13 10:21:06

And ... many CMs go toddler groups, parks, etc, so the children socialise a lot. I have children who have been with me since 6 months old and have grown up and gone to school, but still come to me in the holidays.

Visit both and go with your gut instinct.

ChunkyPickle Wed 17-Apr-13 10:28:02

I think my 18 month old did best at the childminder, then I added in a nursery when he was about 2 (and was used to going out and being away from me and with other children) and for him that worked really well. A couple of days with the childminder for calmness, and a couple of days at nursery for getting used to the formal idea

The childminder was more like going to a friend's house to play, very calm, homely etc. Whereas nursery was a more school-like environment.

I'm going to switch him fully to nursery (well, 9-3) in September once he's 3, in preparation for going to proper school the year after.

MajaBiene Wed 17-Apr-13 10:31:19

It depends on the child and the childcare. I have used both - DS went to a brilliant nursery and loved it, but part time. Full time might be a bit much for an under 3.

However, the childminder was sometimes ill, took lots of holiday and often had days off at the last minute.

lechatnoir Wed 17-Apr-13 13:21:30

As a cm but also mum of 2 who has used both cm & nursery I would say the best of both worlds is find a really good cm who is happy to accommodate pre-school drop off & collection when they get a bit older. Age 3 is when they get a funded place which makes sense as most cm will still charge when they are at pre-school as it takes up 1 of their spaces.
I usually take my minded children out in the morning (toddler groups, park, library etc) so plenty of chance for socialising but they get that 1:2:1 care, quiet place to sleep etc which I found important for younger children.

Sirzy Wed 17-Apr-13 13:27:12

Personally I much prefer nurseries than relying on one adult at a nursery it doesn't matter if a member of staff is off sick or on holiday they still have consistency in their care.

ReetPetit Wed 17-Apr-13 14:37:44

for 18mths, i would say a good cm who goes to groups and has other children - best of both worlds!

MsDeerheart Wed 17-Apr-13 20:59:31

I think you need to go as soon as possible to visit some nurseries and childminders -its the only way to get feel for what is important to you - plus finding good providers with places may be the challenge. CM is my preference for under 3s for the reasons above -
and have used various ones for 7 years and CM have I think been ill 2 days in that time.
My DCs have made lovely frineds at CM and its more of family atmosphere - so play will different ages as well as peer which I really like

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 17-Apr-13 21:12:50

I would go with a childminder for an under 3 (and an over 3 if it's more than part time).

There have been lots of threads listing the pros/cons of each, maybe have a look though to get some more views/ideas.

GetKnitted Wed 17-Apr-13 21:13:49

Hi Enormouse,

I was going to say that nurseries are better because they are more dependable, but actually it is much more important that you are happy with the quality of the care, than the kind of setting.

There are great child minders (house dedicated to kids, suitable toys for all ages, plenty of visits to music and dance classes etc) and naff ones (e.g. tv on lots, only 1 child at home for most of the day, more interested in their own kids, chatting with their friends or going round to their mum's than looking after your dc).

Equally their are great nurseries (my ds2 goes to one such) and naff nurseries (my ds1 went to one, though I didn't realised at the time that they weren't helping to bring on his development as they should).

Wherever you choose, pop in on them at unexpected moments, always ask what they've been doing that day, see how happy/sad your child is when you drop them off.

calmlychaotic Thu 18-Apr-13 08:09:39

Depends on the child,mine hated nursery and never settled, I took him out and put him with childminder and he settled within a week so whatever you choose you are not stuck with your decision. I have friends whose children where very happy at the same nursery. All childminders are different too. Go and visit a few, I would always say childminder over nursery but then I am a childminder now.

BrendaB85 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:25:14

I think it's so important for children to meet other children and spend time interacting with each other.

Otherwise they will struggle when it comes to going to school.

Best regards,


enormouse Thu 18-Apr-13 10:13:59

Thanks everyone for your great advice and insightful comments. Have made a few calls and we're going to see a few childminders and nurseries and see what feels right for DS. Hopefully we'll find someone/where that's a good fit for him and an arrangement that works for us.

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