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Some probably obvious questions

(10 Posts)
Caitycat Wed 24-Apr-13 09:25:17

I hope I don't sound too stupid but could really do with some help. I will be talking to some childminders this week and wondered what to expect. Specifically: I will be working 3 days a week, am I likely to be charged for 5 days anyway on the basis that they can't fill the place full-time if I have it. Also when they go out will cm probably have her own buggy or will she use mine?

What questions would you absolutely want to ask and what would make you think she was really good/ what would make you worried? Thank you in advance, you see I really am clueless!

Suzycb Wed 24-Apr-13 10:06:47

General questions parent asks are, my charges, childcare vouchers, I charge daily so won't be right to charge more than your require days. Daily routines including activities. dealing with behaviours, are there any observations in place, if meals/snacks included, holidays, sickness policy and of course buggy as you mentioned.

mindingalongtime Wed 24-Apr-13 10:09:11

Hi, most of my clients are three days, and it is unusual these days to find a full timer. You will only need to pay for the days you are contracted for.

Childminders usually provide all equipment, car seats, travel cots,linen, bibs, food cups etc, but check what each one offers as it is an individual service. All my families have to provide is formula and nappies, nothing else, so pram bag to pack daily!

Here is a list of questions to ask which may help you, and childminders expect to be asked lots!

Alibubbles (very experienced MN childminder) list ofquestions to ask your childminder

How long have you been working with children?

What training have you had? Any qualifications? Are you part of a network, achieved a quality assurance qualification, look at registration certificate, insurance details, business use for car. First aid must be no more than 3 years old, food hygiene certificate, Certificate in Childminding practice or NVQ 3, Contracts and record forms

Do you enjoy being with children and why?

Can I look around, see the rooms and outside play space? If there is no outside play space - how will you make sure my child gets the chance to play outside?

Where will my child rest?

What kind of food and drink will you give? Can I see a menu?

What will my child do all day?

How do you encourage good behaviour?

Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they? How will their timetable fit in with my child?

How will you make sure I know how my child is getting on?

What hours is she open?

How much does she charge?

What about when my child is sick, holidays, days off

What do you do in an emergency?

When was her last Ofsted, can you see the report?

Top 10 Quality Pointers

When you visit possible childcare options, look for these Quality Pointers:

Are the children calm, safe, happy and busy?

Do children play and talk together?

Is the childminder listening to the children and answering them carefully?

Is the childminder friendly and proud of her work?

Is she joining in joining in with what the children are doing?

Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play? Can children plan some of these activities themselves?

Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for children to use?

Is the premises clean, well kept and safe for children with a fun outside play area (or will the child go to parks and other places regularly)?

Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children?

If there are other things you want to know, don't be afraid to ask. Good childminders expect you to ask questions and will be happy to answer them.

Always take up references. You could ask for names of other parents to talk to about the service

Listen to your child and find out more if he/she is unhappy
Always trust your own feelings about your childcare - you know your child best

Hope this helps, but do ask any questions on here, no matter how small they may seem to you, they are important to the relationship your and your child will develop with a childminder.

Good luck

nananaps Wed 24-Apr-13 10:20:14

Mindingalongtime, that list of questions is brill, im going to print it off if you dont mind.

I will have to decide nursery or childminder, but to be honest i have been put off childminders as there is one who picks children up from my ds's school and she isnt very vigilant.
(it made me sad that she clearly does not love these gorgeous babies as much as i would)

Would you recommend that we interview maybe 3 or 4 minders? I dont know anyone who can personally recommend someone, so we will be going in cold iyswim.

I think that nurseries are huge and somewhat inflexible, i like the idea of a lady becoming an important friend/adult to my boy for life, who is happy to take him 2 or 3 days a week. Who knows him and enjoys him.

Ive got ages yet, but wanted to start thinking about it.

Can i ask approximately how much childminders charge per day?

mindingalongtime Wed 24-Apr-13 10:45:21

Definitely go and see a few, you will then get some idea of what you want and what suits you. A gut feeling says it all, ask yourself, : Can I see my child in this setting?" Remember, you are being interviewed too, I match my families and children carefully and don't just fill a vacancy because I can,- I have one at the moment, but it is not the right time to take on a new baby, until the current ones have matured a bit!

Don't let one childminder taint your opinion, I am part of a fantastic group of childminders and we have just covered for a childminder who has been seriously ill at short notice. Her minded children didn't mind which of us they went to, loved the variety, but missed their own childminder a lot too!

There will always be not so good minders, just as there are not so good (and locally to me) some awful nurseries, my last 2 mindies moved out of their nurseries after 6 weeks.

Charges vary a lot regionally, and even in a city they can, ours are £6-7ph, but 10 miles up the road £3.50ph.

Look on the government website and some childminders list their fees, but check what is being offered.

Lala29 Wed 24-Apr-13 14:10:08

I went in without a clue as well and to be honest, once you see the right one, you just know. My absolutely amazing childminder was the first on my list. I only saw one other one after that and that's only because of how close to us she lived. She was awful and there is no way I would have left my child there. The one I went with, I would be happier leaving my DD with than with my own mother.

Those questions are brilliant. Don't be afraid to ask them all and ask to look at the house and garden. Watch what the children are doing and how they are interacting. The one I thought was bad had a no TV policy that she showed me (or only 30 mins after school), but I was there for an hour and the little boy she had there was put in front of The telly for the whole of that time. My actual childminder had children drawing and playing in the kitchen while she talked to me, so I knew my DD wouldn't be placed in front of the telly just because she needs to do something else.

We get charged £50 a day 8am until 6pm with lunch, dinner and snacks included. She charges if unavailable to work though, so her holiday, sickness, as well as out holidays and sickness.

Caitycat Wed 24-Apr-13 14:16:07

Thank you all for the advice, I will definitely use the questions - so scary thinking about leaving my pfb with someone new! One other question, a lot of people have recommended one lady to me who sounds really brilliant but she is apparently unregistered, what does that mean? Is it legal to use an unregistered childminder? Thanks again

mindingalongtime Wed 24-Apr-13 14:32:06

caitycat it is against the law to look after children in her home for any reward for 2 hours or more, unless registered, ( by Ofsted) she must have valid insurance and be first aid certified within the last three years, and preferably food hygiene training, safe guarding is also a must. She could be prosecuted. Ask to see her certificates, if she is genuine, she won't mind.

Please make sure she has these items, if something happens to your child in her care, you have no protection, against anything.

I am sure she is a lovely lady, but what she is doing is wrong, she is probably very cheap too, but you get what you pay for, and you need peace of mind and assurance that your child is safe.

Caitycat Wed 24-Apr-13 14:41:02

Thank you, that is what I suspected, I will avoid her then, just a shame as she is the only person who has actually been recommended to me!

SameAsYou Thu 25-Apr-13 22:27:07

Minding - thank you for listing the questions. I've just completed my ore-reg course and about to engage OFSTED! I'm going to keep the questions and try and answer them myself. I've told my DP he as to use them as a dummy interview on me!

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