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Don't want to leave my childminder, but running out of options!

(19 Posts)
lifeissweet Tue 17-Dec-13 06:17:21

My DD has a lovely Childminder. She loves DD and does lots of nice things with her. Unfortunately, I'm having huge problems with reliability at the moment and it is making me extremely stressed.

I am a teacher. Since September, her own children have been sick twice, she has called me to come and get DD in the middle of the day because she had some bad news, she has been sick twice. So that's 5 occasions in one term when I've had to take time off or be late to school because I've been finding someone else to have DD for the day. To be honest, I have no family nearby and all my friends work. Sometimes DP can take time off, but all the uncertainty is making me stressed. It has been 3 times in the last fortnight. It's not her fault her children are unwell or that she is. I don't want to appear harsh, but today I have had to call in sick for myself because I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm having childcare issues yet again. I think work's patience will be running thin. What do other people do when their Childminder is sick?!

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 06:27:21

Can't help I'm afraid but I do sympathise. I ended up having to take a different direction in my career as I didn't want to use a cm or nursery and have no family support.

I ended up working from home; becoming self employed which gave me the flexibility I needed.

Hotbot Tue 17-Dec-13 06:37:11

Good nursery, tho it's sad that she's had such a hard term too.

Unexpected Tue 17-Dec-13 08:29:28

I think you have to find another childminder or send your dd to nursery. Five instances in a term when you have had to arrange alternative care (sometimes when you are already at work) is a lot! Is all this absence a recent thing?

If you really like the childminder, give her a chance by telling her that you simply cannot continue like this emotionally or practically and unless she can give you some reassurance about the future, you will have to look at alternatives. Is she part of a network where someone else might be able to provide emergency cover for her?

busyDays Tue 17-Dec-13 09:14:12

Would you be happy for her to look after your children when hers are ill? I'm a childminder and I don't normally close when mine are unwell as I know it is hard for parents to find cover, and I would quickly lose business. I know we are supposed to prevent illness from spreading but honestly if I closed every time someone in my family was ill I would hardly have worked at all during the last month! So if this arrangement would suit you, perhaps have a chat with her and tell her you wouldn't mind if they all just have a quiet day in. She quite possibly doesn't want to lose money by closing either.

Poledra Tue 17-Dec-13 09:37:09

What busyDays said - my childminder does not shut for illness, just texts us all in the morning to give us the chance to decide for ourselves if we want to send our children. She works on the premise that her children most likely were infectious the day before when all the mindees were there, and that all the children go to the same school so the chances are that they've all been exposed to the infection already.

Can you see if there is a childminder who works as part of a team in your area, if you don't fancy nursery? My CM works in a pair, so that even if one of them is unwell, they can still manage.

HSMMaCM Tue 17-Dec-13 10:16:50

Can you ask other parents who use your CM if this is unusual. It might just be a pure run of bad luck after having no time off for 10 yrs.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Tue 17-Dec-13 11:40:28

Does she have any friends whose childminders who could do emergency cover?

lilyaldrin Tue 17-Dec-13 20:15:18

It's a difficult one. DS went to a childminder for a year who was pretty unreliable - just lots of last minute days off rather than illness though. But then, he started nursery in September and although it has been open every day, during the first term he was off sick for 12 days in 3 different periods of illness! I managed to only take 4 days off but still my boss was not happy about it. Though this term he has been much better so hopefully his immune system has toughened up.

nokidshere Wed 18-Dec-13 08:59:21

I work on the same basis as busydays I text the parents to let them know my child is sick, then give them the option to come or not. All the children will have spent time together either at school or here in the days leading up to the sickness so have probably already been exposed to it.

MPB Wed 18-Dec-13 10:49:58

I also give my parents the option. Unless it's an illness that needs to be reported to the HCA (e.g scarlet fever etc) or D&V in which I shut as I really don't want to infect babies and small children.

I also send my children to their Nan's to be looked after whilst I work. I hate it but some days it'd be £80 a day down the drain if I took it off.

I've had one day off and had a parent collect 2 hours early this term, due to DS2 being ill on 2 separate occasions. He has however, been off school with 4 different things! Just started FS2 so weak immune system I think.

Luckily I tend to be ill in the holidays.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 18-Dec-13 12:20:33

5 days off in less then 3 months is a lot, let alone 3 in 2 weeks

bottom line is that if cm cant provide level of care then you need to look at finding another one who is reliable

Loopytiles Wed 18-Dec-13 20:39:30

Word of warning about nursery, it is always open but in our experience DC get sick a LOT more! So still need time off. Our CM is good but sometimes stuff does happen.

fuckwittery Wed 18-Dec-13 20:44:05

My CMs have previously had cover arranged from other CMs. I've only ever over 5 years of pre school kids with three CMs had about 2 days off due to CM illness, and that was all with one CM who suffered from occasional migraines, when she couldnt get cover.

lifeissweet Thu 19-Dec-13 08:27:33

Thanks - It happened again, actually. This whole week the Childminder was sick, then her DD1 and then her DD2 and because of another family disaster, which I won't go into here, I have had to cover it all as DP is out of the country. I haven't been at work for a whole week.

Obviously, it's horribly unfortunate for my CM and her poor children, but at the same time, I need childcare that is not reliant on other people's children being well. CM's occasional sickness is unavoidable and my own child's occasional sickness is my problem, but CM's children getting sick is a whole other ball game - and doesn't garner much sympathy from my boss, frankly.

I might suggest Fuckwittery's solution and ask if she can't hook up with some other childminders and have a reciprocal cover arrangement. It is going to be that or find a nursery, which is sad.

LydiaLunches Thu 19-Dec-13 11:24:50

The other thing I have found with a childminder is that I have been happy to send my child to her under the weather, eg when she has been the last to catch something going round (I know the mum of the other mindees well!) as I know she will accommodate a cuddly quiet day. I am assuming this wouldn't be allowed or appropriate at nursery? So, if the reciprocal arrangement can be sorted I think that would be ideal smile

Lucylouby Sat 21-Dec-13 21:28:48

I'm a cm and generally give parents the option to send their children to me if mine are ill. But if the mindees are I'll, I wont take them. I also know another cm who can sometimes help if I am Ill (which is quite rare) or on holiday. I assume she knows time off in term time is difficult for you? If you are that stressed about it, you may need to speak to her with a view to changing your arrangements. You shouldn't be stressing about childcare.

yellowGiraffe8 Fri 27-Dec-13 20:24:37

My CM has not had a sick day in a decade! Her children have grown-up though which helps. Is there a CM without young children whom you could change to?

LingDiLong Sat 28-Dec-13 20:58:52

Oh gawd, I have three young children and this would be my absolute worst nightmare as a childminder - to be so plagued by illness that I lose my customers. I've been lucky enough to only have to have 1 day off sick in nearly two years but I worry a lot about having a run of bad luck in the future.

Please do talk to her about the reciprocal cover arrangement - if I were her I would really appreciate being given the opportunity to hold on to your custom. If she can't help you out in that way though I'd understand you having to move on elsewhere.

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