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Finding a childminder - what do I need to know?

(12 Posts)
WhatAPallava Wed 01-Jan-14 20:06:59

I need a childminder for my 2 year old DD and have contacted a few through my local directory.

Going to meet a potential one tomorrow at her home.

I've never used childcare before, the only experience is what I've read on forums!

What do I need to know?
What should I ask her?

I need a term time contract and she has already said she is happy to do a term time only contract

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 01-Jan-14 20:11:29

Ask about her potentially taking other holidays during term time, paying for sick days (hers and your dc's), payment (weekly, monthly in advance or in arrears).

Will she provide food, nappies etc or do you need to?

Ask about the other children that she looks after, school runs etc.

Ask about what activites she does or groups that she goes to.

Ask to see references, insurance documents, inspection reports.

Check which areas of the property her minded children are allowed to use - does it include the garden?

Lots to ask, but gut instinct is always strong when choosing CM's IME.

FadBook Wed 01-Jan-14 20:13:19

I have recently done this. I think you can plan questions but ultimately you will get a feel for whether she can take care of your child.

I asked:

- about her behaviour policy
- about her own parenting style / family
- typical days at her house / activities
- who else is in the house
- how she'll record down the daily things (times of naps, food, nappies etc)
- settling in period

I'm sure there were more, but that gave me a good feel on her parenting style. She played with DD whilst I was there, was showing her toys and had all the time in the world for her, which is what you want to see. She also didn't allow her daughter to cry and carried on being a normal parent despite me being there - again, something I valued.

She also handed me a folder of all her polices (around 40) which were very detailed and gave me a good idea on what she does in certain situations (i.e. giving medicine, behaviour management, sickness, holidays etc)

FadBook Wed 01-Jan-14 20:14:38

Oh I checked insurance, CRB etc after we'd decided to use her, not during the first meeting.

WhatAPallava Wed 01-Jan-14 20:17:15

Thanks guys

I didn't think abk

WhatAPallava Wed 01-Jan-14 20:17:27

I didn't think about her holidays -

WhatAPallava Wed 01-Jan-14 20:17:38


I didn't think a

WhatAPallava Wed 01-Jan-14 20:17:53

I di

WhatAPallava Wed 01-Jan-14 20:24:10

I didn't think about her holidays, will definitely check her notice period so I can arrange alternative childcare.

Do you think I should or shouldn't ask to see her documents on first meeting?
I'll definitely ask to see policies. Maybe she'll offer up everything anyway.

I read her ofsted report online which was from this summer. It sounded very positive.
She is described as very warm and loving to the children which is v.important to me....want someone to really care for her!

This is quite nerve wracking!

Thurlow Wed 01-Jan-14 20:40:04

I'd expect any decent CM to show you all their documents during the first meeting, mine certainly whipped out the folder with everything in.

I'd want to know...

What an average day entails - what playgroups does she go to, what do they do if there isn't a playgroup, what's the general structure with naps and food, what sort of activities do they do in the house

What sort of food she offers, including snacks, if you don't have to provide your own

What other mindees will be there at the same time

About her holidays, and any possible cover for sick days (that's not always possible and is most people's big downside to CMs, but some have agreements with other CMs for emergency care, we have used this once or twice and as it is a CM who goes to the same groups and that she's not a complete stranger and it has gone well)

Ask to see around the house so you can check for yourself what safety features are installed, and get an idea where your DC will be napping (that's a big one for me, check whether it is in a travel cot or on the sofa)

Some people like to check about telly if that is an issue for them. Me, I'm realistic and happily accept that the telly is on sometimes, ten minutes while she's getting lunch ready, when the older kids come in from school etc, but other people won't want the telly used at all

And about discipline, what she would do if your DC bit another kid at playgroup or something similar. You want to know you are roughly on the same page.

But for me, when we found out CM it was 100% gut instinct. She was warm, friendly, immediately wanted to hold and cuddle (then baby) DD, her family were welcoming and made it obvious that the whole family was onboard with mindees being in the house, and something just clicked. I knew at once that we would be very happy with her having DD.

Shente Tue 07-Jan-14 08:35:25

Totally agree re gut instinct, I visited four - the first two would have been easier for me location wise but I just didn't feel they were right, could have left dd with either of the other two but I decided on the one whose own children were older and where dd would initially be one of only two. We never looked back but I'm so glad I took the time to be sure.

tieler Wed 08-Jan-14 11:21:16

Be very careful and know exactly what you want.
We had a very bad nanny experience recently because we didn't thoroughly check references etc.
Check all the facts that they give and question if they haven't spent more than a few months with each family in the past.
We have someone great now but our last live in nanny was a nightmare

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