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CM club - what's your breakfast-time routine? And do you provide tea?

(23 Posts)
HiccupHaddockHorrendous Wed 19-Feb-14 10:54:58

I have a mix of mindees before school. Some do 5 mornings, some only do 1. Some have eaten, some haven't...some have already eaten but fancy eating again once they get to my house grin!!

Each week is getting more complicated because one decides they don't like toast, then another decides they don't like brioche and today's gem was mindee didn't like the colour of the cereal bowl put out for them. Another thing that happens is they arrive, say they don't want to eat and go off and play. 5 minutes before leaving for school, they announce they're hungry but we now don't have time to get anything to eat because we have to go to school. I then get a call from parents at the end of the day to say mindee was very hungry at school because I didn't give them breakfast hmm

Certain mornings, I can confidently predict who is going to eat and try to prepare something before they arrive. Other mornings are the opposite and it's starting to cause problems.

Anyone have any suggestions to make mornings a bit more straightforward?

Does everyone provide breakfast? Or do you have a no-breakfast rule? Or can they bring their own? If they bring their own, do you provide anything? One set of mindees bring their own cereal (3 full size boxes to keep at my house) but I provide the milk etc. This isn't ideal because the boxes take up space in my already overflowing kitchen and they quite often refuse their own cereals.

Also, I have two sets of parents who want me to give their dc tea. Others don't want their dc to eat but want them to have a snack.

I didn't used to mind providing tea because I still need to make tea for me and ds so was as easy to cook for us all than to wait until 6 to start cooking. However, I'm finding it really hard to find meals that everyone likes and then be able to vary it so we're not having spag Bol every week because that's the only thing they all like!! However, I have had a mindee bring things that needed cooking/prepping for their tea and that wasn't ideal, either!! It's all getting so complicated!!!

HSMMaCM Wed 19-Feb-14 13:58:02

This is why I don't provide breakfast and tea. Have breakfast at a set time and with one option. Same with tea, but realistically, if not everyone is having tea, it might be better to simply offer a snack.

Lucylouby Wed 19-Feb-14 14:36:15

At the moment I don't offer breakfast. If I was offering it because children were arriving super early, I would make it clear to parents that there was only one option, eg toast and if that wasn't wanted by their child, their would be no other choices. I wouldn't want to buying lots of different cereals and breakfast stuff for them to not want to eat it. We start getting ready for the school run at 8.10 at the moment, so if a child was needing breakfast they would need to be arriving before 7.30 to fit it in and I'm not sure I would want to be starting work before 7.30, so this probably wouldn't happen for me.

With tea, I wouldn't serve a meal before about 5pm, there wouldn't be time to prepare it after the school run. Again, I would make it clear to parents that there is only one option for tea, if there child doesn't like it, unlucky. Maybe make a menu to give them in advance so they can tell you if they want a meal preparing? Say they have to let you know before Friday of the previous week what days they need the child feeding, then you won't be wasting food and will know what you are doing in advance.

homeaway Wed 19-Feb-14 15:17:23

Not a childminder but I would offer two or three options at most for breakfast, toast with butter or jam, and two ceareals. Mindees would get a choice and if they changed their minds about their chosen option then it would be tough, but no other option would be given. Decide on a time that suits you for breakfast and then serve it at that time and make it clear that if they dont sit down and eat at that time there will be no alternative.
For tea time i would be tempted to decide on a menu for each day and offer beans on toast or scrambled eggs on toast to those who dont like it and they have to eat what they have chosen.

Good luck op.

HiccupHaddockHorrendous Wed 19-Feb-14 18:17:23

Thanks for the replies smile

Tbh, I don't really want to offer cereal at all. My plan is to offer toast and milk or smoothie and fruit.

I don't offer any alternatives at tea time. I spend a lot of time and effort finding out what the children like/don't like and fit the menu around that so if they then decide on a Wednesday that they don't like spag bol after all then it's tough. Too harsh?

I'm definitely going to reassess the mealtime arrangement though. Maybe after Easter.

LingDiLong Wed 19-Feb-14 20:01:01

You definitely need to get a bit harsher and wrestle back some control!

When I do breakfast, they need to come and eat when I ask them to or they don't have breakfast as we have to leave promptly to go on the school run. If their parents were to ring and complain their child was hungry I'd explain that they refused breakfast and leave it up to them to deal with it. My parents are all very supportive though and would be cross with their kids for not eating rather than with me. Breakfast is usually cereal/toast/porridge. Sometimes pancakes or croissants.

I used to try and do a very varied dinner with lots of different meals for the kids to try and soon realised it was a fool's errand. I now have a stock group of 5 or 6 meals that they all like and I rotate them. They're all healthy and home cooked and, yep, eat it or go hungry. I never make food an issue, never tell kids off for not eating but I'm not going to stress myself out making lots of different meals.

All my food is included in my fees deliberately to encourage people to NOT bring their own food. I have 3 kids of my own and it would be a nightmare for me to have different groups of kids eating different meals.

PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 19-Feb-14 20:22:12

Breakfast is at a set time & it's cereal (small selection but they nearly always have the same) and/or toast. Once I've cleared away it's time for school so no second chances & they soon learn to eat together or not at all. I started off being far too relaxed giving loads of choices, staggered meal times etc & it was a bloody nightmare so now it's - here's the food, eat now or go hungry and as long as I'm offering something I know they'll all eat, it's very rare for one to miss out.

busyDays Wed 19-Feb-14 20:36:10

I'm very strict about meal times. Breakfast is at 7:30 and if children arrive any later then they simply don't get breakfast. The parents all know this. Same with dinner, it is at 6pm and any children who go home earlier don't get it. At breakfast they can choose from two types of cereal or toast and at dinner I only cook one meal with no other options. I also won't give them anything in between snack/meal times so if they say they are hungry 10 mins after breakfast I tell them they have to wait until the next snack time. It might seem a bit mean but it is really the only way I can manage with lots of children.

minderjinx Thu 20-Feb-14 08:35:29

I don't charge for breakfast or tea, but it is provided strictly on a take it or leave it basis. I don't make things I know children won't like, but I don't offer an alternative if children are suddenly picky. I do breakfast at 8 and tea at 5, and the children eat then or not at all. Parents are the best allies when it comes to encouraging the children to eat up, as if they don't, parents have to feed them later.

fieldfare Thu 20-Feb-14 08:43:50

Breakfast is at 7:45, there are either crumpets or toast, Cheerios or weetabix, or yoghurt and a piece of fruit. They sometimes eat loads or barely anything at all, but breakfast has to be finished by 8am as otherwise it's all too much of a rush.

Dinner, I normally only have one extra for dinner time and he's generally happy to eat anything so I'll cook for us all at the same time. If I'm making something for dh and I that is spicier or I know he's not keen on then I'll make extra the night before and plate him up a portion to be reheated.

blueberryupsidedown Thu 20-Feb-14 12:33:39

I had that problem - now parents provide cereals in a container, I put the child's name on it, and I provide milk, juice, toast, Marmite, jam and some fruit. Eat at 8:10 otherwise timing for school run doesn't work. I have been known to make a banana sandwich to eat on the way to school for a child who was always late...

teacher123 Thu 20-Feb-14 12:52:40

My CM has DS two days per week-he eats breakfast with them as he arrives at 7.10, and I've never even questioned what she gives him tbh! Then I almost always collect him before tea, if he needs to stay later I either send him with a toddler ready meal for her to heat up for him, or he has tea with them if there's enough. That's only happened about 3 times though and he's been there nearly a year.

jazzyjenbo Thu 20-Feb-14 18:11:29

I've not read other replies so sorry if mine is the same.

My morning mindies arrive at 7.30. I expect them to of already have eaten breakfast and do not provide it.
I offer a snack.. Toast and banana/apple and a glass of milk or water.
If they arrive after 7.45 then they dont get the snack.. I have to start getting ready for school at 8.00 and like to leave my kitchen set for lunch as usually after school run we go to toddlers etc
I've just had to send out my 'before school' policy again as kids were arriving late without have breakfast.
I dont usually provide evening meals however my own kids eat earlier (4.30-5) in the winter and i hav 1 mindie until 5.30 whos mum then has to pick other dc up from nursery so they dont get in until gone 6 so i offered to provide evening meal (£2 charge) and usually prepare the meal at lunch and put in slow cooker.

apotomak Thu 20-Feb-14 19:08:26

I provide cereal only for breakfast. I sometimes have over 10 children here before school and there's no way I'd faff with toast. Parents know this.
My dinner is at 4pm as I found the children come from school really hungry and if I let them have a snack they won't eat their dinner later. They have two choices for dinner ... 1 take it, 2. leave it. I don't force them to have anything but they know there is no other option (ie I'm not making sandwiches or otherwise bend over backwards if they don't eat). If they're hungry they'll eat it. I sometimes have 16 children for dinner and there's no dish in the world they all like.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 21-Feb-14 08:06:49

10 before school and 16 afterwards - wow - do you have an assistant?

Not a cm - nanny so sligty different but I get to work between 7.30 and 8

If 7.30 i do breakie - toast or cereal - no time for pancakes or fry ups - tho would in holidays

If 8 - I expect children to have finished breakfast as then school run

Tea - one option - tho obv easier as generally I know what kids won't eat - and is given 4.30/5

Never forced to eat - if don't want it for whatever reason (rare) they sit and wait for others - not having them go and play then say hungry later - tho once finished could leave the table as some siblings are very slow

Have done timer when very slow - one family used to take an hour - till I did 20mims then timer and then a 10 min warning and would go in the bin and nothing else

He learnt to eat quicker ......

anewyear Sat 22-Feb-14 08:49:50

16!! Blimey.. smile
I thought my 5 after school was enough..

Do you live in a old mansion, with a huge dining room, with one of those huge tables that seat 20 minimum grin

apotomak Sat 22-Feb-14 10:23:10

Yes I work with another childminder. My house is not really big but the downstairs is quite spacious. In my dining room I have an Ikea table that sits 10 children and two smaller toddler sized tables for the younger ones (that's my dining room filled ... there is no space for any other furniture). I do have to think seriously about getting a dishwasher as doing the dishes is a real chore for me.

drnoitall Sat 22-Feb-14 16:31:35

Bloody hell get a dishwasher!

georgesdino Sat 22-Feb-14 16:37:04

I would serve breakfast at 8am and dinner at 5. I wouldnt go to a childminder who didnt serve meals as it is rare that one doesnt so its a poor service not providing food. I would serve one meal and if they dont like then bad luck.

glenthebattleostrich Sat 22-Feb-14 16:50:11

My mindees arrive around 7 and stay until 5.30.

Breakfast is at 7.15 and is a choice of toast, cereal, yoghurt or brioche. The children can help themselves to the fruit bowl.

Tea is at 4.30. I cook 1 meal. The children either eat it or they don't. Desert is not offered unless they eat a good portion of their food.

I've never had a parent complain about the food I provide, one actually thinks I spoil her kids a bit giving them a choice of breakfast!

HiccupHaddockHorrendous Sat 22-Feb-14 17:12:33

Thanks for all the replies!! It's interesting to read everyone's views smile

Georgesdino - in the area I live, I am one of only two CMs who offer food at all. All other CMs ask that children bring their own.

Apotomak - wow, that sounds like very hard work!! The noise, here, gets pretty bad with just 6 mindees. The thought of having three times that in one space makes me break into a cold sweat!! grin

I think a mealtime review is in order. Maybe I need to update the children's likes and dislikes and find a menu that suits much as possible!! grin

ICanTuckMyBoobsInMyPockets Sat 22-Feb-14 17:49:57

I'm not a childminder, but a customer, so I hope you don't mind me posting smile
My child gets fed before he does the our CM but he has toast there too. She just does loads of toast and puts butter, jam, marmalade on the table. DS is only 2.5 so she helps him but bigger ones do their own. Then it gets cleared away and everyone gets ready for the school run.
There are no other options and no-one takes their own, that's madness! If you don't eat it, then tough, wait until next meal.
Similar with tea. Everyone gets the same, everyone has to try a bit. No second options, but if someone really doesn't like something, she tends not to do it at all, or leave it out of the existing meal eg leaves the ham out of the mac cheese.
She's always done this and the kids know the rules, so if you get tough there might be some tears but they'll get over it!
DS, and all the other kids now I think of it, are really good eaters, but that's down to her, and I love her for it!

anewyear Sun 23-Feb-14 18:17:24

I only have after schoolers,
all my families prefer to eat with their children.

I do a snack tho at approx 4.30.
Either Cheerios, crumpets, toast, muffin or bagel with fruit or yoghurt if they want it.

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