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Thinking of becoming a childminder - tell me if you think this would work(13 Posts)
I have 2 children, the youngest who will start school in September, so I'll have 2 children at the same school.
Recently I was thinking I'd quite like to get "back to work" having had a stint as a Midday Assistant at the school for most of last year (I had to quit because they wouldn't authorise term time holiday)
In the process of browsing around jobs and seeing a recruitment agent, I realised that childminders who pick up and drop off to this particular school are like gold dust. There are literally 2, one who is off for 8 weeks at the moment, and the other serves mainly a different area but does do pick up for one child at this particular school but has no other spaces, if that makes sense.
I have abandoned my job search for now, but it occurred to me, I really like the children at the school, most of them know me from my stint as a lunchtime person, and I know a lot of the parents too.
If I were to register as a childminder, I could upgrade my car to a 7 seater (which we have been thinking of doing anyway) with the built in boosters which would then give me 4 spaces in my car, and I could take 4 charges before and after school. I love older children (I don't want to look after babies or toddlers and deal with mushy foods, nappies, bottles etc) but would love the company of school aged children, as would my own children (I have recently done some childcare/school run favours for someone who was out of action who lives near me and my children keep asking when we are next having them!)
I have a nice big house with a playroom, safe computer, garden, cul de sac (which means they can play out quite safely in the summer with supervision obviously) and as long as I get to keep my "school day" free, (9am - 2:45) I would be quite happy to have others around the rest of the time.
Money wise assuming its about a fiver an hour I could gross £400 a week if I was working at full capacity (4 for an hour in the morning, and 4 for 3 hours in the afternoon say 3-6pm.
Okay so I don't "need" they money necessarily (though I can think of plenty of ways to spend it!) so if I wasn't fully booked or someone dropped out or I wasn't working at full capacity that would be fine too.
Does it sound like a good idea for someone like me to fill my time this way, bearing in mind I have to do this school run, the breakfast thing, the snack after school, entertaining children, supervising children, etc anyway with my own? Should I go for it? I'd appreciate any advice or inside info.
For how long would both your children be at the same school?
Look long term... figure out at what point things may get tricky in terms of the school run.
Sounds like it could work as there is demand. Ask around the playground, see if there is as much demand as you think there is... what other options do parents have - if both childminders are currently full, then what are parents needing before/after school care using instead?
What plans does the school have for a before/after school club? If school had one, it could be a lot lower cost than you would charge.
Registration can take quite a long time, so start the process now by contacting your local authority early years. Aim for a September start, though it may take longer than that depending on how quickly you can do the courses and time for the regulator to register you.
My children will be at the school for the next 5 years together and 7 years in all. My son will start high school and by that time he can either walk to the local comp or get the bus if we go private.
A lot of parents lament the lack of childminders and rely heavily on family and favours. The childminders have a waiting list. I am confident that the places would be filled but if they are not its all a bonus.
I might start looking into what I have to do to get started...
Hmm could work but remember:
you are never going to be able to take your kids to after school activities/events etc. This might be a deal breaker as they will soon become 7-11yr olds who want to do stuff...
You'll never have school evenings that are just for your kids...
And you'll never be able to take school time holidays again. Is this an issue for you? I know you've one at school already and dropped your lunchtime job because you weren't granted term time leave.
Look at the market- if CM at your school are " gold dust" £5/hr is way too cheap. Though it could be there aren't many because other forms of after school provision is filling the market...
Just some thoughts.
Thanks for your replies.
Good point about the after school clubs etc, though some of my mindees will no doubt do some at the school and maybe have some too so if its just a case of dropping off and picking up then that's no problem.
If someone is doing a club and someone isn't (at the school) then in the summer or dry weather we can go to the park until they are done.
If everyone's gone by 6pm then there's still plenty of time with my kids after that.
The school has no plans to do an after school club from a childminding perspective. It toyed with the idea of a breakfast club for a while and did it for a term or so. Unless it does breakfast and after school till 6pm consistently and stick with it for a few years so people know they can use it and its there to stay, this need for childminders will remain. For this reason any care gets snapped up. Lots of parents work part time and shifts and things partly because of the lack of childcare, and people share favours, but there will be and always be people who then want to do full time if they can (like I did a month or two ago) and things constantly change so as long as there is no major expense setting up, I don't see it as a big risk...
I would also imagine that during the long summer holidays, easter etc, I could get plenty of "ad hoc" stuff from the people who have before and after school covered but struggle with the long break. So even if it just ended up with a bit of extra spending money during the summer and being paid for my kids to have extra company that can't be a bad thing...
Ad hoc days are ok for casual mindees, but anyone who uses you for before and after school will probably also need you for most of the holidays. Being a CM is a huge commitment, although giving you flexibility through the day, there really isn't any flexibility the rest of the time.
I've just registered, got 2 full time after schoolers who also come for 3-4 days a week in the holidays.
One is my DDs best friend, but even so she sometimes complains that she doesn't get anytime without her friend here. They are always asking for play dates and sleepovers, but now that it is 'forced' on them they are falling out a lot more!
Also dd feels envious if she is invited to someone else's house (or her dad's) and the mindees still come home with me.
Being a CM does have a big impact on your DCs so don't take the decision lightly. It also means I can't have the occasional afternoon off when my DCs are elsewhere, still have to be at school every day and even a long weekend away for my big birthday inconvenienced 2 separate families who would otherwise have used me on the Friday and Monday but had to take holiday themselves or involve Gps. W even changed the dates we went away to try an minimise the disruption to mindees, despite extra cost to us.
My DCs needed new school shoes but I haven't had a free evening to take them shopping after school so ended up having to go at the weekend when it's really busy. Have had to drag all of them to the bank during the holiday as I needed to pay in some checks. A trip to somewhere outside of the home needs a risk assessment form filling in, permission from parents etc. All of those little inconveniences are things I hadn't considered.
Also the course, an introduction to CMing, is quite full on and in depth about government legislation, policies and procedures etc. it's not just a case of arming yourself with a pack of colouring pencils and some board games and opening your doors.
It's taken me the best part of a year to get everything in place, doing the course, getting onto a paediatric first aid course, Ofsted dragging their heels on the registration, the criminal records check can take up to 12 weeks, then you have to register with the childcare voucher companies.
It's not a quick solution by a long way and I think you have to be quite committed to it to persevere, it's not something you do on a whim because you fancy a bit of extra spending money.
I think, from what you have said, it is definitely do-able. I registered 2 years ago and generally do the opposite to what you suggest, ie fill up the school day with little ones then look after my own (aged 8 and 6) after school. I work 3 days per week, term time only and earn roughly £1000 per month.
For me it works as I can still pick up and drop off my own children at school. They have 2 days per week with no additional children so we can still do after school activities and have their own friends round to play.
One thing I would say is, don't underestimate the impact on your own children of having a housefull every day and having to share their toys and you with other children. Also, the amount of food that older school aged children can eat started to substantially eat into my profits, so consider charging extra for food.
You could consider only minding 8yr olds and over.... you don't need to register for that....
Lots of great advice already & it definitely sounds a viable option but I would suggest you start with 3 days & keep 2 days for your own DC. The novelty of having 'friends to play' in your home every night soon wears off & believe me your kids will appreciate a day or 2 off & it gives them the freedom to do after-school activities, invite their classmates over, do homework etc
I would also caution against being overly helpful in agreeing to do pick-up other than school time (ie for clubs etc) it's a right PITA having to hang around in the rain or worse, go home & drag them all out again not to mention the extra fuel if you drive.
I think childminding will have a bigger impact on your own children than you think. They may well love having the odd child come over every now and then but having to share their house with 4 other children every single day of the week, when they are tired after school is going to be harder than you imagine. The children may not get along and there could be personality clashes and fighting. How will you cope with the constant bickering of "He did this, she did that, I want this, that's not fair" that having a group of 6 children undoubtedly brings? Will you let the mindees play in your children's rooms or will they have to stay downstairs while your own children are in their rooms? If they are allowed upstairs how will your children react to being forced to share all of their stuff? If the mindees have to stay downstairs what will you do when they keep begging/pestering you to be allowed to join your children upstairs? When will you find time to help your own children with homework? Would you really want to drag all these children out to the school several times in bad weather to collect from various after school clubs that all finish at different times? What if some parents want to collect at the same time as the after school clubs finish? What if your children want to invite their own friends over but can't as you are limited by numbers? How much will it cost you to feed all of these children? How will you keep them entertained in bad weather?
I think it is all perfectly doable but it will almost certainly be harder than you think and you will almost certainly earn less than you are expecting as expenses will soon mount up.
Will you be wanting term time holidays again? If do you can't really commit to this.
Will you cook for them? You will have to prepare the food before you pick them up from school, and you will have a lot of washing up and tidying up after they leave. You will have no after school time with your own children alone, homework gets more difficult as they get older. Your children might feel that their house is not their own as they will have to share space/toys and their mum with another 4 kids. I'm a childminder and find it much, much easier to look after little ones three days a week than looking after children over 5 years old after school. Little ones are easily entertained, older ones constantly complain about the uninteresting toys, lack of video games (!!), food, you have to do a lot more discipline with school age children than with little ones. My kids (age 6 and 8) love having toddlers around, but really struggled when I was looking after school age children before and after school. One of the children I used to look after kept on calling me 'madame bossy' at school in front of the other children, and saying that it was sooooo boring at my house, and used it as a form of low level bullying towards my son. It's not as easy as it sounds.
One sleeptillwembley, why won't the op be able to have term time holidays again? She will be self employed and entitled to take holidays if she is wishes. It is an inconvenience to parents, but they have annual leave and should be able to cover the cm holiday if they are given enough notice. Just beasue you are a cm doesn't mean you forfit your right to a life.
It does sound perfectly doable, childminding is hard work, it's not a case of just picking children up from school and passing the time till they are collected and the pp have had some good points about your children and the logistics of being a cm, but if you want to make it work, I'm sure you can.
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