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MIL to be childminder - any concerns?(32 Posts)
We've been planning what happens when I go back to work, which will be full-time, when DD is 9 months old. MIL has offered to do the childcare, she'll retire early, in return we'll pay her £1000 a month. OH and I both work RIDONCULOUS hours and so it's a generous offer on her part, because she's aware she'll need to cover nights and weekends at times. (She doesn't like her current job and she absolutely loves DD.)
We've agreed it verbally among ourselves, but haven't confirmed it yet. And in the meantime I'm having some niggles in my mind, which I'm finding it very hard to express.
Would you have any concerns with the above arrangement?
What are some things we should be aware of / prepare for?
Legally, she's going to pay tax and NI contributions out of what we give her. Is anything else required?
What are some of the challenges on the more personal/emotional side? We get on well at the moment,
but I'm already getting upset at the thought that DD will start loving MIL more than she loves me...
I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that you could pay her as a nanny, if she'll be mainly in your house, but if she'll be in hers she would be a childminder and have to be ofsted registered. I may be wrong but do check it out. Otherwise there are the issues about combining family and money, can you really have an employee/employer relationship, what happens if she disagrees with your parenting style etc.
And what if you want to end the arrangement for any reason? Can she undo he retiring, could she afford to retire without this income?
Is she the sort of MIL who will take on board the things you think are important, or the sort who will say that "this is how it was done in my day and your DH turned out fine". And are you going to be the sort of parents who are flexible about things, or who have a very set routine that you will be upset if she breaks? If you have your red lines (car seats etc) but are flexible on things like routine it probably has more chance of working.
If she's your nanny you will need to pay her holiday pay etc - if she's your childminder she will need to be ofsted registered.
No she will not have to be Ofsted registered as she is an immediate member of family. She can care for your dd in your house or hers.
If you want to pay her in childcare vouchers then she would need to join the Ofsted voluntary register but this is NOT the same as becoming a childminder, far less complex!!
I think if you have a good relationship with mil and similar ideas on parenting it would be perfect. My only concern would be if you have differing views etc.
I do think you need to ensure that you are very clear about all aspects of the arrangement from the outset. You could Draw up a basic contract. Decide who pays for and provides what, food, outings. What happens when mil wants a holiday? What happens if mil or dd are sick. Will she take her to playgroups, how much tv will she let her watch, will she feed her Greggs or homemade organic food etc etc
She doesn't need to be ofsted reg since she is the child's grandmother unless you wish to claim tax credits or use childcare vouchers.
I think you will have to employ her as a nanny though. I don't think this arrangement will be accepted as self employment for her.
She will have to be registered if she working from her own house.
Her home will have to meet certain criteria, she will need to satisfy Ofsted ( if you are English) with her policies, risk accessments, fire drill etc
She will need public liability insurance.
Will she want to take on other mindees?
Will she have holidays?
What if she is sick?
Holiday and sick pay would usually be stated in your contracts.
There's quite a lot to it. Are you sure her becoming a childminder is the best route?
If you are using childcare vouchers she will have to be registered, but if you're not it might be easier to have her as a self employed nanny.
Sorry, you are correct lucky.
If she wanted to expand and have more mindees or if childcare vouchers were being used she would have to be registered.
I think you'll need to register as her employers and sort her tax/NI etc.
It's one of those arrangements that could go either way, depending on you/MIL etc. Personally I wouldn't employ family. I'd prefer to keep the relationship with my childcare provider professional. I think it's easier to specify exactly what you want that way. Although obviously you get the benefit of DD spending all that time with family rather than a 'stranger'.
There are lots of issues around how you want to parent and how she thinks you should parent. There are lots of issues around what the DC hears from MIL while you are not there and she is. My MIL minded my DD for a short day once a week (at her request and unpaid) for about two years. It was only about four or five hours total. It was fraught with difficulty. MIL couldn't understand that I thought that a six month old shouldn't eat chocolate on a regular basis (maybe ever, certainly not every week). She didn't get that I did actually want DD to have naps at the times she was tired and not when it was convenient for MIL. I often got home to a howling baby who hadn't been given the opportunity to nap when she'd have liked to because MIL wanted to play with her. MIL was just difficult. She had a different set of ideas about how children need to be treated than I had. I had far less difficulty with my aunt who minded DD for another short day but was more on board with my own ideas and was happy to be told what I'd like her to do and how and when. And didn't give a tiny baby chocolate at every opportunity. If you want family to do childcare, I'd definitely suggest getting someone from your own family if at all possible.
Some of my friends started off using grandparents as regular childcare. A few years down the line and it seems that only those who have to use grandparents for financial reasons are still doing so. Reasons why it hasn't worked out longer term:
- grandparents were willing and able to look after a crawling/toddling 1yo who had naps but had forgotten how hard it can be to look after a 2yo (half a dozen instances);
- parents had a second DC and grandmother couldn't cope with both (half a dozen instances);
- differing views on child rearing which make more obvious as the children got older (half a dozen instances);
- grandmother got very bored and missed the interaction and company of her job (she was taking the baby to baby groups but found the mums to be polite but not that friendly, her own friends were either at work or retired but the retired ones didn't always want to do something toddler friendly);
- grandmother got cancer & couldn't look after child whilst going through treatment (one off);
- grandfather (who had worked full time) got made redundant with good payout & wanted to take frequent holidays &, when at home, didn't want to have a child with them all of the time;
- grandmother's other child had a drug addiction and moved back in to get clean and parents no longer felt it was appropriate (one off).
Whilst I would love my parents to live closer & was initially envious of all of my friends who were getting at least one day of free childcare a week, over the years I have realised it is fraught with difficulties. The added difficulty for you is that your MIL will have given up work so is presumably going to be dependent on you for her income. What happens if it doesn't work out? Could she reduce to part time at work, having your DC for the days she wasn't working and extra overnight sessions when necessary?
She can't be your employee as she won't be earning minimum wage. currently £6.50/hour.
If the care is mostly in her home, I don't see any problem in her being classes as a childminder, the law was changed to make it easier for grandparents to be carers.
She'll just need to register as self-employed with HMRC. They will clarify things with you.
If she has similar values and parenting style to you then it sounds perfect.
Although, I wouldn't let my MIL look after one of our house plants, never mind any of my children!
My own mum is a CM and minds my dd for a fee. It is a considerably smaller sum than yours, however my DM is also minding other kids so my dd isnt her only source of income. At first I was worried, as it always seems awkward mixing business and family, but we seem to have it down now.
Things I considered, and would do in your shoes - will your DM cover all meals whilst your little one is there? For 1k I would expect mealtime food and snacks.to be provided.
Will she take your LO out for fresh air every day? Will she visit a toddler group at least once a week? Will she do games, arts and craft, stories? Will she ensure your LO is mixing with other kids?
And also, how reliable is she? Will she drop days or ask you to jig your shifts around because she has been invited out somewhere with X&Y?
Is 1K a lot? How much would you expect to pay an average childminder over a month?
I charge over £1k per month for 8-6 mon-fri. It's admirable that you're offering her the going rate.
1k is a lot for an unqualified, not first aid trained, not EYFS following babysitter.
It's not much for 1:1 care by someone you trust 100% though. The alternative for OP is to spend more on someone she doesn't know.
I do agree that it would be sensible for her to get first aid training though.
If you are employing her as a nanny then you will need to pay nmw which your 'salary' Prob won't be and will look after her in your home
If you use her as a cm then think she will need to register and Obv be in own home
From what I read on here most say not to use relatives whether mil or dm as a carer as niggles will appear
On the emotional side - I remember how I had exactly the same worries that my DD would be closer to her nanny than me. But actually I came to really treasure the bond between them, as it was so obviously the best thing for her. It can be really tough going back to work, and knowing that your little one is going to spend the whole day with someone they love and trust is incredibly reassuring.
And if you maintain a good bond with her then you'll always be number one. Worth thinking about how you're going to do that?
We have one day a week of gp care (non-paid, entirely GPs choice, we'd have been happy with another nursery day).
Our only issue is her holidays. She has a few weeks a year and they have been the worst possible weeks for us (eg when I've had to travel with work) But that's a general cm vs nursery issue.
I'm surprised how many people are so focused on their relationship with MIL where childcare is involved. You do know it's not just about you? What about the wonderful relationships the child will be able to form? Grandparents care for young children in almost all cultures. I think it is wonderful if a child is able to build a deep relationship with their grandparents. My mother and step mother have looked after all their grandchildren and we've all been adaptable enough to accept each other's child rearing practices.
Of course it's wonderful when children are close to their grandparents. The whole point of the OP was asking what the downsides might be
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