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Help me decide on childminder or nanny

(40 Posts)
ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 12:46:35

I am returning to work in September (4 days/week) and panicking (sleepless nights) about childcare for my 5 year old (starting in Reception in September) and 18 month old. Money is an issue. I'm in London.

I've looked into various options (nannies, nursery, au pairs) and can't work out what do. I'm talking to two nannies at the moment:

1. Nanny recommended to me by a friend's nanny. The nanny is young (22) and has 3 years experience with children the same age as mine. I've not yet checked references or had a trial. Based on one interview so far she seems lovely, mature, responsive to things I'm concerned about eg safety on the road (I like my 5 year old to be beside me at all times by busy roads and I know parents who are more relaxed). She is not Ofsted registered but says she will do that if we want her to be. We would and I've looked into the process, have located courses to suggest and we would contribute most of the associated costs.
2. Highly experienced nanny/part-time school teacher who has completed long term posts and through an agency short term posts. She talked about her approach to childcare in a way that I appreciate. She only accepts cash, says she is self-employed and will provide evidence but should this worry me? Again I've not checked references or arranged a trial.

Or, I am waiting to hear from a childminder with her own children at my DD's new school to see if she has spaces.

Or I back track and don't return to work for a while.

I'm used to using my head not my gut instinct to make decisions. Apart from being a mother I have no means to judge quality.

It's such an important decision.

Cindy34 Wed 05-Aug-15 14:35:53

Does nanny1 have childcare training at level 2 or above? Ofsted registration can take a while and they would need to meet the criteria before registering.

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 16:00:08

She doesn't have formal training. As I understand it babyem provides short courses (a day for core skills and a day for first aid) that cover what is needed to meet the criteria.

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 16:01:48

I understand registration can take 12 weeks. We would expect the courses to be come red prior to her start date and would include a 12 week grace period to become registered.

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 16:02:41

Completed not come red!

Artandco Wed 05-Aug-15 16:19:35

Personally I would get an au pair and combine with nursery for your cheapest option

Au pair can do 3-6/7 pm with 5 year old, and collect youngest from nursery at 5pm.

£50 a day nursery -£250 a week
Au pair -£100 a week

£350 a week total

A nanny in comparison will be about £500 net, £650 ish including tax and insurance

( nanny cannot be self employed if they can't decide times and days themselves. So if you need every week and nanny can't turn you down she had to be employed)

Iggly Wed 05-Aug-15 16:25:42

I wouldn't have an au pair for a toddler. Too young.

I'd go for the younger nanny if her references hold up or the childminder.

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 16:26:58

Thanks for your message. According to my calculations the cost of nanny 1 equates to the cost of the nursery/au pair arrangement. I also need to sort school holidays-logistics and payment. I worry a lot about selecting a reliable au pair.

Iggly Wed 05-Aug-15 16:28:26

What is your job like? Are your hours quite stable? If so then a childminder. If not, then the nanny.

Both DH and I work. Having a nanny is by far the easiest option for us. We had a temp childminder when our nanny was off on maternity leave and it was a nightmare logistically even though she was close to the station. Doing morning drop offs was tough for us as we would be late for work then have to be out early. As it was only temp, our employers were very understanding.

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 16:37:31

My new employer seems family friendly and I've said upfront the hours I'd like which are recognised in the contract. It's a new job so things will unfold when I start but my attitude towards work/life balance is more firm than it was.

I also wonder whether the childminder would help my older daughter become settled into school as the CM will be looking after others at the school and is very involved in the school herself. She's not able to commit (if at all) until nearer my start date.

Artandco Wed 05-Aug-15 17:06:49

Iggy - au pair would only be used for 5 year old mainly, and collecting 18 month from nursery if it closes before op is home

Cindy34 Wed 05-Aug-15 19:20:43

No.2 yes I would be worried. Whilst they may be self employed for some occasional work they do, that would not be the case for a permanent job. They too may need to go through the Ofsted registration process.

Good that you have looked in to courses, the first first aid will need to be done prior to registration and the other one done before registration completion. There is also a DBS check that is needed to be done before registration can begin, so adds more time, though they can come through quite quickly if someone has not moved around that much.

Cindy34 Wed 05-Aug-15 19:23:41

I would look more in to nanny 1, see how keen they are and if they would accept a salary that you have in mind. Meanwhile I would also wait to hear from the childminder, as that could work well for term time... would they also do most of the school holidays if you coordinate your holiday time, as you will both be restricted to holidays during school holiday periods.

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 19:55:54

Yes the CM does work during school holidays but not the whole time.

Nanny 1 is keen and she's already told me the rate she'd like which we can afford (based on the Mr Anchovy PAYE calculator).

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 19:57:39

Babyem say they can organise the DBS check as part of one of their courses. Not sure if that's necessary though and may be as easy/cheaper to sort ourselves, if we do that?

Cindy34 Wed 05-Aug-15 20:32:33

Ofsted uses Capita to do the DBS check. I think cost is around £55 plus then £13 a year for Update Service. www.Ofsteddbsapplication.co.uk

MrAnchovy calculator does not work for this tax year but figure may be close. Once you have gross figure, run it through www.uktaxcalculators.co.uk to see what taxes are in 2015/16 tax year, based on 1060L taxcode. Though nannies tax code could be anything, with luck 1060L if their only job.

Cindy34 Wed 05-Aug-15 20:33:27

DBS on Update Service is essential for Ofsted Registration, so it will need to be done via Capita or BabyEm.

Cindy34 Wed 05-Aug-15 20:37:15

BabyEm charge more for the DBS check but they do the ID form. Can be got cheaper through Capita but nanny would need to know someone suitable to do the ID check form. Have a look at Step 4, you can download the ID form and see if you or the nanny knows anyone who could sign the ID form.

jaffajiffy Wed 05-Aug-15 20:41:39

We hired a nanny and paid for her to be ofsted registered. If you can afford it, I'd go for the nanny. Registration took an age and I'm not sure why but yes there are one day courses. We use a firm to do the paperwork for us including tax calculations and payslips, which is v helpful.

pommedeterre Wed 05-Aug-15 20:46:38

We do a mixture. Two days a week we have a nanny, youngest two do two days a week in nursery. Means in schools hols some faffing for eldest but as nanny has childminding relation not too bad!

ConfusedAboutChildcareDecision Wed 05-Aug-15 20:58:48

Your posts are so very helpful-thank you

Pico2 Wed 05-Aug-15 21:33:01

I don't know what area you work in, but I would be very wary of paying cash as it sounds iffy and could have professional repercussions for some people in finance/accounting roles.

If you are considering an au pair/nursery combination then you need to look at all of the little costs - extra food, heating during the day etc.

CityDweller Wed 05-Aug-15 21:41:35

While I love our cm, and we're very lucky in that DD is her sole mindee, if we had more money and more space at home a nanny would have been better. Problem with cm is that if she or her kids are sick she has to close down, so we've lost lots of days that way. And she obviously won't take DC if they're ill, so more lost days there. She also takes a lot of holiday (8 weeks a year), so it means that all/most of our holiday time is used up covering childcare and we rarely get a family holiday of our own.

Luckily for us both our work is very flexible. But, still, we've lost so many workdays over the past two years due to DD not being able to go the CM/ the CM being on holiday.

MakeItACider Thu 06-Aug-15 23:22:42

If you can afford the nanny, then do so. When your child starts school she might well will be tired by the end of the day or week, and going home and resting will be much nicer for her. A nanny will be able to spend time reading with her, learning her high frequency words etc, a childminder won't.

Also, having a nanny means you/she can organise playdates which will help with friendship forming for your DD.

Thirdly and very importantly, if your DD is ill, the nanny will be able to look after her. With a childminder if your DD is ill, if the Childminder is ill, or if the Childminder's children are ill you will need to take time off to look after your DD and/or do the school run. His can add up to a LOTof days off from work for you.

softhedgehog Fri 07-Aug-15 07:57:56

Nanny 2 may be self employed for her other jobs, but if you want her to come on the same 4 days every week then she is almost certain to have to be employed by you. If you get it wrong all the penalties will fall on to you and not to her so be very careful.

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