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after-school London childcare - what to ask, how to feel and so on!

(7 Posts)
lenoz Thu 03-Dec-15 16:06:32

Our daughter (4th birthday in June) will soon be moving out of her current preschool which she has outgrown (it's just a nursery, flexible hours between 7am and 7pm) and starting in January at a new preschool as part of a primary school. This means school hours, so we need to arrange a Monday-Friday childminder to pick her up from school at around 3:30pm and look after her until we get home from work around 5:30pm.

I have a few questions that I'm hoping some of you can help with, as much as anything I think it's just about allaying fears and worries:

- other than general chat, are there any great questions to ask potential childminders when we meet them?

- whilst I'm open-minded and even excited about finding a childminder, at the same time the thought bewilders me!
- - Partly it's about the relationship between child and childminder - do we just trust our instinct, knowing that our daughter is well-behaved and grown-up enough that she's surely going to like the person we pick? Or should all the childminder candidates have some 'test time' with our daughter so that she can help us decide?
- - some worries are also protective parent things - how have you guys got over the idea that essentially you are entrusting your child into the care of someone who is essentially a complete stranger?

- we'll be picking someone who lives close to us (and the school) and our plan is for them to use our flat in those childminding hours so that our daughter is in a familiar environment with all her own stuff about. Is this normal or should we not be giving the childminder access to our family home until further down the line?

- www.childcare.co.uk looks to be the most obvious source for finding childminders. Has anybody here used it? What are your thoughts and experiences of the process and the people advertising on there?

Thank you so much to anyone who can offer any help, ideas, or reassurance! I'm probably not as fearful or nervous as this rambling post may suggest, I just think it would be nice to have some reassuring conversation about these kind of things.

Karoleann Thu 03-Dec-15 16:24:41

Hi Lenoz,

You're confused between a nanny and a childminder. Childminders only look after children in their own home and nannies in their employers home.

If its a childminder you're after (so someone who is registered and approved by a government agency), then it may be a case of who actually has space in their setting. The preschool will have a list of childminders who pick up from the preschool.

A nanny is usually an employee and will work from your home, you want an after-school nanny. There is a specific category for after-school nannies on childcare.co.uk. Or you can advertise on gumtree. You may struggle to get someone who only wants to work 2 hours a day. After school nannies in central London earn around £12/net per hour.
You need to ensure they have a DBS check among other things.
Yes, you can arrange a trial day to see how the nanny interacts with your child.
If you need someone in the school holidays, some nannies will work full days in the holidays and then you can even out the pay over the school year, which can make after-school jobs more attractive.

As it is quite difficult to get someone for short hours, many parents chose to have an au pair.

I'd get going with the search ASAP too!

lenoz Thu 03-Dec-15 17:33:30

Thanks Karole Ann,

Yes, to be honest I was foolish not to spot that there was a more consistent difference between the definition of "nanny" and "childminder" and had been using them almost interchangeably.

Good to know to aim around the £12 mark.

Found some good options on childcare.co.uk. Hoping meeting them will put mind at ease!

SexNamesRFab Thu 03-Dec-15 17:45:53

I found both my childminders by attending the stay and play sessions near and in DDs school and watching the childminders there in action! I asked the ones I liked if they had spaces free or if they could recommend anybody.

maryann1975 Thu 03-Dec-15 23:30:54

When you go to meet the childminder take your dc with you. A good childminder will take the time at this point to talk, play and interact with your child so you should get some idea if your daughter will gel with the new carer.
If you meet a few cms/nannies you might find you rule some out straight away and find you bond really well with some and feel really confident to leave your dc with them.

Cindy34 Fri 04-Dec-15 06:41:33

With one child a childminder will be your lower cost option. A nanny will be very costly as it would be 1:1 care and is for short hours so hard to find someone who only wants a job that short.

You do not mention what your requirements are during school holidays. The current nursery may be open most of the year, your new one and in later years the school may only provide term time. So look at that and work out what you would do. Childminders may offer term time only contracts or all year round contracts. They will have some times of closure, so you will need to coordinate your family holidays with when your childminder is not available.

lenoz Fri 04-Dec-15 08:29:10

Thanks guys for the help setting mind at ease. Definitely going to try a few things I hadn't thought of like asking at the school and a couple of the local playgroup-type places that are nearby that we used to take her to as a baby.

Partner is actually a teacher which obviously has huge benefits in terms of not having to arrange holiday care.

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