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Going back to childminding. Am I mad? Tell me it will all be fine.

(16 Posts)
FrazzleRock Mon 12-Sep-16 13:33:33

Hello again my old childminding crew,

I have been out of childminding for about 3.5 years. Background, I have been in the childcare industry since I left college (actually since school if you count babysitting, work experience etc.). I was a nanny for years then, when I had my own children, worked from home as a childminder. It made sense and I enjoyed it.
The reason I gave it up was mainly Ofsted and their demands and inconsistencies. I loved the actual childcare part of it and have remained in contact with nearly all my charges, including those I used to nanny years ago. The other issue I think was that I used to live in a very small flat which, with two of my own children on top of my charges, was really rather cramped and just did not have enough space to run a home business.

Fast forward to now and we have moved to a much bigger house in another area. The last three years I have been working in technology in an office full time. I loved it at the beginning and being able to 'go out' to work. However, the commute is a killer now we've moved, financially and logistically. we also have to pay for after school and holiday childcare for our 7 year old which is eating all our wages on top of travel. He loves his childminder and the holiday club but it is £££ and it would be lovely to be able to see my children, rather than shove them into bed as soon as I get home.

The big thing for us though is we'd really like to try for another baby. We had a surprise pregnancy in February this year which absolutely filled us with joy, but sadly we lost her. It's kind of put a huge drive into trying again but, essentially, if I carried on doing what I'm doing, we simply could not afford it with the extra childcare (full time at that).

So here I am asking you guys if I would be crazy to give up my career in the tech world and going back to my roots. I could probably earn roughly what I'm earning now if I take into account the amount I spend on travel and childcare. Though I will have to pay for courses and equipment, insurance etc...
To be honest, I haven't even escaped Ofsted, as the company I moved to has Ofsted as one of their customers so I have to deal with them regularly in another capacity (oh how I laughed when I first moved!)

Do you still love childminding?
Is the Ofsted work still a pain in the arse? Is it worse? Is it risky becoming self employed when we have such a big mortgage?

I think I just want someone to tell me "It will all be fine! You'll love childminding again!" but I know nothing is guaranteed (our devastating experience this year has proved that).

hookiewookie29 Mon 12-Sep-16 19:34:51

I've been minding for 17 years and have seen masses of changes. What counts is how much you let them get to you. I do the minimum of paperwork that is necessary and refuse to stress about it.
Download a copy of the latest EYFS to look at. To be honest, the only time I see Ofsted is on inspection day which were nearly six years apart last time!
Firstly you need to check your area and find out what demand there is for childminders. It's no good starting out if there's no call for them. Getting registered can take over 12 months now. Some areas want planning permission for minding. However, it is fab to be at home with your own kids when they need you!

NuffSaidSam Tue 13-Sep-16 00:10:17

Have you considered going back to nannying? All the fun and much less stress from an Ofsted point of view. Plus maternity pay.

FrazzleRock Tue 13-Sep-16 07:42:16

Thanks guys. hookiewookie you're right, its how much I let them get to me and I'm quite sensitive so it got to me a lot when I was trying my hardest and they constantly put me down. This was after years of nannying and being praised for my work all the time (I worked for some very lovely families). This time I would know what to expect, I guess.

Getting registered can take over 12 months now. Some areas want planning permission for minding - I didn't know this! I will look into it. Also, I have been advised by my local council that it can take up to 6 months, but I will bear 12 months in mind.

NuffSaid I couldn't go into nannying knowing that I want another baby. Besides, I have two school aged DC already so my income would be a lot lower to take them into account, if I was even able to find a nanny job that would accommodate my own children. I did love nannying though and do miss it. I cant imagine a nanny job where they'd accept my 2 DC plus a baby so I think that ship has sailed! Maybe I could go back to it when my children are grown up.

Maryann1975 Tue 13-Sep-16 14:35:52

I would say the paperwork side of things is worse. In our area we keep being told of new things that are being brought in and different things ofsted are looking for and it sometimes feels as though you can't keep up.
On a daily basis with the children, i love it, but when my early years advisor came to see me in the summer she picked up on so many things that she wanted me to do, it's ridiculous. (For example, district profiles, apparently childminders need to know about these, have a copy and be able to reference to them if ofsted want to know anything. We need to be able to link our practise to the problem areas in these profiles, eg, in my ward, 10% of children start school over weight, what am I doing to tackle this, etc, etc,etc).
It all makes me quite stressed as I don't see it as necessary to providing good quality childcare to the children I look after.
You know all the pros of the job and to be honest, that's why I'm still here.

lotusbiscuit Tue 13-Sep-16 18:59:16

I had OFSTED last week - they were here for four hours and I only have one early years. The report they produced could have been written by a year 6 child. confused
I do it to be with my children and they come first.
If you look at the EYFS you can get away with a minimum of paperwork and still get good. You can manage your own hours, earn as little or as much as you like.
There is a lot more support now, Facebook support groups etc.
the PP story about profiles is so unfair - it's what puts childminders off. However, it is a huge responsibility looking after other people's children. We should be well trained but not at the expense of caring.
The dicotomy is that people still moan about paying for childcare but happily handover thousands to their builder/ architect and even their hairdresser but resent paying a few quid an hour for quality childcare.
I digress. Could you buddy up with a Childminder locally and see what is new?

hookiewookie29 Tue 13-Sep-16 21:15:45

Frazzle remember this-Ofsted are not your priority-your minded children and their families are. I have a saying-they come in happy, they go home happy and they're happy to come again. And that's what matters most. I have great relationships with all my families, and most have been with me for years,and it says a lot to me that they keep coming back. I took a massive step back from paperwork a couple of years ago, and only do the absolute bare minimum that they ask for in the EYFS .....I don't do planning, trackers, end of term reports,risk assessments....and I only do the necessary training courses. I waited nearly 6 years between my last 2 inspections, and during that time I had 3 EYFS children from babies who grew up and started school---all that paperwork that Ofsted like you to do because it's 'good practice' and it all went to waste.The parents aren't interested in it and most don't have a clue what we have to do-as long as their children are fed, watered and happy, that's all they're bothered about.
I'm not a teacher, or a nursery nurse.....I'm a childminder offering home from home care and that's how it's going to stay! And as long as I do what it says in the EYFS, they ain't gonna shut me down!!
Maryann your early years advisor is talking out of her bum!! Ofsted inspect you, not them-none of what you have written that she says you need is in the EYFS so why on earth waste time doing it?? So many childminders get worked up by early years advisors telling them a million things they have to have to do,and it terrifies them! I haven't had a visit from one in about 8 years, have had 2 inspections since and kept my good grade both times, with very minor recommendations so I've managed alright without them!
So many excellent minders are giving up because of paperwork, but a lot of what they do is not an EYFS requirement and they lose sight of who they're doing it for-Ofsted or the children?-and,as each inspector inspects completely differently ( which is hugely annoying ), it could end up being a massive waste of time if the inspector doesn't want to see it.

Maryann1975 Tue 13-Sep-16 21:33:47

Hookie, you've told me what I need to hear. All the stuff I have been told to do, you are right, none of it is in the eyfs. When I meet with other local cms we all say the same, we do what they ask and then the next time, they find other things to tell us to do, so we do all that and then next time the same.
All the stuff that actually relates to the children is done and sorted (planning, observations, tracking, 2 year checks), policies etc. It's all the extra stuff, it does my head in.
You are also right when you say it would be so much easier if all ofsted inspectors looked for the same things. I have no desire to be outstanding, so I need to take the advice and leave the list she has given me tucked at the back of my folder.

hookiewookie29 Tue 13-Sep-16 22:06:19

All my CM friends get massively frustrated by it all.I think I'm just a bit more laid back than them! One of them got an Outstanding 6 years ago. Last year she was inspected again and got Good. She said the relief at being downgraded was massive! The stress of trying to stay outstanding was driving her mad! I too have no desire to be outstanding_I could get requires improvement and I know that none of my families would leave because they know that their children are happy with me.
So much of an inspection is based on paperwork that when a CM gets inspected, only a small part of it seems to be about the actual care of the children. I know a now retired CM who was fantastic with the children-she was like a Granny to them.They adored her. She was reduced to tears by an Ofsted inspector because her paperwork wasn't up to scratch.She packed it in a few weeks later.
I also have a friend who was looking at being a CM. The early years advisor told her that she needed to replace the windows in the garage because a child might hit them with a ball and get cut on the glass..??? She didn't go any further with it, because she couldn't be doing with the hassle.
Just keep up with legislation-register with the Ofsted website so you get relevant emails, and there are various facebook groups for CM's that you can join-as with all FB groups, though, some of them get a bit above themselves and self righteous sometimes!

Blue4ever Tue 13-Sep-16 22:13:16

Ok ofsted does get to me sometimes but what I struggle with at the moment are a- the amount of stuff in my house, two pushchairs, travel cots, high chairs, stair gates, posters, not to mention all the toys and resources. I feel like my house is not my home anymore, especially now that my own children are older. And b- the cleaning. The bloody cleaning and tidying up. Paperwork, I can deal with. But cleaning I am fed up with.

Blue4ever Tue 13-Sep-16 22:15:38

Oh yes and ofsted with their stupid recomendations. At my last visit they recommended that I'd give children free access to a computer. At the time I only had three children - all under the age of thee. Why oh why would I give a tablet to a 10 month old baby??

hookiewookie29 Tue 13-Sep-16 22:31:16

I have a small conservatory that I use as a playroom, and hubby built a bigger shed to put stuff in. My friend CM's from a ground floor flat-she keeps boxes of toys in her garage and rotates 3 or 4 per week.And it's less to tidy up! I don't use travel cots-they sleep in pushchairs or on the sofa when they're bigger and the parents are fine with that.I have never used stair gates-the door from my living room to the hall stays shut and the older children know to close it behind them.Although even the 18 month old closes it if it accidentally gets left open! I have one fold up high chair-as the kids get older they sit on cushions at the table.I do put posters up in the conservatory-however, if I didn't have that, there's no way I'd put them on my living room walls!! The only things you HAVE to display are your registration certificate and the parents poster.That's it. The rest of my certificates are in a folder. The cleaning gets done as and when-I have all hard floors downstairs which get a lick and a promise most days! And the biscuit tin acts as a good bribe if you want tidying up done...!
Even CM's who get Outstanding have to have a recommendation-because, as my friend was told, nobody is perfect.....hers was because she didn't plant seeds with the little one.......who was 8 months old......and likely to eat them........

FrazzleRock Wed 14-Sep-16 16:08:39

This is all really good and giving me the enthusiasm to get back on the childminding horse! I have booked a chiildminding briefing session for Monday morning so I will see how that goes.

Regarding paperwork, I think I will be a lot more organised this time as I actually have space to sit at a proper desk with space to keep my business folders etc. When I lived at the flat, there was nowhere. I had to do paperwork from my bed which was impossible and there was nowhere to keep paperwork.

I will keep you posted about Monday....

HSMMaCM Thu 15-Sep-16 09:48:11

I still love minding. Just remember the paperwork is not a competition. Just do what you need to do to communicate with parents and track the children's progress. There's a couple of legal bits and then you're done. If you don't want to be printing 50 photos a day and collating beautiful learning journals then you don't have to.

hookiewookie29 Thu 15-Sep-16 19:38:35

Good luck Frazzle! I agree with HSMM-just do what you have to do ....and enjoy!

FrazzleRock Mon 19-Sep-16 16:33:35


I went to the briefing this morning. My only issue is how much it's all going to cost to set up.

- Health declaration from GP (whatever they charge)
- Childminder start up course £250
- Car business cover
- First Aid course £80 - £100
- Ofsted fee £35
- Public liability ins approx £50
- DBS and update service for DP £44 (I have one in place already)
- Information Commissioners Office for taking photos £35
- Safety equipment and toys/pram etc (I had all this when I was CMing before but got rid of everything! That's going to be ££££

I know there is a Childcare Business grant of £500 but its not guaranteed as it looks like it might be scrapped.

Think I may need to sell a limb before I do anything....

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