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Childminders and Parents: where do you stand with looking after ill children?(24 Posts)
Firstly just want to say yes I do have a sickness policy but I think it may need revising.
As part of being a childminder I accept that we can (to a degree) offer more flexibility when it comes to looking after ill children, in the past I have happily looked after children with chicken pox and coughs and colds as I appreciate children do catch things and parents can't be off every time. However, I feel like I'm running a children's ward at the moment, and as a result I am ill too, meaning I can't go and see my mom this weekend as planned (she is on round 4 of chemo and has no immunity) which I am gutted about.
Would it be wrong of me to say little ones shouldn't be here if they have a cough? Children, toddlers in particular, don't understand to cover their mouths, and whilst we wash hands regularly, and I bleach and disinfect everything (daily), illnesses still happen. Is it bad of me to think I am doing all I can, therefore parents should keep off for coughs?
I may be being a bit too over sensitive about this because as I said I am upset that I have had to cancel my trip back to see my mom, but any advice would be welcomed.
I wouldn't expect to have to keep child away for cough/cold, as long as no accompanied with any other symptoms, eg fever
I think unfortunately it's the time of year for coughs and colds. I have had no contact with children but I've still got one.
If you have a policy that you won't take kids with ordinary coughs and colds (basically normal ailments that wouldn't stop you going to school) I suspect you'll lose a lot of your business.
Yes I know you are both right. I think I am just frustrated.
I have send two children home this week for a temperature that was creeping up despite calpol and one little boy that was just lying on the floor under a blanket crying (this cold has left me feeling achy and exhausted and I think that's what he was experiencing)
I love my job and don't want to lose any children, so it's just a case of carrying on. Thank you for your replies!
It must be so annoying when you get kids that are clearly too ill to be with you.
Sorry about your mum's illness-how's she doing?
purpledaisies her tumour is shrinking but the chemo is taking its toll, it's very positive Long term, but right now it's tough and she lives alone so I miss and worry about her terribly. thank you for asking xx
Just a cough would be unreasonable.
If they are too unwell to participate in normal activities or need painkillers (I wouldn't administer Calpol tbh) they need to go home.
God luck to her (and you-it's horrible when someone you love isn't well).
Anything more than a normal cough/cold then they stay home for the recommended timeframe. I dont want their germs and neither do my other kids (nor my own kids)
No way would I take kids with chickenpox, some kids have it really mild but for others its horrendous its not up to me to expose other kids to an infectious disease. Guidelines are to stay off until all the spots have scabbed over!
If they are really not well with a cold, high temp, lethargic etc they really should be home not with cm. Its one of the 'perks' of being a parent, you need to look after your own sick child.
Its not going to work telling parents that they have to stay off with just a cold. Kids have them almost continuously over the winter (so do adults!) If its impacting on your visits to your mum then perhaps you could take emergency holiday time so you can stay away from kids for a few days then go visit her?
Hope your mum is feeling better soon.
Thanks for the advice Willow.
I am off for the half term week so will be with her then but was also Hoping to fit a quick weekend visit in this week but I just can't risk it.
I am also beginning to doubt myself and my own policies, I think I have been very lenient in the past, as I mentioned looking after children with chicken pox (all parents at the time were consulted and were happy to still send their kids in) I've also administered calpol and anti-biotics often, which is a lot more than some CMs I have spoken to on here and in RL. Being lenient hasn't worked in my favour and now I am frustrated that it's had an impact on my family time. Just a basic cough and cold I understand you cannot possibly send home, but I've had 3yr old children crying on my lap this week and I think I need to be firmer generally.
A cough fine but if temp or lifeless or crying etc so you can't go out and do usual stuff with other children then they need to go home and off 48hrs
for your Mum
as said above, childcare that won't take with a cough/snotty nose is completely useless but I would exclude for fever above 38, chickenpox or diarrhoea/vomiting
Great news that your mum has a positive long term prognosis, but I understand how difficult it must be right now for you
I do think that you would really struggle to regularly enforce a policy over children having colds, however it might be worth doing so just before you visit your mum and explaining the situation to the parents.
I know that my parent's would totally understand this, but only you know how your parents would take it.
I had a really sick child a few weeks back come to me, Mum told me that she'd had a fever of 40 in the night but it had come down with calpol when she dropped off and I was a bit
Within about 30 mins of being with me it was back up to 39, I called Mum who came and got her. She turned up again the next day and Mum said she was much better... she had snot all over her face at the time and she is not at all a snotty child. She cried all morning, was really upset, red cheeks, fever so I called Mum who didn't come for 3 hours. During those 3 hours little one was sick twice. I felt terribly sorry for the little one as I had to pick up two others from pre-school and couldn't give her the love and attention she really needed when feeling poorly. Also, she was sick in the car onto the carseat next to her which I really needed for the school run and ended up having to walk to the school which is 40 min walk away and
it was cold and rainy
The following day I assumed Mum knew that her child couldn't come again after being sick (I had issued a new sickness policy that she read and signed stating this just a few weeks previous) but no, she turned up usual time and as she was the only child I had that day I was too much of a soft touch to send her home, however I did stress to Mum that it cannot happen again.
I had a little girl last week with what sounded like a horrendous cough, however she was absolutely fine in herself and had no other symptoms other than a tad runny nose. No one else caught it, she is five so knew to cover her mouth and wash her hands regularly etc so I would feel very odd about refusing to care for her but I do see where you are coming from.
I would have refused care the following day if had temp of 40 Previous day
You should have kept calling the parent and badgered them to come or send someone to come get the child. Of course it wasnt fair on anyone least of all the poor child but it sets a precedent and tells the mum that she can ignore you and you will deal with sick child and clean up the mess she makes, and put you and other kids out and spoiling your routine, as well as well as giving you all the extra work washing the car seat etc.
If she turns up again with a sick child just refuse to have her. She knows your policy and has to stick to it.
You do know that if a parent is uncontactable you can call social services after an agreed time? (I have half an hour on my policy although never used it yet it just focuses the mine ) I would make up a policy to this effect and hand it out, give her a very strong hint
Our nursery policy seems fair - they have to be able to cope with the ratio. If they're clingy and need 1:1 because they just want cuddles, they need to go home. Also a temp that doesn't respond to Calpol in 30 mins gets them evicted
A cough that isn't making them unwell in themselves is fine.
Yes I do agree with you and I do know that being more stern and sticking to my policies is something to work on.
I find it difficult as I do think of my parents as very good friends, but obviously friends wouldn't do what she did!
I think it was one of those things where she hadn't really thought about the extra strain she would put on me, just about the inconvenience a sick child would have on her day.
My kids have coughs and colds all autumn and winter, but I have a policy that if they are too poorly to take part in normal activities, they have to go home.
Can you FaceTime or Skype your mum?
HSMMaCM oh yes we Skype often, still marvelling at the joys of modern technology!
I feel similarly to elbekind in that I have very good policies but I need to be stronger at enforcing them, late payment fee is another example of this!
Unfortunately,it's one of the perks of the job! However, you could have an office job and still end up in the same situation! You can't exclude for every cough and sniffle-it's just not practical for parents and you could lose work because of it.
I've been a CM for 16 years. 3 years ago my Mum was also undergoing chemo and there were a couple of occasions when I couldn't see her because I'd picked something up. She understood, and knew it was one of those things that couldn't be helped.
Another cm here! That sucks that you can't go and see your mum.
Agree with the others, if it's just a cough and no temperature then i wouldn't send home.
I just wanted to add that a cm local to me was given inadequate because she had a child with chicken pox during her inspection. Even though she had parental permission OTSTED said she wasn't fulfilling her duty of care and putting the children at risk.
I've become stricter on illness over the years. I now don't give medicine unless prescribed by a doctor unless a temperature appears during the day. Then it's a dose of calpol and a probable phone call to parents to collect early. I've had parents in the past try to bring in obviously poorly children and asking me to medicate every two hours (paracetamol/ibuprofen alternated). It's not fair on the child who is poorly, the other children who might catch the germs and loose my attention because I'm too busy dealing with poorly child and it's not fair on me.
I take a dim and judgey view of parents who don't collect quickly when I phone because their child is really poorly. The last one didn't believe their child could be poorly as they had been well in the morning so hadn't rushed back. The 10 month old had a high temperature that wasn't responding to calpol. I phoned at about 2pm and they came 10 minutes earlier than normal at 4.50. It's not good enough.
I can understand why you are so upset about not seeing your mum, but I don't honestly think a chilcare business can survive if they exclude children with normal levels coughs and colds with no other symptoms (like a fever).
Thank you for all your thoughtful replies.
I definitely need to be firmer and not look after children who are needing round the clock calpol.
I think it's very easy to let this job take over your lives, but this is the first time I've notice it impact my family also and I was upset thurs/Friday of last week.
Thank you for the support
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