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Am I being overly anxious about hazards at CM’s house?

(107 Posts)
YorkMum85 Wed 11-Sep-19 10:55:25

I’d really love some opinions on this as I’m struggling. I am an anxious person anyway and am trying not to let it interfere with daily life, so sometimes it’s hard for me to see when I’m overreacting!

Daughter has recently turned 2 and has just started with a new childminder. She’s absolutely lovely and I think we’ll all work well together except for the issue of safety, or my perception of it at least.

There are a few large trees in the CM garden which shed small pine cones and conkers, and I’ve noticed that these don’t get cleared up that regularly, they are there for my DD to pick up (which she does). Unless the CM is on her every second of the day, I don’t understand how she can be sure this doesn’t pose a choking risk. I know it’s all part of Autumn and nature, so I’m not sure if I’m making too much fuss to expect them to be swept away every morning.

Secondly, the stair-gate has been left open twice when I’ve been there, and one time we couldn’t see my DD after she had headed in that direction, so she may well have been climbing the stairs (she wasn’t). She’s not confident on stairs yet at all and I’ve never left her near any without a stair-gate on.

I’ve mentioned these concerns twice to my CM and she’s been very kind and understanding, but the debris is still in the garden, and the stair-gate was still open when I went round this morning! Am I being over the top here? I know DD has to learn about hazards eventually, but this feels a bit too risky at such a young age..l

Any advice or experience you have on this matter is gratefully received!

OP’s posts: |
Thiswayorthatway Wed 11-Sep-19 11:27:42

Over anxious about the pine cones yes but not the stair gate.

BumpkinSpiceBatty Wed 11-Sep-19 14:12:27

Are you seriously expecting a childminder to clear up pinecones and conkers from a tree? What is going to happen if the cm takes her to a local woodland or even a park?
If the stairgate was open when you went round this morning maybe there were no other children who require it to be in use until your child arrives and then she would put it into use?

PotteringAlong Wed 11-Sep-19 14:14:11

You want her to sweep up conkers and pine cones off the floor of her garden?! grin

EssentialHummus Wed 11-Sep-19 14:14:59

Stairgate yes, conkers - no, that’s a bit much. She’ll learn soon enough not to eat them.

Gruzinkerbell1 Wed 11-Sep-19 14:16:06

You’re being very OTT about the conkers and pine cones.

We’re there other young children present while the stair gate was open? My guess is that she closes it once your DD arrives and her working day begins.

insancerre Wed 11-Sep-19 14:16:19

You are being overly anxious

tommycockles Wed 11-Sep-19 14:16:31

Yes, you are being over anxious.

HeadintheiClouds Wed 11-Sep-19 14:19:10

Sweep the garden every morning grin. The stair gate, maybe, maybe not. At 2, she needs to be getting used to stairs, tbh.

SuperSange Wed 11-Sep-19 14:20:30

Your child needs to learn how to use the stairs.
Please don't ask the CM to sweep the garden.

NoSquirrels Wed 11-Sep-19 14:20:40

I think you need to trust your CM. I think you do sound over anxious to me - most 2 year olds will be closely supervised outside anyway, and as soon as the DC are in the house I’m sure the stair gate is shut.

My CM handover was a quick thing at the door, so I wouldn’t be clocking the state of the garden at 7.30 am or noticing the stair gate.

Do you leave your DD with anyone else at all - are you anxious with grandparents in charge, for instance?

NoSquirrels Wed 11-Sep-19 14:23:50

I think for your peace of mind you could start practising the stairs at home with your DD. Assuming she’s been walking for a year or so, stairs should be something she starts to learn how to get up and down safely now.

Drogosnextwife Wed 11-Sep-19 14:25:04

Or she could just get a big net to stretch all the way across he garden so nothing falls into it from anywhere, she doesn't have stones in there does she 😱.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Wed 11-Sep-19 14:26:48

Does your two year old still go for the stairs? I don’t think any of the two year olds I’ve ever looked after would still be interested in the stairs, most follow the rules at my house better than at home!

And sweeping the garden? Just no.

Topseyt Wed 11-Sep-19 14:29:05

You wouldn't be unreasonable to mention the stair gate seeming to be left open, but you are being really OTT regarding the conkers and pine cones.

I never swept up conkers and pine cones when my children were that age.

EmrysAtticus Wed 11-Sep-19 14:33:42

You need to teach a two year old to go up and down stairs safely and conkers and pine cones in a garden are fine.

NannyR Wed 11-Sep-19 14:33:54

Even if you use a stairgate at home, it's really important to teach toddlers how to use stairs safely; there won't be a stairgate on every set of stairs they encounter. The house I work in doesn't have any stairgates on a three storey staircase, the two year old has been "trained" how to go up and down safely ever since she could crawl and I (or her parents) don't have any concerns about her using the stairs on her own now.

YorkMum85 Wed 11-Sep-19 14:53:58

Thanks for the replies. Unanimous on here. Interestingly, I’ve now been told the opposite by childcare workers in real life, so I’m still none the wiser about what’s right.

To answer some questions:

If she takes them to a forest or park, she will be by DDs side constantly as they will be in a public, less familiar space. I’m not naive, I know a CM will need to go to the loo or grab a drink during the day, so I know she won’t have her eyes on DD every second she’s in the garden. The garden is nice and secure, so from the CM’s perspective it’s the perfect time to do the washing up for example. Or perhaps she will need to give attention to another mindee. It only takes a second for a child to put something in their mouth, and the conkers are pretty much the same size as a large marble. Would you leave a 2yr old alone/loosely supervised with two dozen marbles rolling around? As I said, my DD is drawn to the debris and spent a long time picking conkers up and holding them yesterday, and she’s prone to sticking things in her mouth.

I don’t really understand why requesting a manual task of someone who is working is such a big deal. I have to undertake manual tasks quite often in my job, if someone told me I needed to move some of my materials as they could be a hazard I’d comply immediately. It’s not going to be Autumn forever, this is only a few mins task for a short time! Why is this seen as such an unreasonable demand from me?

DD is getting used to stairs, with close supervision. Again, I said the CM didn’t have her eyes on her yesterday, DD was away in to the hallway and could’ve been halfway up the stairs by the time I cracked and suggested we check on her. CM was merrily chatting away to me in the back room!

Sarcastic comments about big nets etc I’ve obviously ignored, my OP was respectful and polite, which is out of reach for some posters I think. I hope you don’t mock people with mental health issues in RL drogo, I’ve had to live with debilitating levels of anxiety and depression for long periods of my life and it’s painful and can be a real struggle.

OP’s posts: |
YorkMum85 Wed 11-Sep-19 15:06:10

NoSquirrels thank you for your response, I missed it. Yes I have GAD and suffer panic attacks, so I am anxious to leave DD with anyone. I’m trying very hard not to let it take over our lives, which is why I often have to ignore my gut reaction and ask for second opinions. I’ve found it very hard to implement as a mother, ‘mother’s instinct’ and all that.

I live in a flat unfortunately so it’s not easy practising with stairs, we do try though.

Perhaps I’m just worrying as it’s something I would never risk personally, leaving small items near a toddler. My former CM was like part of the family and I could trust her implicitly not to do things like this. I’m finding the transition very hard.

OP’s posts: |
30to50FeralHogs Wed 11-Sep-19 15:28:25

As a CM I can assure you that she won’t be taking time out to do the washing up while the DCs are playing in the garden grin.

Looking after your child is HER JOB and she will do that.

Her training will have instilled in her that she needs to be within ear/eyeshot of children at all times, and she will most likely keep loo breaks to once a day when the DCs are sitting watching TV or something, not while they’re juggling chainsaws in the garden. She will not wander inside leaving children unattended for any reason.

You really need to be able to chill out a bit if you’re going to use a CM. In order to be OFSTED registered she will have undergone lots of safety training and will be assessed regularly to make sure she’s complying.

She will have made risk assessments re conkers and pine cones etc in her garden and decided that the learning potential for children who are fascinated by nature outweighs any potential risk of them putting things in their mouths. I’m sure she will get DD to wash her hands after playing with them too.

I can assure you that looking after someone else’s 2 year old is a hell of a job, and not one taken lightly. The huge sense of responsibility you take on as a CM should be respected. If you don’t trust her to do her job properly then use a nursery where your DD will be more easily contained in small groups doing activities. A CM is a more homely environment which provides opportunities for natural learning, but will also be less tightly controlled than a nursery setting. A good trusting relationship between CM and parents is vital.

YorkMum85 Wed 11-Sep-19 15:28:43

Genuine questions in my response btw, not trying to be goady or ignore advice.

OP’s posts: |
NoSquirrels Wed 11-Sep-19 15:38:11

My CM wouldn’t have been washing up or grabbing a drink or off to the loo or changing another child’s nappy etc without making sure the DC were safe and in eyeshot/reach. It’s the difference between a job looking after children and parenting around your household responsibilities, I think.

I don’t know - I do think conkers are not the hazard you think they are. They’re usually a good deal bigger than marbles, for instance.

It is hard to know when to insist and when to step back.

YorkMum85 Wed 11-Sep-19 15:39:55

Many thanks for your reply 30to50. You’ve really given me some insight in to how CMs see their role and why that should allay my fears. I know CMs can be a more relaxed setting than a nursery, and I like that in terms of free play and a less stringent routine, but I personally need the environment to be as risk free as possible. I just can’t reconcile in my mind why someone would leave a potential hazard lying around when it’s very little work to remove it (I’d guess 4/5 minutes a morning).

It was the settling in session where I spotted all these things by the way, I wasn’t lurking behind a paper in dark glasses! Tempting as it is to help my anxiety.

I completely agree that we need to have a mutually trusting relationship, and I want to be a good client, we have never missed any payments with our previous CM or turned up early/late, always given good notice for holidays etc. I don’t want to become a pain in the arse for our new CM as she really is excellent in so many ways, but I have to be able to go about my daily business without dreading the phone ringing with bad news. I’m just trying to work out if I can or not based on the status quo.

OP’s posts: |
westcountrychicken Wed 11-Sep-19 15:43:04

Garden fine, stairs depend on the child, one of mine was competent at 18months the other at nearer three years.

YorkMum85 Wed 11-Sep-19 15:43:58

NoSquirrels these are quite small conkers, I think the wind shook them off the tree early. They are basically the size of gobstoppers... and I don’t want them stopping DD’s gob at the risk of being flippant!!

Reassuring to hear that CMs are more on it than I thought. I just assumed there would be periods where DD was only loosely supervised; loo breaks/food prep. Happy to be corrected!

OP’s posts: |

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