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Advice on childminder(23 Posts)
We’ve just had 3 days of settling with a childminder in the area who has come highly recommended. She works with two other Childminders in her home.
Whenever I have gone to drop off or pick up DS, the TV is on in the room the kids are in. It’s usually playing nursery rhyme song videos.
Also, DS has only been there for breakfast and snack times but so far he’s had dry Cheerios and raisin bread which are both quite sugary and which we never have at home.
Is this normal? I’m not really comfortable with the TV being on constantly as I never have it in with DS at home.
Would appreciate some insights and advice!
I should add that the childminder and her helpers are all lovely and sweet. The room they work from though is on the small side and they have between 8-10 kinds each day.
A lot of childminders and nurseries play nursery rhymes as a bit of background music.
Were the children sitting just watching the tv or were they playing and doing other things whilst the music was in the background?
Cheerios and raisin bread are also perfectly normal breakfast items in my opinion. What were you expecting? You could send your own food if you have specific requirements.
My childminder doesn't serve breakfast but lunch and dinner don't include anything sugary. They do have fruit as a snack. As far as I'm aware, they don't have television on. I don't think it's a case of never rather that it's not often they watch TV. All the kids are still young so I don't think TV will interest them much yet.
You can speak to her about food.
After searching for childcare for months I've come to the conclusion that it is very unlikely you're going to find someone totally perfect but liking them and your child seeming happy is one of the best indicators to rely on.
There are set floor space rules laid out to make sure each child has enough room. I’m not sure off the top of my head what they are, but it’s in the EYFS requirements. So if ofsted have said it’s ok for them to be working together, there should be enough room in the property.
I quite often have Alexa playing nursery rhymes in the back ground, which I appreciate isn’t the same as tv, but possibly it’s for the same reasons. Are the dc actually watching the tv or is just on?
What do they serve for other meals? Eg, We have Cheerios For breakfast here, lunch was cheese on toast, cucumber, tomato, pepper, sweet corn, bag of crisps between 4, fruit for pudding. Tea will be fish pie. Snacks were breadsticks and those baby biscuits. So very little sugar apart from the Cheerios. If everything else is balanced, I think it’s fine. But, if you aren’t happy, I’m sure your cm won’t mind you sending your own food for your dc.
Thanks all for the comments.
Past three times I’ve been to pick DS up the older kids are just sitting in the lounge watching TV.
I’ll have a chat to them about food. The raisin bread was given as a snack whereas on the progress sheet they say the only snacks they will give are fruit. We don’t give him anything sugary at home and I don’t want him to get into the habit of having sugary snacks. Cheerios and raisin bread are empty calories and have no nutritional value.
Not sure what they give at lunch as we’ve not been there long enough but will see next week.
Thanks for you help!
If you don't like the food given, you can provide your own. As for TV, I wouldn't be too concerned. What I would be concerned about is that 8 kids are all stuck indoors. What is the outdoor space like? Do the childminders not get out and about with the kids?
I've used three childminders for my DC (one was terrible and only lasted a few weeks!) and all three made use of garden. The two excellent ones were also out most of the day with the preschoolers, taking them to the park, soft play and groups etc. Is any of this happening? If so, I wouldn't be bothered about a bit of telly. If all they are doing is sitting in front of the telly, that's another matter entirely.
I would not be too fussed about the telly if the childminder also does other stuff with them and that is just for a small part of the day. Mine has a NT membership, they go to parks, rhyme times, baby groups, in the summer they spend a lot of time in the garden which is huge and really lovely with mud kitchen area etc, and sometimes a bit further afield to the beach (all of the outings have our permission). We provide a packed lunch, or food that she is happy to cook, and she provides fruit and milk etc. It depends what you want out of a childminder to be honest, yours doesn't sound bad, but perhaps just not what you want.
Also can you ask for a menu of sorts for a tough guide to lunches etc?
I think you’re going to struggle to find a CM because you are being too fussy, and, in some of what you say, you are unreasonable, e.g. Cheerios (which my DC Unfortunately don’t eat because they don’t like the taste) are a good source of fiber, with added iron which can be difficult to get into DCs and various other minerals and vitamins (it also only has 1gr of sugar and sugar is not the devil anyway).
Cheerios aren't empty calories. They are packed with vitamins and minerals. The only problem is their sugar content.
Your CM probably thinks it's a reasonable snack.
Dd's old childminder has a written policy stating tv would only be on, briefly for some quite time after meals (probably to give her a moment to clean up. In practice, she didn't even switch it off when she left the house.
Have you been given her written policies?
In my experience food at cms can be pretty beige, it's been much more varied and similar to our diet at home at nurseries.
Discuss any and all issues directly with your childcare provider. That way you might find a solution. Unfortunately there are a lot of laptop warriors on MN who will jump on because they take pleasure in stoking other people's fears.
All childcare providers face the problem of trying to make every parent happy, when each family has entirely different expectations on screen time, food, words used, behaviour, and a thousand and one other subjects. They don’t know what you want unless you tell. That said, it’s disappointing that the actuality varies from what the sheet said. Most likely they’ve modified what they do in response to what they found the majority of mums wanted over time, and not updated the sheet.
The subject of so-called "healthy" food is a huge bugbear for childcare providers. The field is plagued by well-intentioned, over-simplified messages which are largely inaccurate. These involve categorising every food as either "good" or "bad" for children, rather than aiming for a balanced overall diet.
It’s worth noting that all this "healthy" fruit intake is absolutely packed with sugars which are a major cause of a near epidemic of tooth decay in the under-5s. There are plenty of dentists who curse the rise of the raisin snack box.
The tv thing doesn't bother me. My cm does loads with DS - they go out every day (even if just a walk to the local park) and she has lots of outdoor toys in her garden. The telly is usually on when I pick up but it's totally understandable- the kids are tired, everyone is waiting to be picked up, she gives feedback to parents who also might have questions or something they want to discuss plus her own children are getting in from school. Telly is a good way to entertain them all for the half hour or so where she is busy sorting lots of other things. I suppose if you think it's on all the time and that all they do is watch it, then that's different and you would be justified in looking for alternative childcare.
The cheerios and raisin bread really doesn't bother me at all, but I have very lax standards compared to most on mn - I don't think cereal is the devil! But you could always pack a lunch box with whatever you think are appropriate snacks for your child. Again, my cm provides food but always says if there's something particular that we want them to have then we are welcome to send them in with it.
As it's only been 3 days I'd wait and see how it goes. If your child is happy and thriving then stick with it. I'd not risk unsettling for the sake of a carrot stick or half an hour of cbeebies. On the other hand if the telly thing becomes more of an issue or other problems arise then it may be worth looking elsewhere.
My Childminder’s TV is usually on when I pick up the kids. For school age ones I think it’s perfectly fine that they can watch a bit of TV to relax. My son gets tired after a busy day at school then going into the chaos of a Childminders.
My two year old will have been out that day at groups/park or in the house playing and baking before school pick up.
It’s all about balance.
I can’t get worked up about Cheerios or Raisin Bread.
Does she have older school age children?
I am a childminder and after I have collected from school, made everyone a snack and sorted out bags etc I will pop the tv on for children who have been at school and are exhausted.
I also provide a variety of toys, games, books and a craft activity if they wish to participate (I really encourage them to), however most of the older ones are mentally exhausted from a day at school and are craving some downtime before they are rushed home to do homework and have tea with their family.
I have given my children both cheerios and raisin bread for breakfast or snack before. They are one single portion of food and I know as a competent childcare professional that I can balance this with other food groups throughout the day. I also have faith that my children's parents are able to do this and this is why I share what their child has eaten during their time with me.
What age are the older children and what time of day are you seeing the TV on?
Some cms will allow after school children tv for chill out or use it at the beginning or the end of a day as arrivals and departures can be hard if children dont want to leave play....have you asked her?
With food again ask if you are not happy say can I provide breadsticks, weetabix etc.
Cheerios and raisin bread/fruit loaf are normal, everyday foods that most children in this country eat for breakfast or snacks. If you want a particular diet then you need to find a childminder that specifically offers that or employ a nanny.
TV - ask the childminder about it. I usually have it on at particular points in the day for example between breakfast and leaving for the school run or after tea but it's not on all day.
How long will your child be in childcare op? If for a short period each week I would accept what you are seeing with tv and kids seeming watching. U can decide that is your dc's screen time for the week and do different activities at home. If he is going to be there full time I would be looking for other provision. Nursery or more structured childcare. Ask for a timetable/rough outline of each day's plan. Is there outside play provision. Are they taken out and if so where to and how often.
I have a mix . Tv is only allowed on certain mornings for school children.
I did use it for one child as a distraction as he struggled with separation from mum his fave tv program settled him he doesn’t now,
We do numbers blocks and alpha blocks when little ones sleep for the ones about to start school . Maybe last half hour for tired ones but not daily.
It sounds a lot but we mostly have music nothing or doing activities.
Many nurseries have tv time too....at lunch prep and clean down and home time for example.
Thank you for all your responses! This has given me a lot to think about. We’ve only been for three short settling in sessions and I have picked up DS before lunch each day so not sure what she provides for lunch/tea.
I’ll have a word with the CM and see if there is anything else she can offer for breakfast or a snack or I’ll just send him there with some food.
I don’t know what else she offers during the day as he hasn’t stayed for lunch and tea yet - that will be this week.
When I said the older kids were watching TV, I meant the 2/3 year olds and it was just before lunch time when I picked DS up. I don’t think this CM looks after school age children.
There is no outdoor play provision but she says she takes the kids out every day and does activities with them. She told me she has only take DS out on one of the three sessions as she wants him to get used to the setting.
I just want to say this CM is lovely person and is very kind and sweet with the kids. reading through your responses, I think the best thing to do is just chat to her. Childcare will be for 3 days a week. I’ll look at some nurseries too but if DS is happy I won’t chop and change his routine.
I wonder if there's a possibility that CM is putting the TV on because you're about to turn up and it means the other kids will be occupied while she chats to you.
I understand about the cheerios. DD's nursery offer cheerios as one of the breakfast options and I can cope with the idea of her having them once a week but not more (she's 2.5 though and I wouldn't have wanted her to have cheerios at all much before now as I prefer to reserve sugary treats for things like homemade cakes rather than breakfast where there are plenty of better options like weetabix etc.).
Something else jumped out from your post. 10 kids in one small room!? Depends on the child but my DD wouldn't have liked that and would have been overwhelmed. There are around 10 kids in her nursery room now but the room is HUGE so she can easily go off and find a quiet corner if she's finding it all a bit much.
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