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Opinions of sharing childcare between two childminders?(6 Posts)
My husband and I are currently on the search for a childminder for when I go back to work in a few months. We'd been intending to have one childminder full time, but with the impact of Coronavirus and lots of people changing their childcare setups none of the childminders we'd shortlisted have full time availability.
However there are a close nit group of childminders in the area who all know each other well and two of them have agreed to share the childcare. One will have our son 2 days a week and the other will have him 3 days. Our only full time alternative is nursery, but none of the nurseries are particularly convenient for us where we live (opposite direction to work, not near his probable primary school and more expensive).
So... what are your opinions on sharing childcare between 2 childminders? Our son will be 1 year old when he starts with them. The main downside we can see is that he will have less continuity of care, but will that matter? Primarily we want to do what is best for our son.
I had exactly this situation when my DC were small and I also know others who have done this.
For me, the things that made it work were that the childminders were very similar in approach, communicated really well with both me and each other (we were already all friends, I got exceptionally lucky when they both both retrained as childminders just in time for when I had to go back to work) and were really flexible eg. covered both sickness and holiday for each other when possible.
It also meant the DC had a wider range of activities as well as regular play groups which they loved.
One thing we did which was helpful was use the same notebook, left in DC bag that went with them each day, which they would write daily updates in so they knew anything important even if they not spoken for a few days or I'd not had time to mention it.
The minder who had them for the most time each week did their transition info for nursery school. Youngest DC is in the last few months of before and after school care (well, would be if not for current situation) with this minder and they have a wonderful relationship.
I think the only thing I found a bit tricky was remembering where I needed to pick them up from each day, but that might just be me
If your happy with both the Childminder’s I think it would be fine and it could be an ideal situation. I’ve used the same childminder for 7yrs, she previously worked at times with her sister so on the occasions like holiday or illness my lo would go to her sister as back up if space and vice versa, she now works with another lady as back up ( as the sister took a different job when her youngest went to secondary school). Your child gets the benefit of two different environments too which could benefit them but not the chaos of a nursery. Hope it works out for you.
Thank you both, that's really helpful.
We've not met them in person yet, so we need to see what we think when we meet them in person but both my Husband and I got a really good impression over the phone and from what we could find online.
That's a really good tip about a notebook for day to day updates. I'll make sure to ask about how they do their daily updates, they did mention that they'd send us a daily update, so perhaps even a shared WhatsApp group for those kind of updates?
I did also wonder if having 2 childminders might give us a little bit more backup with respect to illness and holidays because we'll have someone else who knows his routine and who may be available to look after him. Still not quite as reliable as nursery, but better than a single childminder.
I've done shared care with a cm friend it worked well as we network anyway, we had a joint diary and permission to share planning etc so between us and the family we were all working in the same way. The children had a wider circle of friends and a backup childcare if it was ever needed.
I do shared care with another cm and it works really well - we usually work out holiday cover and try and cover the Odd day sickness plus we often meet up anyway so the children all know each well.
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