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Don't know anything about childminders, need to make a choice. Can anyone advise?

(27 Posts)
Natmat1 Sat 20-Jun-20 08:30:53

Hello, I am looking into options for childcare and it is between a nursery and a childminder. I have experience with the nursery and understand what options they are offering, but cannot seem to find much info on childminders.
I only seem to see posts that say £6 per hour or of sort.
Do they offer reduced full day fees or is it always calculated by hour? Is there a difference if a child goes full time and a full week? Is there a charge for additional resources (apart from food/nappies) What happens if they go on holiday, do parents still pay them and do parents take same dates as the CM off. I know that every CM will be different, but just wanted to figure out what is generally acceptable.
It seems to imply that CM care is just that bit less expensive, but with £6 an hour plus food nappies possible other fees etc, for the hours that I work nursery works out cheaper with all inclusive. So not sure if I just don't know something?
Thank you

OP’s posts: |
destinasia Sat 20-Jun-20 08:33:24

Everyone does things slightly different but it does tend to work out cheaper than nurseries, plus there are so many advantages. If you look on there is an option to enter your postcode and check average prices.

Bollss Sat 20-Jun-20 08:39:18

All of them are different. Mine charges by the day and you provide your own nappies and wipes etc (though our nursery was the same) holidays she just tells us when she won't be there and we book it off but she usually goes term time and we are only using her in school hols so won't actually affect us. She doesn't charge for her holidays.

You'd really need to ask each individual childminder because they'll all be slightly different.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Sat 20-Jun-20 08:56:02

Just email the ones you are interested in and ask. There isn’t really a normal and this is because parents all want something different and it’s about finding the right fit for you and your child.

Lots of your questions seem money based, you might need to dig a bit further to discover what choice would be more suitable.

Natmat1 Sat 20-Jun-20 08:57:33

Thank you ladies, I am planning to short list and have those conversations with individuals. But what baffled me a bit when I looked at CM's accounts in my area the going rate is £6 plus additional for food and own nappies etc. This would work out at around £69-70 per day if there is no full time place reduction. Where is nursery day rate with food and nappies is £65 and even less for a full time weekly place. Seems odd.

OP’s posts: |
GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Sat 20-Jun-20 09:05:04

If they do happen to be more expensive, why would that ‘seem odd’? Do you see it as a less valuable device?

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Sat 20-Jun-20 09:05:25

*service! Not device confused

Getoutofbed25 Sat 20-Jun-20 09:08:05

You often find that although childminders charge £6 per hour for many families this may work out better if they only need part of a day or someone who will do school nursery runs, or possibly collect a sibling from school. They also offer care in smaller groups. I have been a childminder and only generally worked with 2 pre schoolers at a time to give more one to one care. Childminders can also offer early starts and later finishes for those who need less standard hours. A good childminder often becomes a family friend and offers support to families, I have attended family parties and met extended families. A well respected childminder is generally never short of business and works off referral. Having a childminder is a bonus when your child goes to school, they will prioritise existing families for after school care.

Natmat1 Sat 20-Jun-20 09:08:38

My questions are money based, because at present this is exactly what I am trying to establish as a starting point before I go into full exploration mode.

OP’s posts: |
Getoutofbed25 Sat 20-Jun-20 09:25:33

Just to add with a childminder children will be our and about in the local community whilst following your country’s Early Years curriculum and the children in my care were very much part of the community. It’s a different experience to nursery care and valued for its difference by many families.

Natmat1 Sat 20-Jun-20 09:28:45


If they do happen to be more expensive, why would that ‘seem odd’? Do you see it as a less valuable device?

@GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Nothing of the sort. It seems to be always implied that it's less costly, even if you Google childcare fees etc. I personally preferred a nursery for my other children and always had a good experience.
I can appreciate the difference in care and one to one aspect and of course they can charge whatever they believe is right. Just find it strange that it seems to be a common belief that CM's are cheaper than nursery. And in the current climate I wanted to explore what I saw as a possible less costly alternative.

OP’s posts: |
Nighttimefreedom Sat 20-Jun-20 09:29:31

My childminder offered a sibling discount. They all do things differently. Best to ring around a few.

Nighttimefreedom Sat 20-Jun-20 09:31:05

Overall I don't think it is less expensive unless you only want a few hours and not full or half days.
I think it averages out about the same for full days early years childcare.

30not13 Sat 20-Jun-20 09:40:49

@getoutofbed with a private nursery they will also be out and about and also follow curriculums.

Another thing to consider is do you have back up ready for when the cm is sick @op

Fatted Sat 20-Jun-20 09:47:50

Every childminder is different. IME most have an hourly rate and a daily rate.

If your DC is a baby, most childminders will expect you to provide nappies and bottles/milk. When my eldest went as a baby, we had to provide our own food when he was still on smushy baby food (I went back to work when he was 7 months old) but once he was eating the same as every one else, all food and drinks was provided. IME nurseries expect you to provide nappies and wipes too.

Most are the same as nurseries in terms of you still have to pay for days you're not there etc. They should still be registered with the relevant bodies and you can still use childcare vouchers, free hours etc with a registered childminder.

IME childminders are cheaper than nurseries. But that is not the reason why I chose one. I preferred the home away from home environment when my eldest was a baby. Now the DC are older, it's wrap around care I need, which obviously a nursery can't do. I liked at a childminder that my kids were in a smaller group with kids of different ages. If your child is under one, they should be the only baby per adult working there. I'd really recommend going to see them, see their home and go through everything with them. Please do not make the decision based purely on price. I made the mistake of picking a childminder who seemed nice, used to be a teacher and she had all the perfect paperwork etc. My kids were there five weeks. She couldn't cope with my eldest and was terrible at communicating with me. My current childminder is amazing, she is like part of the family and my kids feel like part of her family too. Cannot rate her enough. The kids haven't been there since lockdown started (we have still been paying her) and they really miss it!

WombatChocolate Sat 20-Jun-20 09:48:11

There can be advantages of certain types of worker. They are often more flexible about hours and what you pay for. Therefore, they might give you different hours each week if you are on shifts or work term time only etc. Each contract is unique so look out for things like;
- when they take holiday and notice given
- if you pay when you're on holiday or when they're on holiday
-arrangements for if child is ill or they are ill
-exactly whatbis included - food? Nappies? Trips out?

I find 2 broad groups of childminders. There are those who do it as a job medium to long term. They often seem to take several children. Then there are those who have their own small child and want to be at home with them and often take just 1 or 2 to allow them to stay at home and when their own child is a hit older, go back to their earlier career.

I had excellent experiences with 2 childminders. Both were of the latter type and previously had worked with children, as a children's nurse and as a teacher. They probably didn't fit the usual profile of childminders. My DC went to their house and spent time with the childminders own children and often were the only 1 or 1 of 2 mindees.

I like per the fact they were in a house and did 'normal' day to day stuff you might not do at nursery. They went to the park, fed the ducks, went to playgroups, sometimes popped into the shops, took the other children to activities etc. It was just very normal. When DC were 3, they also took them to the local school for the morning session of pre-school and picked them up at lunchtime. I was very keen for the school pre-school experience, run by teachers, instead of it within a day care nursery.

I think I only had 1 or 2 days with each of my childminders where they couldn't take my DC due to illness/their kids being ill. In both cases, they had an alternative childminder they had an agreement with for those there was a back-up, which is something people sometimes worry about with childminders.

My job was term time only. As both my childminders had children in school, they were happy not to work in the school hols and just have their own children, so I didn't have to pay at all with one in hols and paid half with the other. They would still take for the odd day if needed. Very flexible.

In my case, both came through personal contacts. If you go to local toddler groups with your baby and meet other mums, you often meet or hear about local childminders. It is good to get a recommendation and the feel you get about someone and their home set-up is important.

For us, it was really great. It worked well as a baby and toddler being with the childminder all day and it worked well when they went to the school nursery mornings from 3, and the childminder had them in the afternoons.

Definitely worth looking into.

Bollss Sat 20-Jun-20 09:50:47


If they do happen to be more expensive, why would that ‘seem odd’? Do you see it as a less valuable device?

I definitely don't but my cm who I've lined up for the school holidays charges less than the nursery Ds is currently in. I would have been happy to pay the same rate though considering the service is practically the same!

LisaSimpsonsbff Sat 20-Jun-20 09:51:24

It normally works out cheaper because most people don't use every minute nursery is open and so paying for the hours you actually use saves money. £6 is also more than the going rate around here, while nursery rates are about the same as you say, so perhaps childminders are proportionately more expensive around you.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Sat 20-Jun-20 09:53:34

Most are cheaper, some are more expensive. They all offer different things. That’s the point.

My issue was purely on the fact that it ‘seems odd’ that a cm might choose to value their service at a higher price than a nursery.

Lindy2 Sat 20-Jun-20 10:10:51

Every childminder is different but as an example here is what I do.

- I charge an hourly rate. I have a minimum session of 3 hours per day. I don't have any minimum number of days but would prioritise someone needing for example 3 full days a week over someone just needing 1 half day.

- all nappies, wipes, suncream, antibac gel etc are provided by parents.

- I used to supply food included in my hourly fee. However I recently changed to providing breakfast only (if arrival is before 8am) and parents providing all other food and snacks. There was simply just too much waste at meal times and constant pestering for snacks during the day.

- all activities, trips, crafts are included in the hourly fee.

- if child is off sick full fees apply. If I'm off sick (although I never have been in 9 years) no fees.

- I set my 4 weeks holiday plus Christmas at the start of the year. I charge half fees while I'm away. I also charge half fees when parents are away if they give me 4 weeks notice. In reality we all tend to go away at the same time.

I hope that helps. At the moment I'm still closed due to Coronavirus 😥. I can't give my own children the help they need with school work right now and care for little ones too. Quite a few childminders are in a similar situation but hopefully things will be better in September.

Monkeytapper Sat 20-Jun-20 10:14:13

I use a childminder. If they go on holiday I don’t pay, if I go on holiday we pay half the fees. If my child is ill then I pay full. This was her terms and think it’s very fair for me.

WombatChocolate Sat 20-Jun-20 10:36:26

I've known people who don't like to use childminders because they don't want to have the sort of communication which arises with childminders. So, when 1 adult spends hours a week looking after your child, you find you speak or communicate a lot....about what the child has been doing, about things you want/don't want, about plans that are coming up and changes that are happening etc.

Some people seem to find that difficult or that there are tensions. I think it's often people who aren't condiment or happy communicating very honestly and find it all a bit awkward to say what they think. So, you do have to be willing to say if something isn't quite how you'd like it to be and feel you can have that communication without feeling awkward and anyone taking offense. Some people seem to feel dealing with a nursery is less personal and therefore less a source of tension or has less scope for communication awkwardness because although there might be a key worker, the nursery is a bigger organisation.

Not sure if I've made that very's hard to explain. I've had friends with childminders who found it very difficult to tell the childminder about something they would like to change, or felt the childminder took offense easily or they took offense easily. To be honest, they were the kind of people who often found communication with all sorts of people tricky and often took offense easily anyway. But for them, having the child at nursery removed the very personal 1-2-1 interaction which exists between childminders and parents, in a way that isn't quite the same at nursery.

One thing that is important with a childminder is a very clear contract and that everyone understands exactly what it means. Things like when holidays are taken or who pays when etc can be causes of friction if not clearly spelled out and understood. Good open communication about the odd things that come up and can't be foreseen needs to be present. The flexibility childminders have can be scope for difficulties and some parents think childminders should be totally flexible, meaning they might not get much money at all sometimes, and that is totally reasonable. Don't go to a childminder because you're a cheapskate and want to exploit them and just pay the very bare minimum on a very adjustable basis and try to avoid paying anything a lot of the time. It's not fair and the fact it's the childminders livelihood must be recognised. I think these cheapskate parents have an unrealistic view of what childc are will cost. With a nursery, the contract is clear and usually totally inflexible. Those people who really don't want to pay or avoid as many hours as possible, tend not to go to nurseries, because they won't get away with it. Experienced childminders tend to have clearer contracts with minimum hours, clear coverage about payment if non-attendance happens etc, to try and deal with these cheapskates. Sometimes conflict happens because people didn't read the contract properly before signing!

Basically, if you're someone who can't bear the thought of any discussion or raising issues as they arise, because it all makes you feel just too awkward, I'd say a nursery might be better as you are dealing with an organisation and not an individual. Some people want to deal with an individual and see the whole individual nature of childminders as the big pro, but others are perhaps more business-like about it and value (and will pay for) the very long hours available, and the slightly faceless element of nurseries which means if one worker is off ill or leaves, it really isn't the parents concern, becaue it is up to the nursery to provide someone to look after their child. Of course, as a parent you don't get to choose that individual...depends if that is important to you.

WombatChocolate Sat 20-Jun-20 10:46:22

Just to give an example, I worked with someone who moved from childminder to nursery. She said she didn't like the fact the childminder wanted to have a chat at each pick-up, but wanted to just collect and go. She found it difficult to raise particular when she wanted her child to have a later nap time, she found the conversation difficult, especially when the childminder explained how it was to fit in with the other children too. Later with the nursery, she simply emailed about things like this to the manager and didn't need to have a conversation. The manager then dealt with it. She much preferred it all being less personal, but that was really about her and not the nursery or childminder.

However, it's something nice noticed with several people and so being aware of what you're like yourself might help you lean towards childminders or nurseries.

I think childminders can allow you to be more hands-on too. If it works for your day, you might meet them somewhere out and about and do the pick-up there, rather than at their home, if it suits you. You might go along to a childcare group they attend at some point if you have a spare morning. All of this of course is totally optional and occasional as most parents are working of course....but it's a possibility. Nurseries are often much more hands-off. You drop the child and then the things going on are all determined by the nursery. They might have events parents can come into like nativity plays...but it will be determined by the nursery. Again, lots of parents want to hand over their child and go off to work and always fully let go and that's really important to them.

mymadworld Sat 20-Jun-20 12:35:40

I am more expensive than most local nurseries and full with a waiting list with most families staying from baby well into school age (& yes, I'm more expensive than after school club too). I feel I offer more not less than a nursery/asc and clearly all my families agree grin

Apple40 Sat 20-Jun-20 19:10:54

Hi, I am a childminder I charge by the hour with an minimum of 8 hours a day. (My local area it’s £4.50 an hour.) There is no discount for being with me all day or all week. Parents supply all there own food, nappies, wipes etc for there children. I don’t charge for my holidays or sickness but charge full fees for the child’s sickness and holidays. Fees are payable in advance and I take a months deposit held until the contracts ends taken at contract signing. This deposit is non refundable if they don’t take up the space or owe me money. With funding I offer it term time only and charge a £1 per funded hour they use with me this covers all arts n crafts, playgroups etc.

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