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HELP - Childminder - worried about her taking a group of kids out

(26 Posts)
Workinmom Mon 08-Feb-21 18:29:55

i Everyone,

I would really appreciate your opinions as mothers or fathers.

We are having to move my 2.5 year old son from his nursery to alternative childcare because he is so unhappy at nursery. Too big and busy for him. He really thrives in smaller groups and he hates being stuck in a room, he needs to be free to run.

We found a childminder that we absolutely ADORE. She is a child whisperer and my son adores her and he is so happy there. She takes them to the forest and he loves it so much.

However, she doesn't drive and so she takes all her under 5 year old kids (4 at a time) with her on all the school runs - either by bus or a 20 minute walk down the road morning and afternoon. She doesn't use reins. One or two kids go in the pushchair and 2-3 walk.

Am I being a paranoid mother or would this concern you too? I struggle handling my son when I'm out so I think 4 young kids is just too much, and then the school age children join to make the group bigger.

I keep having nightmares of my son running into the road and getting hit by a car, or a van pulling up beside them and kidnapping my son.

We found a small nursery that is better than his current nursery but not as good as the childminder.

Happiness versus safety. My heart aches over this so any advice would be hugely appreciated.

Thank you,
Anxious Mom

OP’s posts: |
DragonLegs Mon 08-Feb-21 18:32:59

Why don’t you ask her what she does to keep them safe. That might reassure you. Also children tend to listen to childminders, teachers etc more than parents. He’s more than likely fine. I’d keep him where he is if he’s happy.

Workinmom Mon 08-Feb-21 18:44:20

You are spot on about kids being better with childminders. He only did a few trial days with her, he is still at nursery. Safety wise, she said she just makes them hold the pram or she tells them to stop if they run off.

OP’s posts: |
Findahouse21 Mon 08-Feb-21 18:47:26

There are parents who have 4/5 children and they manage easily. This wouldn't bother me at all

LonstantonSpiceMuseum Mon 08-Feb-21 19:02:24

I had a great childminder who had a similar set up. She would have the smallest in the pushchair, and the others had to walk alongside, with one finger on the pushchair or each other at all times! They were absolutely finesmile

SMaCM Mon 08-Feb-21 23:00:57

It'll be fine. If you are at all worried, ask her if she would mind attaching him to the pram with reins. Quite often reins make them more likely to trip though.

Nicadooby Tue 09-Feb-21 10:01:16

If I go out with 4 little ones then I would have two in the buggy and one on each side with a wrist strap on. Could you just ask her to make sure your child used a wrist strap?

2021isalsorubbish Tue 09-Feb-21 10:16:52

IME child minders aren't much fun for pre school kids as they spend so much time on the school run twice a day. Also sounds like she has too many kids for one adult?

Workinmom Tue 09-Feb-21 14:29:50

Thank you all! Appreciate your thoughts. Sounds like I am being paranoid. I'll just chat to her to ensure she's holding his hand or he's holding the pram.

OP’s posts: |
Nicadooby Tue 09-Feb-21 15:41:06

2021isalsorubbish

IME child minders aren't much fun for pre school kids as they spend so much time on the school run twice a day. Also sounds like she has too many kids for one adult?

Not all Childminder’s need to go on school runs plus school runs can be lots of fun if you actually engage with the children. Walks don’t need to be boring there are lots of learning opportunities whilst out and about.

SMaCM Tue 09-Feb-21 19:22:31

2021isalsorubbish

IME child minders aren't much fun for pre school kids as they spend so much time on the school run twice a day. Also sounds like she has too many kids for one adult?


I don't do school runs. When I did do them, the children used to love them, because we got out in the fresh air, we could do a treasure hunt on the way, they could get used to the idea of going to school and what happens there. It's not all negative. I used to have 7 children every day and it's not too many for experienced minders.

Tanith Wed 10-Feb-21 14:24:28

DH did the school runs with the preschool children while I stayed with the younger children.
It's an opportunity for them to get used to the school run and see their future teachers.
We can't at the moment, due to lockdown. I hope we'll be able to resume in the summer as it's good preparation to starting school.

Workinmom Thu 11-Feb-21 11:55:06

Thank you everyone. Really appreciate your thoughts. Sounds like I am being paranoid and this is pretty normal. I just didn't think I could cope with 5 kids under 3 on a bus, but I'm not an experienced childminder. Hats off to them, it takes incredible energy and patience. One of the most important jobs in the world.

OP’s posts: |
Nicadooby Thu 11-Feb-21 12:35:16

Workinmom

Thank you everyone. Really appreciate your thoughts. Sounds like I am being paranoid and this is pretty normal. I just didn't think I could cope with 5 kids under 3 on a bus, but I'm not an experienced childminder. Hats off to them, it takes incredible energy and patience. One of the most important jobs in the world.

So she would have 5 children under 5 years old at the same time? Are any of them in full time school?

Is your child new to the setting?

PerpetualStudent Thu 11-Feb-21 12:40:41

I have to be honest OP, I got put off using childminders for the same reason. I have anxiety which fixates on road safety though, so I recognise it might not be rational.

My DCs ended up at quite a big nursery, I wasn’t at all sure about that either, but after a few months they loved it, and made friends with the staff and kids alike.

jannier Fri 12-Feb-21 08:09:01

@2021isalsorubbish
My typical school run.....play spot something on the way....number colour shape, get to playground play stop and go....(.run like a crab left hand on right ear, touch a number) way home talk about man hole covers go into how drains work....use it to put in activity at home, take photos of interests like birds nests or blossom trees use them at home.....no way is a school run boaring if your not a boring adult. Same with a shop give a shopping list find different fruits count the cost and give thr money.

WhatILoved Fri 12-Feb-21 18:59:12

My school run is only a 5 minute walk and the preschoolers love it. All the teachers say hello to them. In terms of safety, I take mine on the bus (pre covid) and yes they always behave better with their minder than with parents. Same with my own children ! I might have one in a buggy and let the two older ones sit on a seat together whilst I'm standing with buggy. They love it. It's really important for children to learn about risk (this is in the early years curriculum) and how to cross roads etc. Especially nowadays when the world is really risk averse when it comes to children. Childminders are used to watching multiple children at play (after school I'm constantly counting to six - again pre COVID- in a playground as with school kids in tow that's how many I have - so 3 preschoolers in the day seems easy) I have no problem falling asleep when head hits the pillow at night!! Please don't worry we risk assess things all the time xx

Looneytune253 Fri 12-Feb-21 19:08:31

Wow I'm a childminder and take 4 small ones (2yo) out all the time and I feel very confident about it. If a child is particularly flighty or on the young side they will be the one in the pushchair. If there wasn't enough spaces I would hold a hand or use reins if I had to. All walking children hold onto the pram when crossing roads or walking along a busier road every time and we don't move until they're holding on. They behave so much better when they're with me and I have high expectations and never give in if they 'don't want to'. Safety is paramount

leeloo1 Fri 12-Feb-21 19:24:07

"They behave so much better when they're with me and I have high expectations and never give in if they 'don't want to'. Safety is paramount."

This! I always get other parents telling me they don't know how I get the children I mind to behave so well, but it's so much easier with other people's when the boundaries and expectation is are clear. I think people also forget that this is porur profe profession, its not like having a playdate where unknown children are just dropped on you for a few hours!

OP, at 2.5 I'd be expecting children to walk on the school run - I have non-walkers in the buggy and walkers hold on with one hand to the backseat. Until I'm confident about them behaving they wear a backpack with the reins attached to the buggy, then they just walk beautifully holding on. It keeps us all together and makes chatting, singing or story telling easier. We used to take the bus pre-covid and the children were trained on getting on and off safely, where to sit it stand and it was never a problem.

If you are still worried op, then talk to the childminder honestly and ask if she'll use reins for a few months, as you're worried he'll run off, I'd have no issues if a parent asked me to do something similar.

leeloo1 Fri 12-Feb-21 19:25:42

😂 Ignore the typos, my phone hates me typing when it's charging! 🙈

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 12-Feb-21 21:27:52

Sure she will have them under control

What ages are they all

Diff having just 4 to a 2yr for example

Lubiluxe Sun 14-Feb-21 18:20:22

5 under 3 isn't allowed I don't think?

But no I wouldn't be concerned. Children have to learn to respond to instructions and the childminder will suss out very quickly if children are runners by testing in parks etc... First!

Tanith Sun 14-Feb-21 19:40:23

The basic ratio allowed is six children under the age of 8.

Three of those children may be under 5, only one of whom may be a baby under the age of 1.

OFSTED now allow some flexibility within these ratios so, under certain circumstances, five under 3s would be allowed. The childminder must be prepared to justify this and, if necessary, demonstrate to OFSTED that he or she can care adequately for all those children.

It's six under 8s that's the set-in-stone ratio and must not be exceeded.

Workinmom Tue 16-Feb-21 11:42:05

Hi everyone, it is so good to hear from so many childminders. Thank you all for taking the time to reassure me. I think that our childminder has the right ratios, her setting is quiet, so I may have seen kids who are older than 3. It's hard to tell at this age!

I have decided to go ahead with her for the sake of my son's happiness versus my anxiety. I will ask her to use reins initially until she's confident he won't gallop off (which he sometimes does).

This is my first time on Mumsnet, so thank you all for such a supportive and positive experience.

OP’s posts: |
jannier Tue 16-Feb-21 12:14:37

Good choice....I think talking to your childminder should always be the first step. They understand your anxiety and can support you.

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