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Am I being unreasonable ?

(64 Posts)
ScotsBird Mon 21-Feb-05 09:41:31

I am really not sure if I am being unreasonable or not ... on Friday past I bumped into my childminder in the park and she mentioned to me that on Wednesday of this week she had to go to dd1's parents' evening. Apparently she wants to see all of her teachers, and what with getting ready, picking up dd2 from school and getting a cab to dd1's school she wanted me to pick up dd at 2pm. As I run courses at work I am obviously unable to up and leave on days when I am teaching so I mentioned that I couldnt do it, but would see if dh could - he cannot. I phoned her this morning adn she says that she can get one of the other minders to take my dd for the afternoon, but that she will now be over her numbers so will not be insured.

I feel a bit annoyed that a) my childminder didnt let me know about this until 5 days before (at a chance meeting) and b) that she seemed annoyed when I told her that neither dh or I culd pick dd up as early as 2pm.

Am I being unreasonable ?? Please put my mind at rest !!

vict17 Mon 21-Feb-05 09:43:35

I'm confused. Why is your childminder going to your daughter's parents evening or have I read this wrong?!

ks Mon 21-Feb-05 09:44:36

Message withdrawn

Bonkerz Mon 21-Feb-05 09:45:16

I dont think you are being unreasonable. As a childminder myself i always make sure i give plenty of notice if early finishes are required BUT something like a parents evening i would take my mindee children with me!!! I also tAKE THEM TO THE DENTIST AND DOCTORS TOO!!!

CrazyandConfused Mon 21-Feb-05 09:50:15

As Vict17 said it's a parents evening, one of the parents should be there, why have kids if you can't make even that amount of time for them,though I do think she should have given you notice, do you not get told by the school when parents evening is? and do you not get given the chance to change the appointment?

MaryP0p1 Mon 21-Feb-05 09:59:12

It depends how long she's known. If it was your childs parents evening what would you do? Sorry, this maybe against the general trend but as a parent first and then a nanny/childminder/ nursery nurse (depending on my hat)I would always put my own childrens needs first in this situation. If your child was sick what would you do?

As another thought, perhaps she is going because she has concerns about her children, do you really resent her taking time out to do this?

JanH Mon 21-Feb-05 10:00:02

From a quick reading I think Scotsbird means that the childminder has to go to her own dd's parents' evening, not Scotsbird's...?

Uwila Mon 21-Feb-05 10:31:47

I would be a lot less calm than you are. That is totally unacceptable behaviour for a childminder. When I had a childminder, she would NEVER have done this. If ever she went on holiday (which of course she did on occassion), she would arrange another childminder, give me all of the relevant paperwork, and offer me an opportunity to meet him/her before the day. My childminder was wonderful, and I always trusted her to find a suitable place for DD when she was unavailable. It worked out fine. I would pay the substitute shildminder the same fee I paid the regular childminder.

You have a contract with thisperson to prefer set hours of care to your shildren. If she can fulfill her job, she should find someone who can... and someone who would be over their numbers is not a suitable replacement in my opinion.

Uwila Mon 21-Feb-05 10:33:48

Incidentally, I've just remembered that this same childminder one time needed to go to her kids parent teacher conference. And, the conference was scheduled for before the time I normally picked DD up. She just asked me if it was alright take DD along to the school with her. I of course said it was fine. And it actually meant I picked DD up 30 minutes later that night to allow them time to get back to the house.

CrazyandConfused Mon 21-Feb-05 10:35:43

just wanted to say sorry if i got the wrong end of the stick sorry

HappyMumof2 Mon 21-Feb-05 11:02:03

Message withdrawn

RTKangaMummy Mon 21-Feb-05 11:21:36

I am a mum who is also a childminder

I am professional and try very hard to do a good job

but I am a mum first

Our school does give notice of parents evenings but the last ones dates were changed at short notice, which as it happens worked out more convienent for us.

What are the arrangements if the childminder children are off school with vomiting and diarahea?

Who is your emergancy cover provided by?

Do you have a friend or relative that will take your child?

HappyMumof2 Mon 21-Feb-05 11:31:39

Message withdrawn

ScotsBird Mon 21-Feb-05 13:26:44

Thanks for replies, think I may have not explained properly ... My minder is going to her dd1's parents evening, not my dd's (mine is only 18mths old!)... sorry for being confusing!

ScotsBird Mon 21-Feb-05 13:35:08

I am not sure how much notice my childminder was given of her dd's parents evening as she didn't say, but I only made the assumption that it would have been more than the 5 days notice she gave me. I am really happy with her and my dd LOVES her, but I couldn't help feeling that if I hadn't bumped into her by chance on Friday, that she wouldn't have said anything about it until dd was next with her tomorrow i.e. the day before.

I totally understand that she is a mum first and foremost, and as she doesn't drive it will take her longer to travel to her dd1's school on public transport. It was just the amount of notice that she gave me and I kind of felt (maybe unjustifiably) that it was a bit of a "take it or leave it" situation with the other uninsured childminder. As it happens my dd is going with this other childminder as there is nobody else to pick her up as early as 2pm that day.

I think I will just say nicely that next time it would be easier to sort out if I was given more notice.

Thanks for your replies - they were really helpful in putting things into perspective for me.

MancMum Mon 21-Feb-05 13:48:02

I would really hammer hime the "more notice" - I am quite surpised at the attitude here that a childminder who is a mother can put her kids first at very short notice (illness aside) - A childminder is still an employee with contractual obligations to the parents that employ her -- she can not change the terms of the contract to suit herself - I would say if the parents thing co-incided with a time that she should be working, then she either accomodates the children in her plans, arranges acceptable (insured!) cover that is agreed with the parents or has to lose out..

she is a working mother -- and the rest of us have to abide by contracts -- I think she is leaving you in the lurch myself

KatieMac Mon 21-Feb-05 13:56:43

Yep - I think More notice is very much an issue here. I regularily take my mindees to appointments (for me, for my DD and even for my mindees ie this am I dropped a urine sample in at the Drs for one mindee). Even to school for a parent/teacher conferenc thingee. My parents don't mind. I haven't ever given this little notice of notminding - but it may have been a fait accompli from the school.

Emphasise the More Notice thing as it would be more professional for her to have given more notice

MaryP0p1 Mon 21-Feb-05 14:39:58

Sorry KatyMac that excuse doesn't work for me as I have had plenty of parents who have not told me until the day before they have the day off or asked me to work late the day before. With more notice I could have do something with that time but hey ho is all you say.

As a childminder I have often felt that parents don't always see that childminders have families etc and don't take that into consideration when giving childminders notice. I think for me parents using childminders need to remember that unforeseen stuff happens and they have to not work or have a back up. i had a close friend who was also a registered childminder who was my emergency cover so these incidences never happened.

PS childminders are not employees they are self employed and therefore are entitled to work as it pleases them and say NO. Yes there is a contract but parents often don't stick to it and turn up hours late without even ringing. I even have a childminding friend who parents left there child with the minder FOR THE WEEKEND without even asking. Unfortunately for the parents the childminder wasn't registered for overnight care and had to ring social services. The child was nearly taken into care had it not been for social services goving emergency cover for the minder. The child was then put on the at risk register and shortly after the parent was looking for alternative childcare.

Uwila Mon 21-Feb-05 14:46:22

I would also consider discussing with her what resposibility she is willing to take on regarding arranging cover. Before I hired my childminder (and incidentally you are your childminder's client -- and not her employer), I discussed with her who would cover if she was ill or otherwise unable to work. She has several friends who are childminders and they routinely swap the kids around (with parental agreement of course).

However, if this was never discussed with your childminder, it might be a bit harsh to just expect. But, as others have said, more notice is definitely within reason.

As you say you are otherwise happy with the childminder, I wouldn't go too hard on her, and I certainly wouldn't pull an 18 month out of her care. But, I would want to agree a plan for when and if this happens again in the future.

HappyMumof2 Mon 21-Feb-05 14:48:33

Message withdrawn

KatieMac Mon 21-Feb-05 14:52:56

I also think that different parents have different reactions to situations.

2 weeks ago my DD was sick - I phoned the mindees parents (6 of them) and
1 asked how dd was and explained that their child would still becoming as these bugs go & come where ever they want.
3 asked if I would still have their child.
1 said they would be sending their child whether I wanted to work or not.
1 said that they didn't want her dd to get the same bug - so she wouldn't be coming.

Obviously sickness is different, but there varying reactions are very telling.

BTW Childminders are not employed - they are S/E. How many times have you been let down by a builder/plumber etc? Also S/E

Most C/Mers (that I know) will go out of their way to accomodate their mindees & parents - but sometimes "Stuff Happens"

BTW I'm not excusing the particular C/Mer with the parents evening - it was unproffessional

Uwila Mon 21-Feb-05 14:55:48

Marypop, those are horrific behaviours you describe for a parent. Certainly out of line, and the childminder should definitely lay down some rule with those parents.

However, I disagree that a childminder has a right to violate a contract whenever she sees fit because she isn't an employee. I think that as a business you must honor the contract. If not you personally, you have to find someone else who can. But, as I said before, this is a point which should be clarifies before the contract is signed. If it isn't, then it's a big shade of grey, granted.

Also, you say parents don't show up... Do they pay you anyway? They should. Their end of the bargain is that they pay you a certain amount of money. Money that you of course rely on to run your business. So, obviously it is perfectly fair for you to expect them to live up to theire end of the contract.

BadHair Mon 21-Feb-05 14:57:10

Think that the childminder is perfectly entitled to put her own family first - let's face it, we all would.
Scotsbird - how would you have managed in that situation if your child was ill, would you not have been able to take time off work to be with her? Or if the childminder's children were ill and she asked you to take your dd home at short notice?
I think that 5 days notice is quite reasonable though I take your point about her only telling you by chance. I usually get 3 or 4 days notice of parents evening at the most (and have complained about it to no avail).

ks Mon 21-Feb-05 15:08:16

Message withdrawn

KatieMac Mon 21-Feb-05 16:48:36

It's a very emotive subject - A few childminders are unprofessional and a few parents are thoughtless.
Most parents are thoughtful and considerate.
Most Childminders are caring and professional.

But it's the few that everyone pays attention to - rather than the majority

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