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Is this unreasonable behaviour from my childminder? (sorry long)

(40 Posts)
hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 12:08:23

DS is now 10 months and started at a childminder at the beginning of July for 2 sessions a week 8.30-3pm. He seemed to start off ok but would apparently be unsettled and cry until he went down for his morning sleep which would usually be at about 9am. Bear in mind that he is teething too. But he would usually be ok once he had had his nap.

Anyway then the cm closed for the first 2 weeks of august and then we went away for the last week of August so all in all he did not attend much that month.

I took him back for his first session this week and within half an hour of dropping him, cm called me to collect him saying he was very unsettled and would not stop crying and that she was worried he would hyperventilate or have a fit.

I have always stressed to cm that as I am self employed and work locally that I can collect him quickly if necessary, but this does not mean I do not need to work.

CM thinks he is not ready to leave me and may benefit more at the moment from one on one care in our own home and has made it clear that she will not take him back until maybe another month or 2.

Which, in an ideal world where I don't have to work would be lovely. There is nothing I like more than looking after my DC (I have a DD 3yrs) but unfortunately I have to work, even if it is only part time, and

So now I have been left in the lurch and having to find new childcare immmediately, by Monday in fact.

Is it me, or is this totally unreasonable? Am I being a hard hearted parent? I put his crying down to teething and the fact that it was the 1st session back for ages.

CM wants to continue in a month or 2 but who's to say she won't do this again. Aren't CM's supposed to be able to deal with upset children and at least give it more than half an hour.

Opinions please!

LoveMyGirls Thu 04-Sep-08 12:10:18

Shes out of order, I would never do this.

SammyK Thu 04-Sep-08 12:16:04

Yes it is unreasonable behaviour from childminder!

So has she given you notice? Where you still in a settling in period or does she have to give you the amount of notice on the contract.

Childminders should be able to deal with this,you are right to put his crying down to teething and settling back in. CM sounds insensitive and unable to manage an upset child! hmm

Dynamicnanny Thu 04-Sep-08 12:18:02

Where are you Hillbilly - could we help you find a childminder. Agree with LMG she is very out of order (nb did/does she expect to be paid for this 2 month break?)

elkiedee Thu 04-Sep-08 12:19:12

Parent's perspective here: I'd look for a new CM. My DS started full time at a CM at about your ds's age, and I think he, and me and dp as his parents, has been lucky as she's great. He did cry during his trial mornings with her and the first two days. Day 3 was a token wail, now he cries when we take him away from his beloved CM and her family - he adores them and I get the feeling it's all reciprocal. While this is luck, I do think a good CM or other childcarer ought to be able to comfort a child and offer an alternative in which a baby can feel safe and secure. I can't see how she's going to do that in a month or so if she can't now.

hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 12:22:30

She has not given me notice as intends to continue after a break.

I have enrolled him today at a local private nursery where dd went to. Hope to get a settling in session tomorrow for him and start on Monday. This is a temporary measure and I am now looking for cm near to the community pre school where my dd starts next week.

BTW are you all cm's or parents?

hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 12:23:04

I am just going up to the nursery now so will be back on this shortly. Thanks for your instant posts though.

Sidge Thu 04-Sep-08 12:28:36

She's taking the proverbial. A good CM should have the patience and experience to deal with an unsettled child, and she should understand that having a break for a couple of months may make the separation anxiety worse, not better!

Is she expecting to be paid any sort of retainer over the next couple of months? If so she's really taking the piss. Good childcare should be consistent, you can't just pick it up and down like that, especially for a baby.

I would terminate her contract without notice as she has probably broken the conditions and I would look elsewhere. If you are happy with the nursery can't you keep him there?

(I'm a parent by the way not a CM but have used CMs and nurseries.)

ingles2 Thu 04-Sep-08 12:32:16

of course this is totally unreasonable. You wouldn't dream of doing this in your job, so why should the CM?
I don't think I would ever trust her fully so I would enrol in nursery, look for another CM and terminate her contract with immediate effect.
I'm a parent btw who's used everything grin

imananny Thu 04-Sep-08 12:34:22

CM is being totally unreasobale imo

your ds is little and as hasnt seen her for 2 weeks h, and been with you 100%,he will be a bit clingy

she may WANT to continue after a break, but if I were you,I wouldnt use her

answer to your Q - neither mum nor cm,im a nanny - one to one care in your home may suit your child,but it is a lot harder to work from home when you have your child there, even if cared for by nanny

who has you other child at mo - i would try and find a cm who can have both

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Thu 04-Sep-08 12:49:16

I was a nanny and am now a mum.

I would not send my child back to her.

One month or two won't make a difference as he will remember he was unhappy with her. A month or two older might work with being away from you with someone who knows what they are doing.

Good luck.

berkschick Thu 04-Sep-08 12:57:10

I am a childminder and had a similar thing with a baby I took on in June. He only came 3 days a month for 3 months and has this week started 2 full days a week.

He cried constantly over the summer but I decided to give it until christmas before making any desisions (bit longer than 30 mins then!).

But on his second day this week, he is a differnat baby! He has been so happy and content. 10 months is a clingy stage anyway but it can be worked through.

I would not send him back there if I were you. Babys cry, we have to get through that stage.

Good luck!

cargirl Thu 04-Sep-08 13:02:45

I think I would speak to the CM and tell her she cannot dictate 2 months off just like that and she either has to have your son or give you notice and if she isn't prepared to work her notice then she needs to pay you so you can use childcare elsewhere.

I think she is taking the p* and something else has cropped up.

looneytune Thu 04-Sep-08 13:15:15

As everyone has said, totally unreasonable.

I'm a childminder who's had clingy babies, it's NORMAL for them to be like that around this age and imo she's a rubbish childminder if she can't deal with that without calling you back!!

Earlier in the year when I was heavily pregnant, I had a new mindee who was around this age who came for a few hours once a week to give mum a break and get him used to other people. He was the worst baby i'd ever had for being unsettled (lovely baby but got the most upset is what i mean!) and the mum WANTED me to keep her up to date so I was honest in my texts and explained he'd not stopped screaming for most of it but i kept him until the mum decided SHE wanted to pick him up for her sake - I let it be her decision. In the end, during the settling in session I said to the mum I thought it was best if we called it a day. It was a shame and she really wanted him stay with me but I explained that he really needed more frequent visits which I couldn't do as was full on other days and that I said although if I wasn't pregnant I knew we'd crack it in the end, the fact that I was going to stop childminding for 12 weeks shortly after, it wasn't worth it as he'd probably just about settle when I stopped being able to have him (as was always going to be full after my maternity leave anyway).

So what I'm trying to say is the only time I've ever suggested we don't continue was that one time because of circumstances. I told her it was in her baby's best interests for him to go with a childminder who could offer a long term space and maybe do more hours to start with.

Can I just ask what's in the contract? Were you in the settling in period? Or were you a normal contract where you are supposed to give x amount of notice?

NoblesseOblige Thu 04-Sep-08 13:18:07

has she been a childminder for long?

you are better off elsehwere IMHO.

hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 13:18:32

Thanks everybody!

imananny - dd has been at said nursery since she was 8 months but tomorrow is her last day and she will start on Monday at a local state pre school. The cm was round the corner from the pre school so logisticaly perfect, but I am sure there are others in the area.

I live in west London, North Kensington to be precise so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know.

The reason I don't want to keep ds long term at the nursery is that although the care is good (Note - good not excellent), they take the p**s financially and are very inflexible. Also very expensive and high staff turnover. The reason we did not take dd out of nursery is that she was always very happy there despite the few issues we had.

I am so glad to hear that it's not me being unreasonable.

She does not want any form of retainer but just expects me to look after ds for a month or 2 and then return to her.

hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 13:22:23

Yes she has been childminding for years. She is a recommendation from a friend whose 2 dd's have been there since 4 months old. Funnily enough though another friend has recently started her ds there and was called twice last week to collect him due to teething and then yesterday again and had to take today off work to saty home with ds. She is also looking for an alternative.

cargirl Thu 04-Sep-08 13:24:55

What does your contract say I think she should pay compensation for suspending the place without notice. Having a clingy 10 month old is no reason to not have him for 2 months.

cargirl Thu 04-Sep-08 13:25:53

Also if you do not intend to return your ds to her you need to give her written notice as per the contract otherwise she would be in her rights to ask you for money if you do not return him!

QuintessentialShadow Thu 04-Sep-08 13:29:07

I think the cm is already in breach of contract by asking you to look after him yourself for 1-2 months.

Is she ofsted registered?

hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 13:39:20

Yes she is Ofsted registered.

looneytune Thu 04-Sep-08 13:43:10

Just going back to the contract, were you in a settling in period? If not, she's actually in breach of contract to not give notice! Does she owe you any money as a result?

hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 13:54:03

sorry looneytune - I don't think we were still in a settling in period as he started beginning of July.

looneytune Thu 04-Sep-08 13:59:12

Well she's in breach of contract then but not actually sure that means anything to you? (if you'd have decided to not use her then she'd need paying the notice money). If you paid in advance like many do, I presume she's going to refund the money for care not used?

hillbilly Thu 04-Sep-08 14:05:04

There is no money outstanding either way.

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