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Confused FT WOHM would be really grateful for some advice from childminders/nannies about child care for PFB 18 months

(26 Posts)
georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 16:32:47

Thread title pretty much has it in a nutshell.

I work fulltime, DS currently goes to a nursery 4 days a week (my mum has him the other day).

He has been going to the nursery for 9 months. Up until about a month ago everything was fabulous. Now not so much.

He has started biting other children (is in a small group of 4 or 5 of his own age). Nursery staff seem powerless to explain triggers for this behaviour, to anticipate it or prevent it. They have promised to watch him "like a hawk" but this has had no effect. He does not do this at home or on playdates. It is not targeted against one particular child.

He does not seem to be at all unhappy at nursery, indeed it sounds as if he thinks the biting is very funny. Obviously it is not but there is little I can do (I feel), I am not there when he does it, he doesn't do it at home and I can hardly tell him off 4 or 5 hours after the event.

It's making me question how well equipped the nursery staff are to deal with him, tbh. I am aware I may be being a bit PFB about it, but am also worried that other parents may start to complain - I wouldn't like it much if he was coming home with bite marks.

In addition (and this is a separate but also relevant issue) the nursery is very expensive. It's just gone up to £48 per day (am I being unrealistic here?). It has fantastic facilities such as hydroherapy pool but tbh, DS's diary never records that he has been using these facilities. He seems to spend the entire day in the baby room (with the other babies and their key workers).

I'm wondering if a more home style environment, such as a childminder would be better. Would anyone be prepared to take on a known biter??

Sorry for long post, thanks if you've got this far.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 17:17:10


elliott Thu 18-Sep-08 17:20:33

I think you should look around for an alternative, tbh. Not that you will necessarily come up with anything better (I've been there, done that, never found a suitable childminder) but you will never know until you try.

Pipsical Thu 18-Sep-08 17:27:59


Aw..Poor thing!
£48 seems rather expensive..What are are you in??

I am a childminder myself and have had biter's before..I feel an environment with more 1to1 care is better as we are able to give individual attention and find that behaviour like that will go a nursery environment there are so many other little bodies about it is hard to always have you eye on 1.

I agree you can't tell him off after 4/5 hrs..have you thought of maybe sitting with a teddy bear and talking about biting..I found that worked with one of mine..We talked about our feelings..I know 18mts is slightly young for this but it might work!

Anyway..Good Luck


georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 17:28:14

thanks for response elliott, what child care do you use now? I don't know anything about childminders or what to expect so am completely at sea. I expected him to stay at this nursery until he started school (or I went on maternity leave again), now looks like I need to find somewhere else for him sad.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 17:33:04

Thanks Pips, we are in Wiltshire/Glos borders, quite near Chippenham.

I'm unsure how much to expect to pay for childminder, I expect this varies from area to area like everything else.

It seems there are one or two nursery staff who are fabulous with him and if they are assigned to him that day, I know there will not be an incident. A couple of others seem not so motivated (or perhaps not very keen on him [paranoid] and whilst I know he is being adequately cared for, I always expect a biting report when one of them is his key worker for the day.

That's the other thing, in the propectus it says that he will have a dedicated key worker, but he doesn't - there are about 8 staff who work a variety of shift patterns in the baby room and he seems to have a different one each day. I don't think that is helping...

MaureenMLove Thu 18-Sep-08 17:39:27

I think he would definately benefit from a more homely environment with a Childminder. I am, of course, biased because I was a CM for 12 years! grin I wouldn't worry too much about the biting though. He's just learning right from wrong and as long as you tell him he's wrong, he will eventually stop. Obviously, if he's still doing it at 3 or 4, then there's a problem.

You need to contact your local authority and speak to their Early Years Team, they'll be able to give you a list of CM's in your area. You may even be able to look online. Any CM, worth their salt, will understand and help with the biting. I really don't think its a big issue at his age.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 17:43:35

Thanks Maureen, I will look into CM in the area, I think a home environment is probably the thing he wants now (well, frankly, he wants to be at home with me but that isn't going to happen because I have to work). It just seems more "risky" in a way (not suggesting CMs are less likely to provide good childcare by any means) but would be relying entirely on one person rather than the nursery who have to sort out resourcing problems themselves (mind you do I want just any old somebody looking after him). Am mass of confusion but will start with the council.

Does anyone know the going rate in Bath/Wiltshire/Glos area?

Pipsical Thu 18-Sep-08 17:45:13

I am based on the east cost..near scarborough and I charge £3ph..but like you said it will vary by area..there is a childrens information service available on the internet..if you google that it will bring up all the childminders in your area (Once you've selected it!)
Its a hard one..maybe the nursery is not suited to your son..have you mentioned to the staff that there is not a problem when the 2 are with him and want to know what level of care is offered when they are not there?
If he is meant to have a key worker I would definatley have a word with the nursery mananger to find out who this is..does he have a daily diary? I know as a childminder we are to keep these so we can document everything.


MaureenMLove Thu 18-Sep-08 17:55:21

There's pros and cons to both really. Yes, you have the worry that if your CM is ill, you need to take time out, but most CM's work in a network and have emergency cover on standby. You need to think about exactly what you want for your DS. Do you want for him to have a different keyworker everyday and lots of children around or do you want one person 99% of the time and just a few 'friends' to play with at a CM's. (So difficult, when I am so Pro CM's!) God love 'em, they do such a fab job and with all the extra paperwork behind the scenes just added to their workload, the bad'uns are leaving in droves! Have a chat with a couple. If you get it right, it'll be great. I think you'll be looking at around the £3 - £4 p/h mark.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 18:04:34

£3 to £4 per hour? You're kidding, that's slave labour!

Thank you all so much for the advice, I do think that I am starting to favour a CM and will look into it through the avenues you suggest.

MaureenMLove Thu 18-Sep-08 18:08:35

It certainly is! And that's just for the hours that she's looking after children. Its nothing for the hours and hours of paperwork! Good luck!

LoveMyGirls Thu 18-Sep-08 18:49:24

Georgimama - I'm a childminder so biased too but my top tips for finding a childminder are to look for someone you feel comfortable with and has a similar parenting style to your own.

Stars22 Thu 18-Sep-08 19:02:37

I live in Chippenham and yes i think childminders vary between £3.50 and £4.50 . Im a nanny looking for a job, you havent considered having a nanny have you lol.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 19:06:22

Well, I don't know the first thing about it to be honest, I'm not sure we can afford a nanny, and the fact that they are your employee seems a bit scary to me. Also don't nannies have to work in your home rather than in theirs - we don't live in Chip, about 10 miles out, in a tiny village, not the ideal for someone coming in to look after DS here. We're not ruling anything out though, I need to discuss in more detail with DH.

Stars22 Thu 18-Sep-08 19:20:20

Yes a nanny is more expensive than a childminder especially if you only have one child. Yes a nanny comes to your house to look after your child but will also do other child related things. ie.childs washing/ironing/beds etc. Yes being the employers you need to sort out the nannies tax and NI.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 19:30:23

Lovemygirls, thanks for the advice, that is the hardest bit really, knowing whether you do feel comfortable with them - and as for parenting style, I wish I had one! Free style I think!

nannyL Thu 18-Sep-08 19:30:31

true stars smile

and on top of nannies pay you will need to factor in the extra gas and elec used while your home is occupied all day, so heating on in winter etc, and food for nanny and child, and 40p per mile for nanny driving (or getting her a car to use and insuring that etc) and then money for toddler groups / swimming / zoo etc and plaves that nanny will take your child.

a nanny will not be a cheaper option... but of course you get the benefits of childrens home cooked meals, laundry done, and toys sorted out etc + will do extra errands such as stay in for the 'washing machine man', or pick up stuff at the dry cleaners, nip into town too.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 19:38:29

Don't get me wrong, a nanny sounds heavenly, I could have done with someone to do all that before I even had DS! Maybe when I am fully qualified (am a trainee solicitor) and much much richer......

TheOriginalXENA Thu 18-Sep-08 19:43:15

Stars, you want a job in cornwall grin

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Sep-08 19:51:28


biting is pretty normal. In most nurseries I know of (ds was in one, dd has been in 2), they don't tell the bitten child WHO the bitER is so the other parents probably won't know who is doing the biting. My ds did some biting and was bitten and dd was bitten, that's how common it is! But anyway, it's just a phase, it will pass and I woulnd't worry too much about it. A LOT of children go through this and stop and I don't think it's linked to any unhappiness, not at all, it's just something they do, it gets a reaction and in the end they stop.

I think you could talk to nursery about how they handle it, at home if dd/ds ever bit or hit I'd say "no" very firmly and put them "outside", eg in the hall for 1 minute. Then they can come back in and you forget about it completely, as they will have done a minute later too ime. But you're right, there's no point in telling him off hours after the event, they need to handle it at the time and forget about it. I doubt other parents will complain and if they do the nursery should be telling them 'it's a phase, sorry, we are dealing with it'.

Expense, well, if it's about £960 a month that is expensive imo, ESPECIALLY for Wilts. In SE home counties we were paying, until recently, £800 a month for an exceptional nursery. So if you want something cheaper then yes, go for a childminder. Do you ahve a childcare voucher scheme where you/dh work? If not you could consider asking them to start one, it does't cost an employer anything, will link to moneysavingexpert in a minute. The way it works is that a max of £243 is deducted from your PRE TAX salary and paid direct to the provider. This can be done for both parents, meaning you are taxed on the remainder after £243 of childcare costs are paid. Once he's 3 you will also get some sessions paid for, check your own area council for details.

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Sep-08 19:52:54


georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 20:11:06

Thanks for the link and the advice WWW, it is tbh a dual thing with not feeling entirely happy about how they are handling the biting thing, and the increasing cost.

I do need to join busy bees scheme, was going to at my last firm but have now changed jobs.

elliott Fri 19-Sep-08 20:54:03

Sorry for not replying to your post, I haven't been online yet today.
I used a nursery 3 days a week for my two boys, but they are now both at school. I do think that, all other things being equal, if you can find a good childminder then that may be a preferable environment for a very young child, especially if they have to have a lot of hours of childcare per week. At various times I did try to find this for my children, but I never found an individual who I thought would be better than the nursery.
A nanny will likely be more expensive than your nursery, and can feel like a daunting step with all the employment issues, although in practice you can deal with this without too much hassle if you get a payroll company to do it for you. Might be worth looking into particularly if you are likely to have a second child soon.

chankins Fri 19-Sep-08 21:03:46

If I were you I would keep all your options open right now - speak again about your concerns with your current nursery, but meanwhile visit other nurseries in the area, and make appointments to visit cms too.

It is such a good idea to visit both nurseries and cms in order to suss out what would suit your child best.

In our cm group we have permission from parents to call on each other as emergency or back-up/holiday cms, so there are rarely issues if a cm is ill etc. We do lots as a group, outings, play sessions, toddler groups, trips to park and library, school runs, as well as our constant and ongoing training ! This makes us a close-knit group, and we all feel we know each others mindees very well, of course the children become great friends too, so it is a bit like a mini home from home nursery.

Anyway good luck with whatever you decide, but definitly keep looking until you are satisfied.

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