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What clinched the deal when you picked your childminder?

(30 Posts)
BeatrixRotter Thu 11-Jun-09 13:07:24

I have met with quite a few and have found 2 childminders I would be really happy to leave DD with.

Location wise they are about equal, both loving homes and have good ofsted reports. They both have other children around.

One has a garden and goes to more toddler groups. But she is very expensive.

The other has no garden and does more school runs etc rather than toddler groups. She is in a flat rather than a house and is much cheaper.

I just wondered what clinched it for you? I don't want to make the decision on cost alone although it may come down to that.

hatwoman Thu 11-Jun-09 13:13:00

for me it was the cm's son. he was (and still is) a delight. polite but not overly restrained, iyswim. comfortable in adult company,aware he needed to let the grown ups talk, but still able to interact. it was a good choice too - he loved having dd and still, at the age of about 15 now, will get on his hands and knees giving kids a ride on his back, and then jump up and talk to adults like a smashing young man.

BeatrixRotter Thu 11-Jun-09 13:16:16

The more expensive lady has a young son who was very well behaved and semed a sweet kid. The other lady has teenaged children who I met. They also seemed lovely and were keen to smile and interact with my DD.

dietstartstomorrow Thu 11-Jun-09 13:18:38

Speaking from a CM's POV, I would go with the expensive lady. Having a garden and going to lots of groups will benefit your DD loads.

How expensive is she? What's the hourly rate?

holdingittogether Thu 11-Jun-09 13:20:13

Garden would be very important to me. With regards to cost I would advise you check what is included in the price, maybe the more expensive one is all inclusive and the cheaper one charges extra for food and outings??

BeatrixRotter Thu 11-Jun-09 13:25:31

She is £6 ph with no daily rate, so £60 per day. The other lady will be £45 per day.

The cheaper lady does go out on school runs and to the park so it is not as though DD will be inside all day. But a garden to play in would be a nice thing, as would toddler groups. Although as I am working part time I could take her on my days off.

Food is not included in the price but I need to check about outings etc.

WolframAlpha Thu 11-Jun-09 13:25:32

I would go with the garden and groups lady if they seemed the same.

The deal clincher for me was the loveliness of her own children plus the fact that she had been doing it for 15 years plus, so not just a job convenient to her (ie fitting in with her wanting to be at home whilst her own children were small, and therefore likely to change careers when that was no longer the case) but a career/vocation so my dd and her likely to have a long relationship, which has turned out to be the case.

BeatrixRotter Thu 11-Jun-09 13:30:27

Thats a good point wolfram. The lady with the garden has her young son at home (last child), she very much gave up her career to raise her kids. The other has been minding for 10 years. She mentioned a career change but said she would miss minding too much.

WolframAlpha Thu 11-Jun-09 13:43:39

It might be worth asking them outright? If the other lady was mentioning a career change when you met her to talk about her looking after your dc I would be a bit hmm-ish.

BeatrixRotter Thu 11-Jun-09 20:52:42

I certainly need to ask that question. It is so hard to make up my mind. I was set on the first lady until I met the other one. I might have to send DP to meet them to get his opinion. The thing is the lady with the garden had a lovely family home and the garden would be a good thing, but the other lady still managed to shine in her slightly scruffy flat. Almost as though she had to work harder to be as good.

cory Thu 11-Jun-09 21:21:00

Have had three childminders so far.

The first impressed us with her sheer competence and experience and utter impression of reliability. She looked after dd for about 8 years and ds for another year or two after that. She was utterly reliable and very experienced, but towards the end was getting on their nerves a bit as she was really more of a baby person, a bit fussy and set in her ways for older children. She had a garden and went to toddler groups and was involved in the local commnunity, so very good in all sorts of ways.

The second childminder was for dd only- because she had a car big enough to take her wheelchair and was recommended to us. Worked fine until she moved away.

The third is the one they both now currently attend- came highly recommended and is one where their friends go. This is where they have been happiest, but all three have been fine really.

They all three had gardens.

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Thu 11-Jun-09 22:05:12

DD's CM does not really have a garden, but goes to lots of toddler groups - I have been surprised how much DD seems to get out of them, even at 14 months. She loves the interaction, singing, watching the other kids etc.

I like not 'having' to go to toddler groups on my day off, as I feel DD gets plenty of that with the CM, so I can meet friends for coffee or go shopping with a clear conscience. But that is just me - I know lots of people enjoy toddler groups. smile

One of the things I liked about DD's CM was the fact that she didn't do loads of school runs - just on foot for her own DCs. I didn't really fancy the idea of DD spending all day in and out of the car - although I'm sure it would have been fine really.

Her children are also lovely. smile

They both sound like they have very good points - I think you just get a feeling, don't you?

BeatrixRotter Thu 11-Jun-09 22:45:49

The whole garden thing is a bit more unusual as I am in London. I think she is walking on the school runs but i'm not sure. I know she does go out to parks and the libraries. If I hadn't met the second one I would have gone with my feeling for the first but now I'm not sure. Perhaps something will make the decision for me.

childcarer Fri 12-Jun-09 04:12:21

Hi, this is my first time posting a message on Mumsnet but felt the need to add some comments as a childminder. The best way to chose one is to go with your gut instinct. Look at how her own children are behaving, and any other minded children react to/with her (or him!) The Ofsted inspection report should only be taken as a guide, I know brill childminders who didn't get outstaNDING AND OTHERS WHO DID AND ARE NOT THAT GOOD DAY TO DAY WITH THE CHILDREN.(OOPS) If it comes down to cost ask your employer if they do childcare vouchers where some of their childcare costs are deducted before tax and NI are paid so saving a reasonable sum of money but you can't use these if claiming working tax credit.

Also the reason why childminders are leaving is the introduction of the new EYFS and the amount of paperwork that needs to be done. leaving less time to care for and interact with our young charges. Not all parents think about using a childminder either now, we aren't as well advertised but you can find us throught the Family Infomation Service which you can access on-line. Some Mums are afraid their child will get too close to a childminder and not want them but in my 20 yrs experience that doesn't happen, they still love Mum

JenniPenni Fri 12-Jun-09 08:34:10

As a CM I would say go with your gut instinct. I would arrange to see them both again, this time with hubby en tow. He might see things in a different light?

Re the flat vs house. It really depends how the space is utilised within the space.

Re the setting.
I have a two bed spacious flat, one bedroom is a dedicated playroom. The open plan diner/kitchen/lounge area is also a play area. My friend, who has a 3 bed house, doesn't utilise upstairs at all, and has made a space for a play area in the dining room. My mindees have loads more personal space in my home, even though it's a flat.

Re the garden.
I have a communal garden (am in SW London), which is huge with big trees... we are in it as much as poss - we take down balls and games - granted there is no sand pit/trampoline, but the playground and common make up for this I think. I have a park (with a toddler playground area) 2 mins away, local shops like PO, vege shop etc. 2 mins away, Wimbledon Common is across the road. My friend has a garden and she is the first to tell me they spend lots of time there but she doesn't get out much with the kids due to having her own garden.

We both do toddler groups, library visits etc.

Re school runs - I did one briefly and then stopped as it interfered with meal and sleep times too much for the younger kids. My mindees (4 of them - I have a variation in place), are under 4. I now do not do them.

So when visiting the settings again, see how space is utilised inside and out... and I do think it's a good idea that fresh eyes (hubby's!) see it then too, you might see different things this time too

BeatrixRotter Fri 12-Jun-09 12:28:22

Thanks guys. I now have something else to add to the mix. I had called the 1st childminder on Monday to tell her I wanted to go ahead, she could not see me until today so I thought I would keep the appoinments I had made to see other CMs. I should have told 1st CM I was doing this but it just didn't really occur to me.

So now when I see her today she is epxecting me to pretty much sign on the dotted line and seemed a little bit let down that I was considering another person (who I only met yesterday). She was completely professional about it but I realised I had messed her about by not telling her exactly what was going on(though I suppose I thought I would be reviewing contract prior to saying yes). She did mention that she had had other calls that she had turned away for me so now I feel really guilty and worried that I have put myself in a bad light. After all I need to have a good relationship with her and would like her to think of me as reliable and straight forward etc.

I left her house feeling less positive about her but I don't know whether this is because I feel guilty and awkward rather than because I think she is not as good as the lady I saw yesterday.

BeatrixRotter Fri 12-Jun-09 12:30:52

I meant to add, getting DH round there might be a good plan. For some reason I worry about putting CMs out or being a pain in the arse

JenniPenni Fri 12-Jun-09 12:48:52

To be frank, if you had told me you wanted to go ahead and I had told other enquiriers I had no vacancy now (as per you verbally saying you wanted the vacancy) I would be put out too.

Times are tough and turning away potential business is not ideal. She took it well though it seemed, which is a good sign! I too would be professional - this happens in business.

Best thing I think is to be upfront and say you have seen another CM who you also like and need to make a decision, and that DH will come along next time too, as he would love to meet her. I would appreciate this frankness.

I always like to meet mum and dad myself, although have had a couple of mums sign with me prior to me meeting dad at all. I see parents after hours/Sat as there is a lot to discuss and I cannot properly mind the kids I have and chat about all that needs discussing.

I don't let parents review contracts (let them take it away) as they are pages long, as is the record form, and we have to buy them from NCMA... they're in triplicate etc. I go through contracts with parents who are interested so they know what's involved. Upon signing we go through it in fine detail.

BeatrixRotter Fri 12-Jun-09 12:54:57

I know JenniPenni I completely see that now, not sure why I did not before. I guess I need to hope that she will meet DP soon. I did tell her about the other CM and ask if she would meet DP but then as I was feeling really awkward I did not pursue it. I'm terrible really, all through this process I have worried too much about asking too pressing questions etc etc.

Sidge Fri 12-Jun-09 13:05:07

How old is your child?

Which one does s/he prefer?

BeatrixRotter Fri 12-Jun-09 13:07:18

She's one. She was more lively at CM 2. But that may have been because there were balloons. She has been quieter at CM 1's place.

JenniPenni Fri 12-Jun-09 13:10:09

Ask as many questions as you need to! Go with a list if need be! She won't mind at all I am sure - that's what we are here for... and there ARE loads of things to chat about. You have to be 100% certain your child is being cared for by someone who is on the same page as you.. regards diet, exercise, sleep, tantrums etc. etc.

Just a thought.. I would get DP there asap (if you are still considering using her), as in the interim she might see someone else and they sign immediately and the vacancy not be there anymore.

JenniPenni Fri 12-Jun-09 13:11:33

'She's one. She was more lively at CM 2. But that may have been because there were balloons. She has been quieter at CM 1's place. '

Very important to see where she's happier. That's why a second visit is always a good idea.

Plus how were they with her?

WolframAlpha Fri 12-Jun-09 13:15:57

Also, ask for and phone references before you make a decision. Really important - I'm sure you would do this, anyway, just can't see it on your posts. I had a massive feeling that our cm was the 'one', but still she gave me originals of letters of recommendation and I phoned them all. Was very soothing.

BeatrixRotter Fri 12-Jun-09 13:25:46

CM2 seemed to find DD hilarious and laughed at her the whole time, but in a good way. She did seem to engage with her more, and though they both played with her she was more subdued both times we visited CM1. Maybe that is why I was favouing CM2 yesterday even without the garden.

I have one set of phone references to call and need to get the other one.

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