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How do i know if a childminder is any good?

(7 Posts)
taytotayto Fri 21-Aug-09 17:51:04

my baby is only 5 weeks old and i hope to have a year off but im already worried about finding a good childminder. i hate the thoughts of leaving her with someone who wont stimulate and look after her well. what should i look for/ask potential childminders. does anyone have any tips on what to look out for. when should i start looking for someone?, and where is the best place to find one? im a first time mum living in an area im new to. i live in the Halifax west yorkshire area (shelf) so if anyone knows a brilliant childminder please please let me know.

nannynick Fri 21-Aug-09 18:13:51

Simple answer is that you don't know how good someone is until you have used their childcare service for a while.

However when you start to look at childcare - be that a childminder, a nursery, or any other kind of care... by visiting a few different providers you will begin to get a feel for what places you like and don't like. Trust your gut instincts - you will know when you find somewhere you feel your dd will be happy.

There is also a list on here somewhere (someone will dig it up I'm sure) of questions to ask a childminder.

Your local Families Information Service provides a list of all Registered Childminders in your local area. Looks like your local FIS is:
Calderdale Families' Information Service
Northgate House, Halifax
Tel: 01422 253053

slowreadingprogress Fri 21-Aug-09 18:33:16

totally agree with visiting a few and spending some time with them. It's their approach that you need to see, how they talk to children and interact with them. We have a childminder locally who picks up/drops off at my ds school and i've seen her two charges next to each other in the pushchair sitting their screaming, pulling each other's hair, crying inconsolably etc and she's ignoring it. however to be honest all parents are different and some would say she's doing exactly the right thing! It's not what I would want but there you go. Everyone is different...that's why I think you need to ensure you can spend enough time with them to a) work them and their approach out and b) ensure they know clearly what you want done and don't want done.

agree with nn that it is about gut instinct as much as anything else.

danthe4th Fri 21-Aug-09 18:42:01

When your baby is a bit older I suggest you visit a few toddler groups and the local childrens centre, ask about who the childminders are, where they meet etc, even ring a few up and ask where they go, you can then get to know them, see how they operate and get to see them looking after children.If a parent approached me at a group I would be more than happy to chat, and more than happy to keep in touch. You've got plenty of time to visit several and i'm sure you'll find someone to suit you.

mookiandco Mon 24-Aug-09 17:47:45

My little girl is 10 weeks old and I will have to return to work when she is 20 weeks. I began looking for a childminder early on and signed the contract last week. I have to say its a weight off my mind as I can now enjoy the few weeks I have left at home with her.

I saw 4 childminders in their homes, spoke to another 4 or son on the phone and also received e-mails from a few more.

I just didnt feel comfortable at the first childminder's house although in fairness she was the first and I wanted to find fault because I was upset at having to put my daughter into child care so early on. She had 3 children there and one split his lip on a toy whilst I was there. I know accident happen but I decided because of that and just a gut instinct, she wasnt for me.

Childminder 2 didnt even acknowledge my daughter, look at her or attempt to interact with her. This put me off straight away.

Childminder 3 was ruled out because of distance. She was nice though and picked my daughter up. She however had not had charge of a baby for 7 years, although if she had been closer I dont think this would have been reason enough to reject her.

Childminder 4, was calm, quiet and interacted with my daughter. She has a 2 year old son and looked after one other little boy once a week. Her little boy was well behaved too. She was very enthusiastic about things she would do with the children and she had a dedicated play room for them which although small had plenty of toys. The only negatives were that she didnt drive and she had only been registered a few months so this was one of her first 'jobs'. I decided it didnt matter about the driving as my daughter is so young and didnt need to be taken out as long as she is stimulated through play etc and goes out in the buggy. I met with her three times in total, once with my hubby too. She was very eager to please and seemed kind and caring. She also offered to do a daily diary for my daughter and to make all her weaning food herself when the time comes. So she got the job!

When you meet childminders they will usually get their folder out with all the bumph and references etc but it is so important to chat with them and see how they interact with your child. I think you will know from instinct who to go for when the time comes.

Good luck with your search

taytotayto Mon 24-Aug-09 19:32:00

thanks everyone for your replies, thanks mooki so such for your really detailed reply, i will start my enquiries now and hope it all works out. its such a stressful search as you never know whats going on when your not around. my neighbour whos garden backs on to ours is a childminder. i say neighbour but i dont know her but my husband has spoken to her and sais she seems nice, not sure if i should even ask her as my husband says its a bad idea to mix business with pleasure but i have lived here for well over two years and not spoken to her or her husband so cant see there being a problem, what do others think.

flopalong Tue 25-Aug-09 19:35:02

Do the kids sound happy and exited when they are outside? does she go to any groups (not that you should follow her lol), if she does you could go as well and see how she is with the children.
I am a childminder and would also be happy to talk and stay in touch, and mookiandco I am soooo glad you could see that the child splitting his lip was an accident and not a reflection on the supervision. That would be my worst nightmare lol.
I also provide daily diarys, picture messages, food, trips, learning expiriences and most importantly a loving environment.

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