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Sudden doubts re childminder - anything I should/could do?

(17 Posts)
jumpjockey Tue 29-Sep-09 18:49:26

We've managed to find a childminder for dd for the 2 days a week when I'll be back to work in December, she'll have just turned 1, and will be there full time from next autumn When I say she's the only CM I found, I really mean that - phoned round over 25 and there just weren't any vacancies. I was quite happy initially, she seems perfectly nice, has a few 3-4 year olds full time and another girl just over 1 so dd would have someone to play with. Went round there the other day to sign contracts and go over all the policies etc, and am suddenly having doubts.

EG; CM didn't show any particular interest in dd while we were there, just left her to crawl around the floor but no real interaction. (likewise the other mindees were essentially ignored for the half hour I was there). She forgot we#d made an appointment to meet her and wasn't there when we arrived, came back 15 mins later once I'd phoned... And while I'd met most of the other mindees before, this time a young lad was there who she minds after school and his behaviour was basically (sorry) a bit thuggish - went to look in my bag, slammed down on the sofa right next to dd and nearly squashed her, shouted and wanted all the attention.

I guess my main concern is that the CM basically hardly spoke to or looked at dd - the first time we went I assumed this was because she wasn't yet 'one of hers' and so didn;t want to be crossing any boundaries, but would have expected a bit more of a friendly approach to a baby she'll be having for 9 hours a day.

Does this sound a bit off, or was she just being businesslike? I've had a quick ring round some of my old list of CMs in case anyone has had a vacancy come up but no dice yet.

nannynick Tue 29-Sep-09 19:07:16

>CM didn't show any particular interest in dd while we were there

That I would say is a problem, especially as your DD is a baby.

>She forgot we'd made an appointment to meet her

That isn't businesslike. I'd see it as another warning sign I'm afraid.

Problem is... you don't seem to have other options. If this CM is near your home, then is it worth looking at CM's near your work, or near DH's work.

Are other options available... dare I say even look at nurseries as a in-between measure while you find a more ideal childminder.

Call around all the other CM's... ask if any have a vacancy coming up for early next year. Then you could look at using a nursery in December and changing to a CM in Jan/Feb.

Danthe4th Tue 29-Sep-09 19:15:24

I hope you have a settling in period written into your contract, so you have a quick get out. I would make sure you have quite a few trial sessions to put your mind at rest, do you know which toddler groups she goes to, as I invite parents to join me so we can get to know each other and the children and they can be reasured how I work. I've got to be honest it does ring alarm bells, but make another appointment to see her, she may have felt stupid for forgetting your appointment and it unsettled her.

squirrel42 Tue 29-Sep-09 19:25:50

If she has "a few" 3-4 year olds full time, plus a just over one year old (full time or part time?) and is going to take on your 9 month old full time as well I'd say double check how many children she is registered to care for at once. That sounds like a lot of EYFS age group children.

squirrel42 Tue 29-Sep-09 19:28:28

Edit: have just re-read the OP and seen she's only starting with your daughter two days a week. Still worth checking out though if you haven't already.

HSMM Tue 29-Sep-09 19:29:27

I would think it a bit odd that she didn't take any notice of your DD, unless she was clearly watching her interact with the other children? I wouldn't worry about the little boy who came after school. He might be a lovely boy who has had a really horrible/tiring day and just want to flop/be fed/chill (or he might be a thug). I wouldn't have forgotten your appointment ... has she been quite organised apart from this? Definitely make sure you have a settling in period on your contract in case you/your DD/your CM/other mindees don't get on.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Tue 29-Sep-09 19:30:08

Follow your instincts.

If you haven't signed anything I would say you have had a change of circumstance and leave it at that.

jumpjockey Tue 29-Sep-09 20:14:23

Hmm... We've given her a deposit but would be ok about losing that if needs be. The difficulty is we're on lots of nursery waiting lists, and CM is (sorry!) a second choice - dd is very sociable and would do really well at a nursery but none of them can offer us a place til autumn next year, hence the CM as a sort of stop gap.

There's no specific settling in period as we haven't yet set the start date (am waiting to hear finalised details from work). Location - again, hmmm...! I've tried plenty of people near home and work, this lady is sufficiently far away that my 2 mile cycle into work will now be 5 miles each way to drop dd off. There just aren't enough CMs in this area

Is it really bad to put dd with one person and then keep phoning round and move her to a different CM if we find someone better? Would that be too unsettling, given that it's just 2 days a week at the moment?

Ripeberry Tue 29-Sep-09 20:22:05

Where in the UK are you? Have you tried asking for a childminder/nanny on Netmums?
There may be some recently registered CMs out there who might be better to give one to one care for your DD.

jumpjockey Tue 29-Sep-09 20:24:41

We're in Cambridge. There's just a massive shortage of childcare here at the moment. Will give the Dark Place a look, thanks for the suggestion.

Scarfmaker Tue 29-Sep-09 20:37:13

I would give her a chance - it can be hard work when you have children present and you're trying to show mums policies, permission forms, sign the contract etc. At least she has all this in place for you.

She probably knows the children she looks after and trusted they were ok without her interaction for a moment while she got on with the paperwork with you.

As for interacting with your child, yes sometimes us childminders don't like to cross any boundaries and as this was the only occasion to get the paperwork out of the way she will hopefully get down to the settling-in time with a more friendly approach.

planejane Tue 29-Sep-09 20:51:54

Trust your instincts.

Whilst I think a CM is far preferable to nursery (for lots of reasons), you do have to be absolutely sure that you've got the right childminder.

Why not make an excuse to go round again. Tell her you're feeling really worried about how your child will cope and want to ask some more questions. Seeing how she responds to this may either reassure you or confirm your doubts.

Carmel206 Tue 29-Sep-09 21:02:27

Jumpjockey - I think we e-mailed a while ago - I had a conversation in work today with someone who has recently interviewed and found a few really great nannies in and around Cambridge - some of whom were looking for parttime work - If you would be interested I can get the details and send them to you ?

Ripeberry Tue 29-Sep-09 21:34:26

Netmums= the dark place grin

jumpjockey Tue 29-Sep-09 22:17:09

carmel, that would be great thankyou, you can get me at emilythecox at

scarfmaker, I guess that's true, it just felt very much as if she wanted the forms signed and then to get me out - there wasn't much in the way of "well hello there jj jr, we'll be seeing a lot more of each other" kind of thing.

planejane, good idea - we'll need to discuss the start date and things so a good opportunity then.

StrictlyAvadaKedavra Tue 29-Sep-09 22:42:23

I'd definitely go and see her again, it is hard to talk to parents and sign contracts when children are about - give her the benefit of the doubt - go at a quieter time and see if your gut is still calling you.

thebody Tue 29-Sep-09 22:44:37

well, I always ask the parents to leave the children at home to actually sign the contracts, its a complicated legal document and all have to really understand what is being signed, its very difficult to do this with children present.

However, that said when, children are present she should be giving all mindees equal attention andd concern.

The afterschooler sounds normal, kids are often tired andd grumpy after a long day.

BUT you have to be totally happy with her and trust her and that doesnt sound the case here so maybe think again.. good luck..

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