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Sudden changes by childminder?

(18 Posts)
WeeHalfPint Sat 03-Oct-09 07:44:44


Newbie here o/ gentle with me

I'm in need of a bit of advice regarding childminder. DS1 has attended same CM for 2 years, with no problems. contracted hours are 9-3 and we've always had the arrangement that I drop him off 10 min earlier and pick up no later than 10mins after 3.

During summer, CM took holidays at short notice, wasn't a problem with me as I was able to work around and she did offer alternative days.

Last week I suddenly got a "newsletter" informing me that from 1st oct parents who drop off/collect more than 5 mins early/late will be charged. She only has my DS & 1 was obviously aimed at me. She has offered to take DS earlier/later & change contracted hours to accomodate but this will make my childcare unafforable and she stressed charges will still apply (fair enough) She states that it is because her son is now at school and she has school run (she lives less than 5 mins from school and has always done school run).

I'm now feeling a little bit confused as to why our relationship seems to have suddenly changed without a real reasonable explanation. I have niggling doubts due to events since summer and DS has started saying he doesn;t want to go there (although CM assures me he's fine once I;ve left)

Can she give me such short notice regarding extra charges? I want to try and come to an agreement with her but get the feeling she doesn't want to look after DS anymore, whatever I suggest there seems to be an obstacle in the way.

I;d really appreciate some advice from parents & childminder alike as I am completely unsure of what to do and how to fix this.

Thanks in advance.


Tombliboobs Sat 03-Oct-09 08:02:51

Well, you are essentially saying that you get up to 20 mins free childcare everyday from your childminder, tbh I am surprised she hasn't sorted this out before. You pay for the service she provides and you are expecting her to give you a considerable amount free.

I can understand that it makes it difficult for you, but she is running a business and needs to be paid for it. You wouldn't go to the supermarket and only pay for the majority of your shopping.

nannynick Sat 03-Oct-09 08:05:03

When you drop your DS off early, or pick up late, were you billed for that additional time?
If it was becoming frequent, then you or the childminder could have asked for the contract to be changed to reflect the new hours (say 8.45 to 3.15).

>Last week I suddenly got a "newsletter"
Ofsted seems to like Newsletter, even if there is only or two parents to whom it is sent!

It is not unreasonable that a late charge is added to a contract, so if you collect outside of contracted hours then a fee applies.

>Can she give me such short notice regarding extra charges?

Depends on what the contract says, if indeed it says anything about amount of notice of changes to the contract.

>I want to try and come to an agreement with her but get the feeling she doesn't want to look after DS anymore, whatever I suggest there seems to be an obstacle in the way.

So does that mean you have been paying for the times you dropped off early/picked up late... and have discussed changing the contract to reflect those hours if it is happening on a regular basis? If the childminder has rejected that... then yes I would agree with you that maybe they don't want to care for your DS any more, so time to look for another minder.

Ultimately if your DS is not happy, you are not happy, then it's best to find another childcare solution (be that another childminder or something else) and give notice.

PuppyMonkey Sat 03-Oct-09 08:05:46

She's probably wanted to say something before, but has only got round to setting out the rules now. If you were using a nursery, for example, you'd be charged extra for anything outside the contracted hours.

Why are you always ten mins early and ten mins late if you don't mind me asking????

Katymac Sat 03-Oct-09 08:06:54

So basically (& I am being gentle) you have had the best part of 20mins or so free childcare a day for 2 years and she has decided to start charging you?

The short notice holiday was a bit odd (& seems unusual) - was it an emergency or is she stressed about something & needed to get away?

Has something changed in her life?

Katymac Sat 03-Oct-09 08:09:01

oops cross posted - with everyone it seems

I had assumed from your post that you hadn't been paying for those minutes - I apologise that I hadn't considered you might be

WriggleJiggle Sat 03-Oct-09 08:16:33

I think it may be time to look for a new childminder. Although she has been wonderful for the last 2 years, some people prefer the baby stage, some people prefer the toddler or older stages. Perhaps your ds has just outgrown her?

Perhaps whilst it is possible for her to do that extra 10 minutes, she just doesn't want the hassle (I presume it makes things a rush for her school pick ups). For the past 2 years it was probably very easy to put your son in the pushchair and whizz him on the school run, now he is older and wanting to walk, everything just takes much longer.

Or perhaps she just wantst o spend more time with her family but doesn't have the courage to tell you she wants to end the contract.

There are any number of reasons she may not want to care for your son anymore, none of them his fault. It sounds like you had a very good relationship with her, but it is now coming to an end, and it is time to move on.

Katymac Sat 03-Oct-09 08:18:56

Look at it another way

You have a job from 9-3 (& are paid for that) but you have a casual arrangement with the boss to come in 10 mins late & leave 10 mins early. How would you feel it he suddenly asked you to work your contracted hours?

WeeHalfPint Sat 03-Oct-09 08:32:31

Thanks for your replies.

Tombliboobs - I know what you are saying...I certainly don't have a problem paying for the extra time but this was the arrangement we came to at the beginning of the contract, it's been this way for 2 years. She hasn't said anything about this to me before now. I haven't suddenly changed times...and as I said I am willing to alter contracted hours to obviously take this into account.

Nannynick - I don't pay for the 10 minute leeway currently. I really want to sort it out and am happy to change contracted hours to reflect this.

<sigh> I guess I'm more upset that she didn't talk to me about it and just put it in a letter, only giving me a weeks notice to try and arrange something else. At the moment I am being slightly late for work and leaving early (I have a good boss) until I can sort this out. I thought we had a good and open relationship and just wish she had said something to me if it was a problem (which it has become)so that we could fix it.

Thnks again for your replies x

WeeHalfPint Sat 03-Oct-09 08:54:44

Katymac - no need to apologise. My DS is 3 and a half now and has walked everywhere since he was 18 months old.

Things have changed for her - her youngest started school now. I often don't get a lot of notice for holidays but we've both always been very flexible in the past and as long as I can get alternative care (which she usually helps me find) there isn't and hasn't been a problem.

WriggleJiggle - thanks, you've kinda summed up the "feeling" I've had.

I am going to sit down with her and sort it all out...I really like her and things have always been great in the past and I hope we'' get it sorted and continue to have a good relationship.

Thanks again for your replies...I did need to see the situation a bit clearer and see where I was going wrong too, and you;ve all helped with that


nbee84 Sat 03-Oct-09 09:07:56

I'm a little confused. In your op you state "She has offered to take DS earlier/later & change contracted hours to accomodate but this will make my childcare unafforable" but your post just now says "I don't pay for the 10 minute leeway currently. I really want to sort it out and am happy to change contracted hours to reflect this"

So you're cm will change the hours to 8.50am - 3.10pm. Is the issue that you don't want/can't pay the extra?

Reading between the lines, maybe when cm took your child on she gave you the 10 mins leeway not realising that it would be a daily thing? Maybe she thought it was extra time for occasions where you might get held up? It could be something that has bugged her all this time but she's not had the courage to say anything - after all 20 mins a day is 1hr 40mins a week and if you work 40 weeks a year (wondering if you work in a school as the hours are 9-3?) that's over 60 hours of free childcare a year!

WeeHalfPint Sat 03-Oct-09 09:33:23

Nbee - apologies for confusing you. CM is willing to change contracted hours but to much earlier/later which would mean an extra hour a day charge...I can't afford that...likewise I can't afford the late charges she would impose which would similarly add up to an extra hour's charge per day.

I hoping we can come to an arrangement whereby I pay for the extra 20 mins each day over a week...i.e. an extra hour a week. (over 3 days) I can afford that, rather than being hit with a rather high late/early fee.

I agree with you about maybe she's not had the courage to say if she was upset about it...hence why I needed to see where I was being unfair, We are all only human after all.

I am trying to understand it from her view and mine, which is why I posted, so that I can sort it out.

thnx again x

nbee84 Sat 03-Oct-09 09:38:38

Oh I see - I get you now. So, cm wants new contract to be 8.30 - 9.30.
Good luck with the chat and hope fully she'll let you change the hours to 8.50-3.10. (just thinking as I type - maybe 8.45-3.15 is more 'rounder' hours that she may consider as a compromise)

nbee84 Sat 03-Oct-09 09:40:27

That should of course say 8.30 -3.30 blush

looneytune Sat 03-Oct-09 13:07:14

I was going to say what everyone else has said, pleased you can see it from her pov now Sometimes I find confrontation hard and end up being a softy and agreeing to things I don't want to so sometimes things go in newsletters now. And yes, Ofsted DO like newsletters!!! lol

Could the change be because you say she has another one at school now? I now take a mindee in the morning aswell as my own son and absolutely have to leave by a slightly earlier time now to enable me to get them both into their different classrooms on time. Maybe it's something like this that made her need to change?

I would have a nice chat about it all, seems a bit drastic to move to another childminder until you're sure, especially as you've been happy up to now.

Good luck

nannynick Sat 03-Oct-09 13:43:54

Maybe the timings are not fitting with the school run.
It may help if you met her at the school to do the drop off.

Danthe4th Sat 03-Oct-09 14:28:18

I can see why she wants to change to the earlier if she wants to get her child to school and be there in time to pick up, I only have a 5 minute walk but I leave at 3 to get there as I like to wait outside with the other mums or if I need to catch the teacher etc.I also leave at 8.30. It gives us time to get coats on etc. I wouldn't want the other children waiting for one child to be picked up.I also wouldn't always want to be waiting 10 mins stood at my door waiting for a mum to pick up. I think you are being slightly unfair, she wants to be there for her own children and is asking for you to pick up on the contracted hours which is what you should have been doing anyway. You have had free childcare for 2 years only fair you pay her a bit extra now and book the 8.30 till 3.30.

Nicadooby Mon 05-Oct-09 11:05:58

Yes maybe the CM is finding it tight timing wise to pck up from school as sometimes the children can get ou a little earlier and you really need to be on time.
If you talk to her about it you may find it something simple like that the school stagger the times they let the children out of the class rooms say by 10mins each year group, so she will need to get there a little earlier to get the the first class room before walking around to the other class?

And to be fair on her though i would be really annoyed if my boss decided to come home 10 mins late everyday and expected me in 10 mins early very day.

I know it has been going on for a long time now but maybe she has just found it hard telling you. She maybe thinking that if she changes your hours to 8.45am/3.15pm then she will end up working 8.30am/3.30pm anyway if you continue to be late and drop off early.

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