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Suggestions for discretely/diplomatically getting my lovely childminder to get better organised?

(24 Posts)
itsmeolord Tue 06-Oct-09 13:56:03

I have a lovely childminder, dd is very happy there.

However, I need to sort a few things out with her that I think may be a little contentious. She can take offence quite easily sometimes and tbh I can't be arsed with the drama but I really need to sort a few things out.

1. She never ever keeps up to date with paperwork, I have been waiting for over 4 weeks for a new contract and I haven't signed my weekly sheets for the hours for over two months. I ask about this at least once a week.

2. She forgets what hours I have used/contracted and either presents me with a huge bill for unpaid extras or I find that I am owed lots of money which she will then fudge over and say I must be mistaken, she can't find the paperwork etc. I got quite upset recently because I was given a bill for quite a few hundred pounds for things she had forgotten about ovr the course of the year. This was costs such as days out etc. I was very hmm about it but am having to pay up.

3. She keeps giving me the wrong bank details for me to pay her wages via standing order and won't take cash from me. When I have just gone Sod it in the past and paid her cash she has then forgotten that I have paid her and asked where the money is etc etc.

4. She is supposed to be feeding dd after school but more and more often dd is coming home starving after being given a plain pitta bread/a cheesestring etc. I don't pick dd up until 6pm, the reason I pay for dinners is because it is too late by then for dd to eat. I wouldn't have time to cook her something decent and get her homework done, have a little quality time etc.

Reading this back, it probably looks like I am accusing my childminder of ripping me off, I'm not, it's her disorganisation that is the problem. Dd has been late to school a few times now and the childminder also forgets that dd will be there in the morning quite often. (we are left standing on the sddorstep for 5-10 mins) whilst she gets out of bed/gets dressed).

So, have any of you had similar issues or can you suggest a way to tackle this without it causing a problem?

Many thanks.

notnowbernard Tue 06-Oct-09 13:59:22

Well, she sounds pretty shit to me

She might well be a "lovely" person, but you are being let-down, ripped off, and she isn't doing her job properly!

What would you do if dd were at a nursery and they were closed when you arrived for drop-off? Or hadn't fed her lunch? Or regularly over-charged you?

LisaD1 Tue 06-Oct-09 14:07:18

OMG! I am a CM and I'm sorry but I agree with the above, she sounds shit! I would be telling her to sort her act out or give notice. The paperwork is bad enough but your DD being unfed and late for school is totally unacceptable, she should be ashamed of herself! (The so called CM, not your DD!!)

itsmeolord Tue 06-Oct-09 14:12:58

I know, I know, it does all sound really awful whe it is written down doesn't it.

She does have many good qualities, she is very good with the children and well loved. Dd is very happy to go there and she does do an awful lot with the children. TV is rarely on and they regularly visit museums/fire stations/do craft and sporting activities.
She will always help me out if I am going to be late and was fantastically supportive when I was made redundant.

It really is the disorganisation and chaos that is causing the problems.
I don't think she is actively trying to overcharge me, it's more that she isn't doing her admin and has to guess.......

Re the being late, I only found out this week and I am very cross about it. It came out when I queried the attendance sheet in dd's school report. The head only got back to me this week even though I queried it at the atart of the term as she has been on maternity leave.

looneytune Tue 06-Oct-09 14:13:43

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I thought you might be a parent of mine (I'm CM) when I saw the title as I've been a little forgetful on a few bits recently but my goodness, if your childminder is 'lovely' then I'm 'amazing' grin

Joking aside, this is REALLY REALLY bad of her!!!! It may help to know about her lovely bits because all I can see at the moment is a reason to change CMs, moreso because it sounds like she can be dramatic when you mention things??? I can't believe this list tbh and as for the big bill, OMG, that's TERRIBLE and you should NOT be paying.

I started providing nappies a few months ago and parents were supposed to be paying me 50p per day for this. Well silly me forgot for the first month or 2 to charge for the nappies so guess what.........NO, I didn't add it all at once to the bill, I emailed parents to say I'd forgotten and to remind them it would be added in future but to let them know that this is MY mistake and therefore I've lost out!!!

Without knowing any good points, it's hard to work out why you use someone that's this bad, really, it's one hell of a list!!!

And some of it also comes under the 'Welfare Requirements' and Ofsted would not be at all happy about the food thing, if you're paying for an evening meal, that's what your child should get! I don't charge for meals any more and last night they had a home made spaghetti bolognaise (with loads of veg hidden in wink). I admit I don't like cooking it all as with lots of kids to feed, a batch doesn't last long but hey, it's all part of the job!!

Sorry I wasn't much use at all, just very shock tbh.

You sound lovely btw but you should think about what you're getting for your money and not worry so much about upsetting your CM!

titchy Tue 06-Oct-09 14:20:54

Remembering to feed a child and get them to school on time FAR outweighs taking her to a museum IMO.

You're paying her remember - she isn't doing you a favour out of the kindness fo her heart. You need to tell her to shape up or you'll ship out.

notnowbernard Tue 06-Oct-09 14:25:27

I would rather my dd be fed and taken to school on time than taken on trips to fire stations

Sorry, but she's crap

itsmeolord Tue 06-Oct-09 14:32:12

OK, I think you are right in that I should be thinking of it as more about what I am paying for than keeping the peace if you see what I mean.

I suspect it's probably this bad because I have let it slide for a while so I am probably a little to blame too.

So, how about if I ask if I can have 10 mins to talk to her and bring it up then? I can do it at pick up time because dd could carry on playing for 10 mins whilst we talk.
Would it be too much do you think to do it all in one hit?

I am thinking;
1. saying being late is not an option, from now on I need an explanatory phonecall if this occurs.
2. Saying I need the contract and correct bank details by this Friday.
3. Insisting that paperwork is ready to be signed at pick up on a Friday.
4. Offering to stop paying for meals and send dd with her own food to be warmed up instead.

serenity Tue 06-Oct-09 14:38:08

I would also want a cut off date for 'extras' tbh. It's out of order for her to suddenly remember and land you with a big bill - are you getting receipts? I'd say, one months leeway, then anything she's forgotten is her own responsibility.

Also, if you're giving her cash and she's disputing receiving it, get yourself a little notebook and get her to sign for it. Most of my friends are CMs, and they would never act like this!

notnowbernard Tue 06-Oct-09 14:39:19

Yes, I think that's more than reasonable to say all of that in one hit

Remember, you are a customer paying for a service!

As I said, you'd (quite rightly) be furious if a nursery/after school club served up a cheese string for lunch or "forgot" to pick her up from school

Good luck, hope you get the outcome you want

looneytune Tue 06-Oct-09 14:50:39

Yes that sounds fine but I agree also about the cut off for extras. I think the warming food up is a good idea and saves you some money As for contract, did you realise that with no contract, your child isn't insured! Maybe you could use this line and say you just found out and it worries you and it's vital to know your child is covered god forbid anything happened.

Off to wake kiddies then school run, good luck with it all x

EldonAve Tue 06-Oct-09 14:53:24

She sounds dreadful
Have you looked at other CMs?

itsmeolord Tue 06-Oct-09 15:11:01

The cut off for extras is a brilliant idea, will add that as well. I think 6 weeks would be reasonable?

I didn't know about the insurance. shock

We have had to do a new contract as I have changed my hours a little. I thought we were still covered.......

I haven't looked at other CM's as yet, I think I will have to though if she doesn't sort out the current issues. TBH, I have probably had head in sand syndrome. Childminders are like unicorn horns around here.

Oh well, only another 18 months of needing a childminder.... sigh.

HSMM Tue 06-Oct-09 16:39:21

This is basic everyday stuff that she should be getting right. Sorry.

Danthe4th Tue 06-Oct-09 17:50:53

Not true about the contract and insurance if its ncma, the contract is to safeguard you both against disagreements but does not make the insurance invalid against injury etc only against using legal advice if you have a disagreement, I had to check this recently.

Why not send a meal to reheat even if its a ready meal from m and s that would be better than going hungry and 1 less hassle.

looneytune Tue 06-Oct-09 18:15:08

Oh right, I stand corrected Someone said it on here a while back but I've never had the need to check it.

thebody Tue 06-Oct-09 19:01:10

I dont really understand why you still send your children to her quite frankly.

Having your paperwork in good order and meeting and feeding the children is All PART OF THE JOB. one is not more important than the other and she is short changing you.

I have most of my parents pay me by direct debit as hpurs are the same week in and week out but one family has irregular hours so I present mum with a professional invoice every week showing all hours and payment.

she sounds like a nightmare and if her paperwork, especially attendance record, is incorrect or not filled in, she is not meeting Ofsted requirements..

being late for school, not feeding and still in her pyjamas.. jesus woman what would it take for you to get rid..

itsmeolord Tue 06-Oct-09 19:42:54

thebody - I did try and say in my op that she is actually really very good with the kids, does a lot that is good for them. She is incredibly scatty though and that is the problem.

Anyhoo, I have Had A Word.

I said I have been thinking about a couple of things that are bothering me and can we talk.
She did get a bit defensive, so I said either we had a conversation and sorted it or we couldn't carry on with the contract.
She then listened. smile

So, she has apologised for the lateness. I have made it clear that I will give notice if it occurs again without good reason, ie stuck in an unavoidable traffic jam.

I have her bank details and I made her show me her card so that I could take the details straight off that.

She has agreed a 6 week cutoff for any extras and she has taken £200 off the big bill she gave me, we went through what she thought was owed and matched it against my diary. ( i was very cross that she had overestimated by so much and said so.)

The food thing is sorted , I will give her food to be heated up for dd and a bag of healthy snacks at the beginning of each week. She did say that she was struggling to get dinners cooked and get the mindees from various after school clubs etc, I gently reminded her that I had paid her for dinners and suggested she should have spoken to me about it.

I mentioned the morning thing as well and made it clear it needs to stop as if I am kept waiting it's a) not much fun for dd standing in the cold and b) it makes me late for work.
She has agreed to be at the door ready in the mornings.

Paperwork will be out ready for me every friday. The contract will be there for me to sign tomorrow......

So, all in all she wasn't too chipper by the end of it but I have said that either we stick to this now or I give notice because it's not workable.
She got quite upset about that but I remained strong - you would have been proud of me ladies. grin

I've said that we will see what happens over the next few weeks and will review if necessary.

I do feel much better now I've taken it back to a more business like setting. I think half the trouble was because we are good friends as well which probably clouds the arrangements at times.
Hopefully things will work now, if not, then I'll have to reluctantly give notice.

Many thanks for your help. smile

notnowbernard Tue 06-Oct-09 22:26:02

Bloody well done!

Talk about asking for advice, getting it in the neck, taking it on board and acting on it... that is impressive, itsmeolord shock

Let us know how it pans out


paranoidmother Tue 06-Oct-09 22:35:49

Well done for standing up and saying it all to her. Better that you do it now than put up with it and even more problems come along. Good on you

lisa1968 Wed 07-Oct-09 10:46:33

I know its hard to approach us Childminders about some things because you may feel that you are critisising their care etc but Childminders have to work in partnership with parents or theres no point in doing the job.Well done for speaking to her-you probably feel a lot better now, and she will know where she stands with you-I wonder if she s like it with other parents...!!

itsmeolord Wed 07-Oct-09 11:57:03

Lisa the other parents are just as scatty if I'm honest. grin

She was on time this morning, but then told me that the two weeks she has booked off this month is now a week and a half so I will have to pay for the half week at full rate even though we have booked time off work to cover her.....

I said no. She booked it, cancelling it at a weeks notice doesn't work for us....
She is not very happy at all but I think I just need to keep putting my foot down really.

grin at getting it in the neck. Yes it did feel a bit like that! Well needed kick up the bum for me really though.

thebody Thu 08-Oct-09 18:48:13

sorry this is awful imo.. You should be able to drop off your child and concentrate on your job knowing that your child is safe, happy and cared for to a professional standard.

You shouldnt have to be keeping her up to the mark.. thats ridiculous..

Holidays should be booked months in advance, and she is taking the piss because she is your friend I think,(well not acting like one).

Definatly look around because if you stay with her your friendship will end..

gingernutlover Thu 08-Oct-09 20:38:50

erm actually she doesnt sound like a lovely person.

sounds totally unproffesional to me.

the lack of dinner would be my biggest concern interms of my child but the other things would be enough to make me change childminders anyway.

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