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Not entirely happy with CM...WWYD?

(32 Posts)
banana87 Fri 21-Dec-12 23:04:45

I don't really know if I am making something out of nothing here.

I have a CM one day per week only. We have 2 children ages 1 and 4.

My 4 year old reports to me that CM has the TV on all day (she often will also tell me everything she has watched---usually movies). Last week she told me that they "went to the shops for a long long time", which I assume meant they went Christmas shopping. When I drop off the TV is very often on, as well as when I pick up. Today when I received my invoice, she had invoiced for a soft play visit last week that I am 90% sure did not happen because my 4 year old did not mention it at all (she ALWAYS tells me where they went). Today CM took my kids along to the dentist for her kids--which I assume meant that my 2 spent near 30 minutes in a waiting room.

I do not know if I am being ridiculous or not. Should I expect the CM to go about her daily activities (i.e. shopping and dental appointments) and TV being used regularly? My kids seem very happy there but something in my gut is nagging me that its just not right....

My childminder had 2 Dc, my DS sis go to Tesco but also had many activities, even if they were indoors she always did something with then, she also took them to soft-play, played games, made pictures, had him eat food he would never eat for me, park, walks, even a bit of eduction (he was 4).

I had no expectations but she was fantastic and my DS was very nervy and clingy but loved her, she was from Pakistan and taught him so much I was sad when she stopped tbh!

I guess what I am sayig is, shopping is fine as long as they balance it up with something else, she always bought him something when shopping also, toothbrushes, drawing pads etc. It felt like she made a real effort!

did not sis! blush

banana87 Fri 21-Dec-12 23:12:57

I feel like there is no balance.

The kids never come home with art work or ANYTHING meaningful...just makes me even more suspicious that they either go to soft play or sit in front of the TV all day sad

HSMM Fri 21-Dec-12 23:13:53

TV and shopping and dentists are all fine within reason, just depends on how long and how they are approached. I don't charge parents for outings. If she's charging you, can you ask for a copy of her receipt?

I was never charged for outings either! Yes I agree ask for a receipt

MaryPoppinsBag Fri 21-Dec-12 23:22:08

I took my mindee to the dentist.

It's really difficult to get a suitable appt as its about a 5 week bilking period.
I can't go after school as I can't take 6 kids with me.

I used it to talk about how important brushing your teeth.

A CM is not a nursery, and many patents choose us because of this.

I did loads of stuff when we got home. Including playing dentists (mindee is 3)

Ask your CM if not happy.

fluffygal Fri 21-Dec-12 23:31:43

I would not be happy about this, but then when meeting CM's I asked them how much the tv was on. My CM let's my DD watch a couple of Peppa pig episodes just before her nap, or if she is tired/under the weather. I know she has taken her to the vets and for a small basket food shop. She has my 2 year old DD fulltime though and sends home loads of pictures every week, goes to toddler group and monster music 3-4 times a week and is very very happy there.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 21-Dec-12 23:52:46

I thought cm would include trips to soft play etc in expenses and claim against them each tax year

So you shouldn't be billed for them

Did you discuss tv/ see her policy when you met her?

Using a cm means you want a typical home away from
Home setting and this means sometimes going shopping or the doctors or dentist

15 mins can be a very long time for a 4yr so doesn't necessarily mean they went all day

Does she go to a nursery or pre school the day she goes to the cm?

Only you can decide whether to keep your children there - is your youngest happy there?

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 22-Dec-12 01:20:01

Like everyone else has said TV, dentist and shopping all fine within reason. A childminder offers a home from home environment and watching a bit of TV, going to the shops and going to the dentist are all part of 'life at home'.

It depends a) how she approaches it and b) how often she does it/what other things she does.

If you're not happy speak to the childminder or move them elsewhere.

I wouldn't be happy with a childminder who had the TV on all the time. I also wouldn't be happy with a 'big' shopping trip.

calmlychaotic Sat 22-Dec-12 01:28:12

I would go with your gut feeling, the person who looks after your child is am important part of your life in my opinion. not sending home any art or anything would worry me too.

minderjinx Sat 22-Dec-12 07:20:05

I often take one of my rather picky little ones into the supermarket to choose something for tea and to try to build up some enthusiasm for eating what we then make together. I also often take the childen to Hobbycraft and let them browse through the craft bits and come up with their own ideas for what art we might do. I think a bit of purposeful shopping is fine. I wouldn't enjoy taking a bunch of toddlers on a major shopping expedition!

I also send home a daily diary saying the main things we have done, and a visit to soft play would definitely get a mention on the day (though I think my four year old would also definitely mention it anyway).

I would be a bit surprised at no art and crafts going home, but are you sure it's not being stored up to come home en masse? Some minders do put children's artwork in a folder and send it home periodically. Also perhaps some activities like playdough, cooking may be reused or eaten!

AnitaManeater Sat 22-Dec-12 08:10:38

I have had the same childminder for over 10 yrs. She is amazing and also has an Ofsted Outstanding rating. She quite often does 'normal' things with them, like head into town and get a few things for tea and stop in a cafe for a drink. I think it's really important! Life isn't about constant forced activity and I think it's better that children 'learn as they go' and this is why I chose CM!! She does do arts and crafts with them reguarly but I'm just as happy for the kids to potter about with her during the day - as long as she isn't ignoring them. My CM does have the TV on in the afternoons when her afterschool kids come back. Doesn't bother me.

lechatnoir Sat 22-Dec-12 10:37:59

If you don't want a confrontation I'd suggest asking for her to start writing a daily diary as "I'm sure you do all sorts of lovely things but all I ever get from DC is watching TV & going shopping". Unless she's really thick skinned she should at least realise you're on to her!!

banana87 Sat 22-Dec-12 11:58:15

I don't mind in the slightest if they do a quick run to the shops. Nor do I really mind if the CM needs to take her kids to an appt. What I DO mind is that these things seem to happen pretty consistently. I asked DC today if she played playdoh or did painting, etc. She said "a little bit sometimes". I am concerned that DC is coming home talking about Spider-Man movies, and another movie she calls "mums" which she said is scary. I text CM ages ago about that as DC was going on about it and she never replied....
I will request her policy on TV and state that DC has told me it is on all the time. I will also request a daily diary but I almost am just over it now and want to pull them out.

apotomak Sat 22-Dec-12 12:53:09

I would be careful there. I'm a CM and my 4 year old goes to school. She says she does nothing there all day which I know is untrue. She does however bring a lot of artwork home. We had parents' social last week and they were all sharing stories of what their children tell them. My child does not share like other children do ... not because she's unhappy but because this is the way she is.
Then from CM point of view ... I always have craft activity out but it is a free choice and I have some children who do not want to do anything crafty EVER I do not force them and they go home with nothing. On the contrary I have a group of girls who spend all their time sticking, cutting, drawing as my craft resources are freely available.
With the soft play thing ... parents should have a choice especially if they are required to pay additional fee for entrance. I would just ask CM if she would mind asking you first as you were not expecting the additional cost. And certainly ask for a separate receipt from the soft play if you're expected to foot the bill. This might have just been a misunderstanding or lack of communication.
And the other thing such as appointments etc ... I work with my husband who is also a childminder, we work from 6am often till 7.15pm or later Mon to Fri sometimes Sat as well. We do go to the supermarket during that time but that's not every day and not a big shop (we try to do that after all the children have gone) but some things are unavoidable such as dentist visits etc we do our best to include as few children in this as possible but sometimes we just have to take some with one of us (the one who is going). It might have just been unfortunate the visit fell on the day your daughter was there.
The tv thing ... she should have explained it to you at first visit. We use tv as a bit of down time sometimes when we see the children are tired and can't cope with their emotions, sometimes the afterschoolies ask to have it on as they don't want to do anything else.
If I were you I would get a notebook and hand it to the childminder and ask her to write what your child does etc. Ask her if she'd mind taking a few photos and email you later. And explain that you just want to know what your child is doing as she doesn't say a lot about her day. If the childminder does nothing with her she'll know you're onto it but it might as well be the case of the child not telling you everything. I'd give it a few weeks and see how it goes.

banana87 Sat 22-Dec-12 18:24:28

Apotomak: I completely get that she isn't telling me everything. But I know from nursery that she tells me the big things (I.e. what she made, what worksheets they did,etc). I'm sure it's not entirely representative of her day at all. However with the CM it's a completely different story. She tells me where they go (often soft play) and what they watch on tv. She says the tv is always on. It is on when I drop off at 9:30 and its on when I pick up at 5:30. It's just my 2 DC and her 2 DC and they are all similar ages. I obviously can't ask the baby what goes on. I had a bad experience about 3 years ago when I had the same gut feeling and that CM ended up getting struck off (for a totally different reason that had nothing to do with me).

As a parent, how would you feel about the TV being on at drop off and pick up?

Tanith Sat 22-Dec-12 18:40:52

Worksheets?? I think I'd be more concerned about your nursery, tbh!

I also think you may be expecting the same kind of activities at the childminder's house as your child does at nursery. It isn't going to happen: they're totally different settings.

Children at my house do loads and loads of creative and messy play. However, they rarely have anything to take home. We concentrate on the process rather than producing something to placate Mummy with.

woahthere Sat 22-Dec-12 20:51:44

I am a cm and I always feel bad at drop off and pick up time because it must seem like the telly is always on, but it genuinely doesnt go on for the whole rest of the day. It is because I let my 5 year old watch his one programme before breakfast which happens to coincide with drop off time...then it goes off until after school when he watches a few programmes like dino dan. I dont want to say no to him about this because its his house, hes had a busy day and likes to unwind...again though, it is just before his tea and often coincides with pick ups!
My son tells me he does nothing at school...its not true!

Quite often my children go home with 'stuff' for their parents and I can genuinely say that it is probably the least creative stuff that they have done all day! The real creating takes place when they think theyre not being watched giggling under the table with a pal, hiding in the dark with a torch. Playing with play dough they love but cant really take home. one girl I look after loves making a beautiful picture...then snipping it all into tiny pieces until there is nothing left!

As for the shopping and appointments...I think its not something that should happen often, but when it does...its ok because its part of life. It may be that the time of year has put your cm under extra pressure to get things done. Maybe give it a while in the New Year and see if things improve...but also ask if a diary can be done...this may make her more conscious of her day with your children.

Hope that helps.

SimLondon Sat 22-Dec-12 22:06:20

Your last childminder was struck off and you have a bad feeling about this one?

It's threads like this that make me glad that I went for the nursery option.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 23-Dec-12 00:58:15

OP, if you don't feel happy with your CM the best option is to move your child.

MaryShoppins Sun 23-Dec-12 02:30:39

It's threads like this that make me glad that I went for the nursery option.

Because ALL Childminders are terrible and ALL nurseries are wonderful, right? hmm

OP you've had some good advice here. How long have your dc's been with present cm?

stella1w Sun 23-Dec-12 04:45:06

It doesn,t sound to me like the balance is right.. Sounds like you are paying her to get on with her day. Taking your kids to her dentist is not on unless she checks with you first (yes, dentists are open on saturdays). Home from home doesn,t mean taking your money and dragging your kids round with her.

fluffygal Sun 23-Dec-12 09:02:21

sim that was an unhelpful comment. My first 4 children went to the same nursery, I thought highly of it and was ready to send my 5th. On her settling in session they completely ignored her and I decided there was no way I could send her there if that's the attention she would be getting. I then saw 5 cm's before finally meeting 'the one' and she is honestly perfect for my DD! Even on the weekends she wants to go there. You can't say all cm's are bad or all nurseries are awful, and its ridiculous to even suggest this.

OP if you aren't happy, and it sounds like you really are past the 'trying to make it work' stage, start looking elsewhere. When you find the right one you will wish you'd done something sooner!

fluffygal Sun 23-Dec-12 09:03:20

Also do you not get a contact book? She should really be writing down everything she has done with them every day.

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