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What to Look for in a Childminder

(38 Posts)
dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 10:18:46

Right, Looks like I'm going back to work full time and will need a childminder for PFB (6 months)
How do I go about this and what do I need to bear in mind?
Also what should the going rate be in Glasgow?
And finally (silly question) what does he need with him when I drop him off?

Thanks in Advance Vipers smile

Pourquoimoi Tue 29-Jan-13 10:24:29

Many things but most importantly someone who you feel comfortable with and rely on your gut feel.
Also, not sure if you have considered a nursery but if not, consider all options.

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 10:26:45

Nursery seems a bit institutional, but i will check a few just to see

Pourquoimoi Tue 29-Jan-13 10:28:01

Fair enough. Different choices for different people, personally I preferred nursery for several reasons but everyone has their preferences, I just think it's important to check everything out.

TotallyBS Tue 29-Jan-13 10:31:37

We used a private nursery (and we are down south) so can't help with other questions but with regards to last question - on a daily basis we dropped off DC with a bag holding (several) changes of clothing and bottle feed that we made up ourselves. We would also drop off a bag of nappies and cream stuff when the previous lot ran low.

Obviously it varies from CM to CM. I mean, some will prefer to keep things simple and feed all her charges the same thing or not to have to keep track of which bag of nappies belong to which baby

TotallyBS Tue 29-Jan-13 10:38:36

When your baby is in the house of someone you don't really know how can you be sure that she isn't neglecting your baby while she is on Mumsnet smile or having her friends over for coffee etc

At least in a nursery you have professional staff.

We were quite happy with out nursery and at 6 months does the baby care if it is a bit institutional? smile

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 10:39:01

Porquoimoi: Can I ask you what your reasons were for preferring nursury?

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 10:49:12

x-post with TotallyBS!

That's a good point BS, I suppose the hard thing is you can't ever know for sure whats going on when you aren't there wherever you baby is sad

My reasoning for the childminder:

1. If we found someone nearby, pfb would get to know other people in our area. (this is important because we are newcomers)

2.DH works from home so absolute reliability of the service isn't a priority (DH could have PFB at home for the odd day if the childminder was sick)

3. It would be more "homelike" although as others have said PFB might not care!

4. They tend to be a bit cheaper don't they? (sounds mercenary I know- but if I'm going back to work-I want there to be a financial point in doing so!)

DH works part time from home so we only need childcare for 2 days per week if this makes a difference. Also, I think I'd like to find an arrangement which can continue as PFB grows- perhaps for a few years.

I chose a childminder over nursery do to cost, and her adult to chile ratio. She only has one other for full days and another in the afternoons.
I wasn't happy with the high staff turnover of staff at my local nurseries, and the lack of flexibility.
I'd go with your instinct. Visit them at home, have a look at the space, try and do it when she has all her charges there so you can see how busy she is and the level of chaos.
Mine is lovely, she doesn't mind if I'm a bit late occasionally, she feeds them lovely home cooked meals, healthy snacks, sends me picture messages and keeps her book up to date on what they've been doing.
He gets on great with the other boys too.
I drop him off in his coat and give her a bag of nappies and wipes as and when she needs them. The other boy comes daily with a bag but I'm not organised enough for that! smile
He loves it there, he doesn't even wave me goodbye hmm

ZuleikaD Tue 29-Jan-13 11:13:32

Am a bit angry at TotallyBS's comment that childminders aren't professional.

Bramshott Tue 29-Jan-13 11:19:40

I chose a CM for DD2 (after nursery for DD1) because I wanted her to be in a home environment, and because I found someone I really gelled with who lived just down the road.

However, the main reason was practicality - my CM could also have DD1 after school on occasion, and when DD2 was older, take and collect from the local pre-school. Yes, gut feeling etc is important, but the main thing that good childcare should do is to make your life easier. Part of that obviously is the certainly that your DC are being well cared for, but what's also crucial are the practicalities - location, flexibility etc.

She obviously lives up to her username wink
You don't actually need any qualifications to work in a nursery, so it's a non-comparison.

Pourquoimoi Tue 29-Jan-13 11:26:29

Hi again, in answer to your question.

For us, a nursery was preferable for the following reasons:
- different children to mix with
- not getting too reliant on one person, if they are sick, having a bad day, on holiday etc
- wider variety of choice of activities
- no risk of just being taken along on their daily tasks, shopping, coffee with friends etc
- variety of carers, so not getting too close to one person and again the issue that if you only have one cater and they're having a bad day then your child will be having a bad day!, if there are more carers that risk is reduced
- more sociable for the children

So we used nurseries for 3 days per week until school. I also used a cm for 1/2 day pw to pick up ds2 from pre-school at lunch until school pickup at 3. I still use her one day per week after school for ds2 (nearly 9).

Different combinations of care suit different people and many will have an alternative list of positives for cm for babies/ toddlers but for us a nursery was better at that time.

chesticles Tue 29-Jan-13 11:28:47

I use both a childminder and a nursery. We use the childminder for flexiblity as my 4yo goes to preschool and the nursery doesn't do wraparound for the 2.5 hours that she is there.

We chose the childminder due to location (just down the road) and availability to be honest. It doesn't work out any cheaper for us, as both nursery and childminder are £35 a day (8-6). Though it is cheaper for DD2 with the childminder (25 per day as the 2nd child). My childminder doesn't provide food so I provide a packed lunch ( our nursery doesn't provide food either). She keeps a bag of nappies& a change of clothes at her house. Daily we take along food and that's about it.

Pourquoimoi Tue 29-Jan-13 11:28:55

Icantuckmyboobsin - the majority of staff in nurseries do need to have qualifications I think. Don't over half have to be nvq2 qualified or more? with min of nvq3 for supervisors?

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 12:18:24

Thanks Pourquoimoi:

I think I will stick with my childminder plan as I would actually prefer DS to be reliant on one person- attachment forming and all wink

I also quite like the idea of him being taken along for daily activities- especially if we can find a childminder nearby as he is then likely to be seeing local shops, houses etc and feeling a connection with his area (something I always felt the lack of as a child)

I can see the range of activities thing being important for older children, especially if they are in child care for the full working week, but i think since mine is little and will be with DH half the week, we can let playgroup/state nursury pick up the slack on that later on.

Thanks for your input though: this is my first kid, so I really appreciate hearing other peoples experience.

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 12:19:58

Bramshott: definitely agree with making life easier!! That's what I'm hoping to achieve!

ZuleikaD Tue 29-Jan-13 12:29:37

DD went to a nursery while I was back at work for five months (then DS came along and I requalified as a CM so I could stay at home with them) and we all hated it. She didn't have one key person who was there all the time so never settled because she didn't bond with anyone, they never took them on outings and stuff and she was totally overwhelmed by the chaos. Also they never put her down for her naps (she was still on two naps a day at that point) and she was just miserable. With hindsight I would totally have used a CM.

Dash - try looking on for CMs in your ideal postcode(s). Your local council should also have a list of all the Oftsed-registered CMs in your area and may also be able to give you an idea of costs. It could vary widely depending on how many there are in your area (for example I charge £50/day but there aren't many around here - in CM-heavy areas you may pay more like £40/day). What they need with them on a daily basis will vary - you'll probably be expected to supply nappies but you can send those along periodically. My mindees have a daily book that comes and goes with them every day but other than that they don't bring anything. I have all their creams, spare clothes etc here already.

In terms of 'what to look for' - rely on your gut instinct as far as the person goes, and be sure what the terms are going to be before you sign up. Ask about holidays (do they charge you for theirs, do they charge for yours), what about sickness days, that kind of thing. You could ask to see a draft contract before you sign anything.

blueberryupsidedown Tue 29-Jan-13 12:35:48

I'm a childminder (this is my day off!!!) and I can say that one of the downsides is that I have my own children and if one of them is ill with something contagious, I can't look after other children. Over the last 12 months, I have had to shut for six days in total, because of two stomach bugs and DS had the flu just before Christmas. On the up side, I am flexible, open earlier than nurseries, don't charge if parents are 15 minutes late, am flexible with food, drinks, etc. Childminders have to take a childminding course, we have first aid and food hygene training, and many will have extra training on anything from behaviour management to language development. Many childminders are educated to degree level. It is dissapointing that some people don't see us as professional.... I do not close down because I have a bad day....angry

And yes I sometimes take my minded children out for a small shop, they pick new fruit and veg, we try new recipes, I tell them about how much things cost, let them pay, we count the money together. I also take them out to the cafe as I think it's part of every day life, a normal thing to do, that their parents would do with them occasionally. I also take them on other outings, such as small soft play areas, visit fire stations, do forest walks...

And I speak two other languages and all the parents I work with love the fact that I also teach their children songs and words in English, French and Spanish.

TotallyBS Tue 29-Jan-13 12:57:38

Ladies - Some CMs are 'professionals' in that this is their full time career. Then there are IME the majority that are mums with kids of their own and are looking for supplementary income.

That is all I meant. Now if you want to waste time and energy parsing everything bring written here on MN and seeing slights in every comment then that is up to you.

TotallyBS Tue 29-Jan-13 13:01:12

blue - when people start wheeling out their cv to make a point is the time to reach for the HIDE button coz nothing good is going to come out of engaging that person. Bye

fivesacrowd Tue 29-Jan-13 13:16:37

I'm cm just outside Glasgow. Expect to pay around £35 per day or £5 per hour. Get list of local cm from local council or cm coordinator (I know east ren has one) and go to visit a few. Most of us are very professional despite some of the opinions on here and when you visit you can go on gut feeling and the information provided to see who suits your needs. You'll probably need to take nappies, wipes, food, spare clothes and poss favourite toy/comforter. Cm should have pram, high hair, car seats etc. I've closed for two days in over two years as a result of my dc being ill, so don't assume that'll be a huge issue but the fact that you have a backup plan is fab. Expect your little one to be out and about most days at toddler groups, local parks, museums etc as well as the odd trip to the shops, cafe etc. When children are small, everything is a possible learning experience and they are little sponges - a good childminder offers a caring and stimulating environment. Good luck, I'm sure you'll find someone lovely.

bluebean Tue 29-Jan-13 13:18:14

We're just outside Glasgow and pay our CM £3.25 an hour for DD2 (nearly 2 yo and there four days a week) and £3.50 an hour for DD1 (5yo, there after schools only). We don’t pay for agreed holidays, so it is cheaper than nursery.

Our CM is just a lovely, lovely woman. She's completely bonded with both my girls and they with her(in particular DD2 who loves her completely, and you get the impression the feeling is mutual).

I chose a CM over our local (very good) nursery for similar reasons to those mentioned above

* When DD1 was my PFB I feared she'd have been swamped by the noise and chaos of the nursery baby room, but then she is a sensitive soul.

* Other mindees seemed to genuinely love the CM, lots of cuddles and affection. Other mindees just looked happy out and about with her (we're in the same village, and you'd often see her at park etc)

* CM takes mindees to local toddler groups etc, so she is mixing with other children she'll eventually go to school with.

* Mindees do normal outdoor stuff, park, library, shops, soft play, days out; they have a broader horizon than nursery can provide with outings only once or twice a year.

* Nursery staff all seemed very young and inexperienced when we visited, CM has adult children of her own and has CMed for years. She knows what she's doing.

* She's very professional, proper contracts, all the paperwork you'd expect, excellent inspection reports etc

DD1 went to our community nursery 3 hours a day from the age of three for her free place. CM took and picked up, so she still got the benefit of the nursery structure when she was older.

Now that DD1 is in school and DD2 at CM, they benefit from being together at CMs during after school period. This hadn't crossed my mind when DD1 started, but it's a great advantage.

As for what to take, I provide packed lunch, nappies, clothes etc. That will vary with each CM though.

fivesacrowd Tue 29-Jan-13 13:18:36

Also, look at scswis website to get inspection reports and list of local childminders. You type in your postcode and I brings up the local ones and their gradings.

fieldfare Tue 29-Jan-13 13:19:46

As a cm I view myself as a professional. I take part in training, I adhere to the eyfs, I provide a service for the parents so that they can work. It's not just a supplementary income. Today is the 2nd sick day I've taken in 3 years. The children I care for are like my extended family, I seriously do care about the children I look after.

In answer to the OP, take a look on And contact your local Families Information Service for a list of the Ofsted reg cm in your area. It might be worth having a think about what pre-school/school your lo will attend and see if you can get in now with a cm that goes to those places as it will make your life easier in the long run.
Rates around here (Suffolk) are approx £40-£45 a day.
I provide all food and snacks for my mindee's so these costs are built into my daily charge. One of my children arrives with a bag each day (change of clothes, nappies, wipes and contact book), the others all give me a pack of nappies and wipes and a few changes of clothes to keep here - they all have their own drawer in my spare room, and I let them know when I'm running low. I wash the changes of clothing but some people might not be happy to do this.
Go with your gut instinct as well as checking their references, Ofsted report etc.

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