This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Childminder or nursery ??(13 Posts)
My DS is almost 6 mo and I need to start thinking of childcare as I need to return back to work in the next 4-5 months. Can someone talk me through the pros and cons of childminders and nurseries. We are unable to decide what would be best for our DS.
Both me and DH have demanding jobs - if that helps.
I am hoping some of you have tried both and can give me some sound advice on what you thought was the best...
Sorry if I have posted this in the wrong section - wasn't sure if I should be posting in Nurseries or Childminders...
We had the same decision but it mostly came down to what would fit with our jobs. Most nurseries I've seen are open 8-6, the one we use is 7.30-6.30 (most parents of our nursery will have a fairly long commute, explaining the slightly extended hours).
The childminders we looked into were pretty rigid with 8-5.30 hours, and worked out waaaay more expensive than nursery. I bring up the hours thing because you say you have demanding jobs. I personally would go for nursery over childminder. Particularly as you have to factor in childminder getting sick, needing holidays, etc.
I know people like childminders for the "home away from home" thing, but that's not what I wanted for DD. She's benefiting so much from the socialisation and is so much more confident. She loves being with the other children.
My DD loves nursery, we love it too. It's so important to get a good vibe about the place and feel confident about it.
Good luck, it's not an easy decision.
I would echo a lot of what Max says above. My DS has done extremely well at nursery and gets on terrifically with the other kids. But I'd say it's very important to go and visit a few places and get the feel for them. Book to go and see some and ask friends etc for recommendations.
I'm not sure where you're based fantastic but I'm a cm and myself and all the ones I know are really flexible with opening times etc,
I often have my mindees for quite a few hours extra in the evening, give dinner etc, even take them back to their home and put them to bed if parents need to work late.
Nurseries have rigid set opening times but as cm's work for themselves they can negotiate times that suit them and are therefore in a position to be flexible, but obviously not saying that they all are.
As for cm sickness and holidays, most cm's do not take many sick days (I've taken 1 in 8 years) and a good cm will give lots of notice of annual leave so you have time to find alternative care.
Your best bet is to keep an open mind and visit lots of nurseries and childminders. See for yourself the care they offer, how they interact with your baby, how they interact with the other children they care for, whether their routines fit your child's and how flexible they can be to accomadate your child's routine and needs. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions, it's an important decision and a personal and individual one.
Good luck with finding what's right for you.
fantastic that really surprises me. Round here all the cm's are open far longer hours than the nurseries, ( in my case 6:45am - 7pm) and are without exception cheaper than the nurseries.
It really is a personal decision and depends completely (obviously) on the childminders and nurseries available locally. I agree that you need to visit a few, speak to other mums in your area and get a feel for what is out there.
Lots of people will advocate a childminder for a 6 month old, for one to one care etc. My DD started at 12 months at a nursery but it had the most amazing baby . My H and I are lawyers with no other support locally so if ever we'd both been due in Court and a childminder phoned in sick, we'd have been really stuck. We thought there was less likelihood of this with a nursery. Also in my case I thought that she'd do better at nursery - I think there is more opportunity for age appropriate activities, wouldn't have to do the school run for the childminders' other mindees, easier to stick to their routine in a nursery, better long term provision (i.e. wouldn't have to change later on). Thats just my view however.
I don't necessarily agree with others that nurseries are more flexible - whilst nursery is open from 8am until 6pm, that is rigid and there is a penalty at our nursery of £11 for every 15 minutes that we are late. Similarly there have been some days when it would have been easier to drop earlier, but can't do that. Having said that, some parents have private arrangements with the nursery ladies so e.g. I know of one nursery worker who collects a child enroute, but if flexibility is an issue, childminders are usually more accommodating.
Similarly I think nurseries are more expensive than childminders. Here my DD's nursery is £65 a day - most childminders are £4 an hour (max £5). Some childminders will also charge a daily rate for 2 children which is only just more than 1 child, whereas nurseries may offer a 10% discount for a 2nd child, but it doesn't really make a dent in 2 lots of fees. If you're planning on another child therefore and want continuity of care for Number 1, might be worth considering a childminder.
My dd went to nursery aged 9 months and she was fine there but they did swap their staff around internally between the different age groups which I think dd found rather unsettling. Dd also was/is a bad sleeper and the routine at the nursery didn't always work for her (if she'd been up really early 10am was a bit late for her morning nap and as the babies slept in the same room they played in they were all supposed to sleep at the same time).
We moved her to a CM when she was 18 months old and she loves it. I think she likes the continuity of one to one care and that the routine is more flexible. They go to the park and various playgroups etc so her day is similar to what I'd do with her and she still gets to experience being in bigger groups of children at the groups she goes to. She also has dinner with the CM whereas I used to have to pick her up from nursery and get a tired, hungry child home for dinner!
So, I think it depends on your child and whether they would thrive on the routine at the nursery, the facilities/ 'opening times' at the nursery/CM and what your work commitments are in terms of when you need to drop off& pick up.
I wish I'd put dd with our CM from the beginning but I did look for one and couldn't find one I liked so nursery seemed the best option. Our current CM is worth her weight in gold and I was lucky to find her through word of mouth when I was thinking of moving dd from nursery.
In my case we have chosen a nursery and i think it's better. my daughter started there at 8 months and is now 14 months. she loves it and likes the interaction with other kids.
around december there was the possibility it was going to close so i looked at some childminders and didn't like the fact that the ones I looked at seemed more geared up to the older kids and the younger ones were just dragged along to the groups and activities - some more suited to the 2 and 3 year olds, not a 12 month old - and napped on the prams - while in the nursery she has a separate sleep room and naps when she wants
but i was lucky to get an excellent nursery - the other one in my area had lots of cons like napping in the main room and even changing nappies in the main room - yuk!
Thanks for all your replies !!
You all have valid points - I guess I need to find out what I am comfortable with... I need to start visiting nurseries and CMs to get a feel of things...
I'm in the Scottish Borders. There are no childminders to me locally, without heading miles in the wrong direction, and the ones I looked at in the city where I work were £5 an hour (or more), and most stipulated I had to provide food and nappies. 10 hour day - £50. Nursery £41 and provides 3 meals and two and snacks a day, plus nappies and wipes inclusive. Okay, so not waaay more expensive as I said but over time it adds up!
We also have no family nearby to cover CM sick days and I'd hate to be tied to their holidays - having lots of notice doesn't escape the fact I'd have to use my holiday allowance to cover it, which would annoy me as it might not suit when I wanted to take holiday - so nursery works best for us as a family.
I visited nurseries and cms and didn't like the nursery setting and lack of staff continuity. So I found a lovely cm and ds is very happy there. It's personal opinion but I prefer the home from home aspect of a cm. Most in my area open from 7/730 too.
Mine's not been off sick for 12years, they don't usually get paid if they're off sick and mine has a back up minder too in case of sickness/emergency.
We went with nursery purely and simply because I went back when DD was just under six months and she was still pretty much breastfed refusing a bottle. I also wanted her close by as she has a complex medical history.
It was the very best place for her. The issues she has had (cerebral palsy and seizures) have been sensitively and expertly managed by staff ans she had come on further than we could have hoped due to the 1-2-1 funded care for a few hours each week and the interaction with her peers. I know a CM would also have been avle to help her but may not have had so many children so close in age.
We however have short hours for a nursery, 8.30-5.30 and its a royal PITA, also have to provide nappies but the food is good. For DD nursery was a good choice but if my second DC was unhappy there we'd have no issues looking into childminders or nannies.
Personally I think if you need long hours you may often be better off with a childminder, especially for children as young as one. A lot of parents reckon the nursery hours are not an issue because it's playing all day, but play is like being at work for small children. 8:30-5:30 is not a short day at all for a one-year-old. It's a full day's work even for an adult.
I am sure there are children and nurseries where it works great, I'm not having a go at those who have their children in all day. My own DD goes to nursery, but we are able to juggle our work so she goes from 8-3 on the advice of the staff there (we thought she would go from 8-5 but it's too long for her, and she is 2.5). If you do choose nursery, I just think it's important to remember that the nursery day is different from a child's perspective to from an adult's.
If you both have demanding jobs I would also consider a nanny if you can afford it.