Nursery or childminder ... help!(24 Posts)
My 11-month DD is doing her settling-in sessions at nursery before I start work again. I'm having second thoughts ... and was hoping for advice please!
I work three days a week - DD doing two nursery days, and DH/mum alternating Thursdays (DH's flexible working).
The thing is, with me, mum, DH and three or four carers at nursery, that's seven different carers between us all. I'm worried she might not know whether she's coming or going!
Before I was happy with my choice - it is Ofsted outstanding blah blah, and well reviewed by parents I've spoken too. But wasn't really prepared for reality of the baby room - the more I leave her there, the more I think at her age, perhaps it's better for her to be left with one special person on those two days, ie, a lovely childminder?
I've found a lovely childminder, but she's not available for a month, which means DD will have to do a month of nursery before switching over. I'm worried that letting her settle into nursery, before switching to a childminder would be a bit cruel.
Does anyone have any thoughts/experiences please. It's just she's such a happy thing, I'm worried about messing her up. Is this just PFB syndrome?! Thanks so much.
we used childminder for dd for about 9 months after she turned 7.5 months. We thought our highly rated childminder with excellent OFSTED rating will be nice and flexible. Unfortunetly it was not the best experience. She was great when DD was under 1 because they are not allowed to take more than one under one. We had to align our holidays with hers, she would get angry if we surprise pick up earlier than usual and showed bbc news to children while breakfast. I did not agree with TV and did not agree with my little dd watching scary world news. The end was very bad after she took our DD for a beachside trip and failed to return on time with her phone going off because of low battery. She was 3 hours late, dd was our first, I cried so much in worry until she finally arrived. We forgave her that time but she demanded that next time when she decided to take all children on the trip that we pay for the day that our dd not there because we said we did not want her to go away again. We had to take time off work for that and pay her too even though dd was at home. Anyhow dd went to local nursery when she was about 1.5 years old just a bit over. The nursery was not as well rated by OFSTED but turned out to be excellent. They facilities where so so and that is why they were not rated with excellent but the people working there were absolutely the best. Childminder complained always that dd was picky eater but at nursery she eat everything. She started to develop a lot quicker with her speech and social skills once she joined the nursery, not sure if it was just coincidence.
In my opinion, in general nursery is safer environment because there are more people involved with care of your child. It is an excellent opportunity for children to socialises with children of their age and learn many skills. When they are at home with a childminder and child minder is busy with a new baby once they turn 1 it is less than ideal situation but there are different childminders, the only problem they can be telling you they do one thing and be doing something else, there is no-one to confirm that while at nursery there is whole bunch of people around doing and watching.
I know there are different childminders and different nurseries it can get confusing what is better or not. With two children I learned one thing so far if it does not feel right don't do it. I walked away from one nursery before after the first settle just because it just did not feel right. Few months later we heard of a horrid incident that happened there so I think it was a good call based purely on an instinct and nothing else. Just trust your feeling because really if you leave your child somewhere and don't feel right about it you will not be able to concentrate on your work anyways.
I had to put my baby in a nursery and move to another one 2 months later because there was no availability in the one i liked when i went back to work.
It meant settling again which is hearbreaking but overall it was the right thing to do. I say trust your instincts.
I'd have a childminders every time. I took the view that I'd prefer my DDs to be in someone else's home if they couldn't be in their own home, and if they couldn't be with their own mum I wanted them to be with someone who is a mum. I didn't want my girls being looked after by teenagers with NVQs/BTECs in childcare.
My children go to both. If I had to choose I would choose nursery. They would probably choose the childminder (she's soft with them, lets them watch TV, choose what they want to eat, etc). Day trips are much better with her. But nursery prepares them best socially.
Nursery here. DD was there from 8 months to starting primary school.
I needed childcare I could 100% rely on and loved that I could drop off late, pick up early, take an unplanned day off without it being a big deal. I work full time and also wanted to know where DD was at all times, I didn't want her carted around on school runs or shopping trips or whatever.
The care she received was excellent and still talks about her nursery carers and friends. We cried buckets the day she left!
Do whatever will cause you the least worry though, but I wouldn't write nursery off.
I've used both & there are advantages/disadvantages to each.
I've had 2 fantastic CM but struggled to cover their holidays & got fed up bulk-cooking meals at weekends for DC to eat there. Then I had a 3rd CM who was awful (very poor quality of care) so switched to nursery. I also had a lot of issues with CM agreeing to take on DC then cancelling before contract signed; this happened 3 times. My 1st CM's were fabulous though; more caring & homely environment than nursery, where it can be a bit "production line" & less personal.
The opening hours at nursery are more flexible & all meals provided, plus it's a 51-week service. I think it is very good socially for DD. There is more consistency & help with potty training than at CM & of course not the endless school/nursery runs.
My issue with nursery (and it was a good one) was that DD could not always be dropped off with someone that she knew due to shift patterns and holidays. I did not like leaving her with someone she didn't know and she would cry. This would happen one or two mornings a week.
She also was not watched as well as she should have been due to the amount of children in the room (12 at 1year plus, she was fine in the baby room) and at one stage regularly came home with injuries that they couldn't tell me the cause of. Generally, we heard a bang and she started crying.
Also, this nursery couldn't do potty training that would help. They could only ask if she needed the toilet at nappy change. A childminder can leave them without a nappy.
I'm interested in opinions on this too, OP.
Thanks so much for all the advice.
Re. the childminder being unreliable, the two I'm now considering have good references from friends, so I'm hoping it won't be tooo bad. My other worry about nursery was I've had friends whose babies ended up catching so many bugs, they used up their entire holiday allowance. So they ended up taking loads of days off work anyway?
I think while nursery be brilliant for socialising at two-plus, we're planning to move to another area in six months, which will mean another new nursery/childminder. This makes me think, while she's still so young, she could benefit from the close relationship with childminder. Though if she has to do a month at a nursery before changing to CM, that's too much chopping and changing - gah!
That's a good point LOC, re childminders cancelling before contract signed. Because nursery waiting lists are about a year round here, so if we gave up our place then they let us down, we'd be screwed.
My instinct is I do like the nursery, but sometimes I get obsessed with searching for the ultimate perfect solution.
Part of the problem is I'm reading this book called Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain. Although I was happy with the nursery before, it's making me really paranoid about her having too many people around while she's so young, and not getting enough love from one trusted person. Sorry for the essay - I'm going round in circles and driving myself a bit barmy.
First of all I have to confess a vested interest...I am a CM.
this is what I say to parents...
1) trust your instincts. Good or bad...you know your child best and if you are uncomfortable with any environment they may well be as well.
2) a child under 10 months will probably not overtly mind having multiple carers (eg nursery) but this may become more problematic between 10 months and 18months-2 years with separation anxiety at it's peak at these 2 developmental points. If at a nursery it might be a good idea to check staff turnover is not too high.
3) Your DH and Mum are not really child carers who figure separately from you in the total number of people...they are her family and as such your DD will bond in a more long term and interconnected way with them and your wider family...so I would see the issue as how many people will your DD have caring for her in the nursery room and how quickly they would be moving her up to the next room.
Good care is better than bad care...in any setting
A CM should be the sort of person you want to be as a parent...but even more consistent
personal recommendations are great...but you might have different preferences to your friends.
You make the best decision you can at the time...but never feel that you can't change your mind...you always can.
I used CM for both my DC from 9mo until age 3.
As they were still babies when I had to go back to work I really wanted the same pair of arms to take them from me every day. I just felt that bond with one person was so important.
Theoretically holidays and illness might be a problem but in about 4 years of using CM there was only one episode where they shut due to their own sickness and holidays we just took ours at the same time as theirs.
I do think they had less illnesses than friends whose children were at nursery.
Going out and about including school runs but also toddler groups and trips to the park and even occasionally the shops was something I saw as a positive. If they were at home with me that's what we would have done. DS enjoyed the school run and it helped him with being familiar with the place. He also knew other kids at the nursery from toddler groups.
When it's one person you can talk about any issues you have and work it out together. At a nursery you could talk to the manager or the key worker but who's to say what all the staff do. I felt safer entrusting my DC to one person that I had got to know than an organisation where workers might come and go.
My DC loved their CM and were a part of her family and we still kept in touch after they went to school. The only sad part was having to leave!
I'm in the process of settling my DD into a nursery having had to leave childminders because we moved house. I had originally had her down for a nursery on my return to work then heard negative things about it from a friend in our antenatal group - we all made fairly hasty (and probably emotionally charged) decisions to switch to childminders. Our childminder was a recommendation and we thought she was great, BUT it still took her time to settle. It was a friendly, homely environment and my DD had a great relationship with the childminders own 3 year old daughter.
BUT, when she was there on full days, due to school and nursery runs, she didn't get enough sleep, which worsened night sleep, not ideal when I was working in a busy role for 3 longish days. We ended up that on my longest day, my parents would collect DD before the final school run and then she could have a nap / quiet time at our house.
She had 2 days with childminder and one day with my parents - as someone else has said I wouldn't worry about your mum and DH being "different people" - they will already be key people in her life.
Another friend from this group has had a bad experience with an unreliable childminder.
I have chosen nursery this time as I don't know anyone in our new town yet to recommend a childminder and the very local nursery has been recommended. I do have reservations about her adjusting to the busier group environment and to a greater number of carers (see my thread about food in nursery). I think my DD benefitted from the home environment and mixing with children of different ages - the other children would come and say hello to her when we were out and about (it was a small village) but the nap issue was going to be a bigger issue I think in the long run - nursery have more of a routine for the children.
Good luck with your decisions, I shall follow with interest! Most of my work colleagues have slightly older children and the vast majority of them have used nurseries and had positive experiences.
Ps they also catch bugs at childminders plus with a childminder you are more prone to childminder cancelling because of their own illness or that of their child.
We were jolly lucky that my parents were able to step in on these occasions which were more frequent than I had expected!
I've had no experience of CM, but my DS has been in nursery FT since he was 9 months old.
I chose nursery because firstly, the only CM I knew of I didn't like as a person and secondly, I needed totally reliable childcare to fit in with me and not vice-versa.
DS's nursery is brilliant. He's always had a key worker, but everyone gets involved. When in the baby room, they also went out with the bigger children (in small groups), so every child knew every member of staff so there was never an issue of dropping off and not knowing anyone. They are all really affectionate - cuddles are the norm and nothing was too much trouble.
However, all the staff there have been there for years and staff turnover is very low indeed. I don't know if that's the exception or the norm, I'm just grateful that he goes somewhere that he loves and is well cared for.
Now at age 3 he does 2 mornings in pre-school and has the afternoons with MIL and 3 full days at nursery (which is near my work). He loves it. God knows how many people are looking after him now but he is a very happy, sociable little guy.
We started the other way around - started with a CM because our son had been mainly at home by himself with us for his first year and we thought a nursery would be too noisy for him. We didn't like it. Deal breakers for me were fitting in with her holidays, too overbearing telling us what she wanted to do rather than asking us what we would like to happen, taking selfies of him with her in the park in the same way that I would take pictures of him as a parent, strong perfume that my son would smell of for the rest of the day, doing the school run when he would normally nap - lots of other little things. Ironically, while we thought a quieter setting would suit him, he didn't like it. We gave it a month and then tried the local nursery.
We love it and we think he likes it more too - he cries when we drop him off but when we sneak a look in the window when we're gone he's playing happily no problem. It's not perfect, but they get a lot of things right that work for us all. There are more babies for him to befriend, and more staff to interact with - if he doesn't like one, he finds another, if staff are sick or away THEY find the cover not us. We feel like customers and they are very accommodating if we ask questions or would like to change things. They do lots of activities and he is learning things that he wouldn't do at home - like sitting down to eat with lots of other children, being in an environment distinctly different from home. He has so much confidence with other people now, he will happily interact with adults and other children and he will happily explore new things on his own, at 16 months. We are happy with it. And the germs are no worse than when he was at the CM!
The other day, I read the last note in his 'daily diary' from the CM and was quite annoyed to see that she had written 'I am not confident that he will do well in a busier nursery environment' - which confirmed to me that we have made the right choice.
Should also say though - I don't think any childcare is meant to feel perfect, and I'm always glad when my little angel is home safe and sound back in our home
DS has been at nursery since 11 months. The up to 2 room has 21 babies but although this means at least 7 members of staff they all interact really well (and good range of experience from apprentice to Level 4 and quite a lot have children). This means that although DS has a key worker he also knows the other staff so hasn't struggled with having lots of carers (he voluntarily hugs them all) and gets really excited when we see them outside nursery. But maybe adjust struck gold with lovely staff who genuinely seem to love their jobs.
I don't necessarily have an opinion on which is better as I think different types of childcare suit different families and individual children. But I do think you need to be really happy and confident with your choice because you are leaving probably your most important person there for two days a week.
I went for a nursery for the following reasons
I felt more comfortable with the fact that there were a few staff and managers to iron out any problems
Not having to have the same days off as CM, also not having the danger of relying on one person who might be ill etc.
I would only really want to use s CM i had seen out and about or been recommended to me, becuase I felt I was totally relying on one person.
Saying that a lot of friends use CMs and it's worked really well for them and they have been great.
No right and wrong just what works for you,
Oh sorry based on your special concerns, I would probably give the CM a go, our baby room was lovely and quiet, the busy ones wouldn't suit every child.
We went for nursery route because round here child minders kids seemed to send half day in buggy in school runs and because of that meant drop off had to be at 8am not earlier or later, so if had slightly later start no option for 820 etc, sickness concerns with a single carer (although better if child is borderline)
All meant we went for nursery
Has been right choice for us
Dc went at 9mth ft to school fwiw
My dd is doing 3 days at a nursery from 12 months and 2 days with daddy. I felt the nursery was more reliable and perhaps prepares her better. Maybe 12 months is a bit young for nursery but by the time she is two I think she will love it. It is more expensive, but fortunately we can afford it. I am pleased about the flexibility of pick up and drop off and it very close to my work.
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