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Nursery v's Childminder?? Need some advice.

(13 Posts)
dcgc Wed 12-Aug-09 07:47:03

I'm going back to work in about 4 weeks (full time, but working shifts). This is my first child and already I'm getting the (what appears to be normal) dread at the prospect of leaving him (DS will be 6 months when I go back).

I had booked him into a local nursery but am really starting to have second thoughts. I can't put my finger on why, but I'm just not sure about the nursery. So, it got me thinking about whether a childminder might be a better option (more continuity for DS etc). The only prob is that my job (police officer) has made me so paranoid and cynical that everyone's going to abuse DS or some terrible harm will come to him if I leave him with just one person (ie childminder)!

I just wondered if any of you would mind sharing your experiences of either nurseries of childminders to help sway my decision one way or the other as I feel like I'm going mad worrying about it.

MIAonline Wed 12-Aug-09 08:08:51

By leaving your DS, you are having to trust someone. I can understand your thoughts on a childminder being alone, but my advice would be to meet any childminders in your area before you make any decisions.

You may not be able to find a childminder with vacancies at such short notice, you might not find a suitable one for you, but because of the doubts you have I would check it out and then you will have explored the option and make an informed choice. You may meet a childminder who just feels right and alleviates your trust issues.

You also need to work out if your doubts are just because you are getting closer to leaving DS or if actually have reason to not feel comfortable. I think sometimes you have to listen to your nagging doubts!

dcgc Wed 12-Aug-09 08:59:19

Thanks Mia, I have considered that I'm getting all flappy as D-day is creeping closer! It may well be the case, but as you said, think I need to go with my gut instinct on this one. Wish I didn't have to leave him in the first place!

notyummy Wed 12-Aug-09 09:18:53

It is natural to have these feelings. I was not a particularly emotional/maternal (miltary officer) type at all before I unexpectedly got pregnant with DD, and yet when I went back to work at 6 months I was dreading leaving her.

We went for the nursery option because of exactly the fears you outlined - and before anyone jumps up and down - i KNOW the vast majority of childminders are lovely professional people who provide a wonderful service. Whilst DD was a baby, however, I was unsure about leaving her with no safety net (i.e other adults to see what was going on).

Is it the nursery that you have concerns about and if so, is there another nursery you could consider?

Alternatively, are there any local childminders you have heard about ( personal recommendations are probably the key thing that would influence me if I were looking at childminders).

rubyslippers Wed 12-Aug-09 09:23:56

if you are having these sorts of feelings then it may not be that the nursery is right

DS wnet to nursery from 6 months and it was the right place for him. I looked at 2 others before i chose this one and with one i just didn't get a good feeling ... hard to explain but you have to sometimes trust your gut instinct

you just need to be really happy and confident in your choice, whether it is nursery or a CM

go and visit as many as you can of both and make a decision

chandellina Wed 12-Aug-09 09:48:33

Hi, I vote for childminder. I had the same concerns as you and decided nursery was too chaotic an atmosphere to be in for 10 hours a day at such a young age (in this case 11 months), and wouldn't give DS enough individualized attention. I thought it would also be easier for him to bond with one childminder than with multiple nursery staff.

For various reasons, for the past two months he's been with a childminder 2 days a week and in nursery one day. I very much prefer the childminder and trust his happiness and wellbeing in her hands much more than I do at the nursery (though I do think it's a good one). I think nursery will be great once my son is 2 or 3 but I've become one of those annoying people who think it's not suitable for under 18 months or so.

(now we've moved house and are signed on for a nanny share, so it's all change.)

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Wed 12-Aug-09 09:53:50

Agree that you have to feel happy with your choice. Definitely try visiting some more nurseries and some local CMs and see how you feel. It may be that the nursery you've chosen isn't quite right for you and your DS, and you'll find another one you're happy with.

Like chandellina, I went with a CM and have been very happy with my choice and absolutely confident that DD is in good hands. smile

CMOTdibbler Wed 12-Aug-09 10:05:05

Go back and see the nursery again - it'll help you decide if its just cold feet about going back to work, or if there is actually something not right.

FWIW, my DS has been at nursery ft since he was 4.5 months old - and has been soo happy there. In babies there was always one of two people there, and a very small core team with them. As he's got older (he's now 3), I appreciate that he's been able to choose the staff members he likes best (they have a mixture of personalities from very quiet and cuddly to more exuberant and energetic), and he has more choice about who he plays with of his peer group.

At both nurseries he's been at (we moved across the country when he was 14 months old, and the only thing I cried about leaving was his nursery), the baby room was very small, and they did get a lot of individual attention. The vast majority of the time they had 2:1 ratios, which with naps meant that there was a lot of 1:1 time

dcgc Wed 12-Aug-09 19:15:03

Thanks everyone. Have decided that childminder is the way forward, got to go with my gut instinct.

su2 Wed 12-Aug-09 23:12:20

If you have any doubts, surely a nursery would be better as there will rarely be one staff member alone with DS. Also, what do you do when the cm calls in sick, or is on hols.

My 4 have all gone to the same nursey in Finchley, and I've never regretted it.

Karam Thu 13-Aug-09 19:35:00

Just to reassure you, my DD2 is with a childminder, and she absolutely loves her. For the same reasons as you, I put DD1 in a nursery but it didn't work out and she ended up with the childminder DD2 has now got. I wish DD1 had always been there.

I trust her implicitly. She does things I wouldn't do (like have the tv on a lot), but I accept those differences and my DDs do truly love being there. DD1 now moans that she can't go because she is at school and frequently asks when she can go again. DD2, does her list of people that she loves and that is me, hubby, DD1, nanny, grandad and her childminder (All other family members - other grandparents aunts and uncles are left off the list, but her childminder is on it!). She even wants to invite the childminder's daughter to her party even though the daughter is in her early 20s.
If we see her out and about in the street my DD will physically run over to her and hug her, or if we walk to school together to collect DD1, then DD2 will want to hold the CMs hand and not mine!

Both my DDs seriously adore the CM and it really is like having another aunt or something for them. They love going to her and I really believe that she enhances their lives greatly. A good CM is worth her weight in gold. Good luck with the search!

dcgc Thu 13-Aug-09 20:59:23

Thanks Karam, that's so nice to hear. There is only one nursery in our area that's convenient for drop offs so it really has to be a CM. I have looked on other threads about nervous mums returning to work and feeling totally guilty about it, and although everyone seems to reassure that it does get easier, I'm still feeling utterly guilty!

Anyway, the hunt continues....have found some excellent threads on here about what kinds of questions to ask etc so fingers crossed I'll be as lucky as you Karam...although I don't want DS to love the CM quite as much as me ;)

netdaddy Sun 06-Sep-09 09:00:52

Childminder vs Childcare in a non domestic setting....(aka Nursery - description given by OFSTED)

By using the services of a childminder you are leaving your child with a specific person, whom you have met, talked to, discussed childcare arrangements and have decided in your own mind that they will be a surrogate parent for the days that your child is with them.
They most probably have or have had their own children and are experienced in looking after children in a home away from home setting.
Your child will be treated like one of the cm's own family.
CM should be more flexible i.e. Sunny day ..let's go to the park for a picnic
Children will not have contact with a great number of other children.
If CM is sick/on holiday/family emergency..then unles they have a fallback system with other local CM, then you have a problem

By using the services of a 'nursery' you will not have the option of choosing your child's keyworker, and if their keyworker leaves the employment of the nursery, another keyworker will be allocated to your child.
Your child will not be looked after in a home away from home setting, but in a 'non domestic premises'
Your child will not be one of the family.
Your child will be in contact with a larger number of children.
Sickness/holidays/family emergencies are covered by greater number of staff taking up the slack....

both have good and bad points, and you have to weigh up what will fit in with your lifestyle and child's requirements

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