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Childminder or nursery?

(11 Posts)
weesaidie Fri 10-Jun-05 11:34:42


I am going to Uni is October and need to get p-t childcare for my daughter.

I thought a childminder may be more flexible but maybe more expensive?

What are the pros and cons and what would you recommend?

Thanks for any help.

allatsea Fri 10-Jun-05 11:48:54

Our child minder is more flexible than nursery school, but only because she is below her maximum numbers (my child minder only has my children)
Advantages of a child minder (IMO) - they become almost part of your family and visa versa.
The children are in a 'normal home environment', they have to learn not to press buttons, touch the cooker etc there as they do in their own home.
Meal times and nap times fit in with the children, rather than the children fitting in with nursery school schedules.
Cons - you have to really like and trust your childminder and their family, and be confident about what goes on in their home

Nursery - lots of opportunity for social interaction, learning to share and turn take from an early age, learning to be content with lots of different people

IME we couldn't get a nursery place for either of our children, even though we put dd name down before she was born! (She is now 3.5 and is nearing the top of the list)

Childminders only have 1 months notice, so vacancies can pop up at any time

DD, DS, DH and I are all very fond of our childminder and her family and the arrangement has worked brilliantly!

acnebride Fri 10-Jun-05 11:53:58

I personally like home-based childcare for my ds, especially while he's under 2. However, I found the first setting I put him with wasn't to my taste - there's something very intimate about your child being in somebody's house, and emotions can run even higher than they otherwise would. I disliked the way he smelled when I picked him up. I have been lucky to find a perfect nanny-share which suits me and ds brilliantly. I think the childminder was quite a bit cheaper than a nursery would have been, while the nanny-share is probably about the same.

acnebride Fri 10-Jun-05 11:55:22

If a nanny-share interests you, you might find that a nanny/employer caring for a small child all the time and school-age children during the holidays, would jump at someone who only wanted term-time care, if that's the case - could be a lot cheaper. Just a thought.

beansmum Fri 10-Jun-05 11:55:29

hey weesadie! how are you?

Will you know your hours before you start your course? I didn't know mine so ended up paying for a full time nursery place but only using it 3 days a week, maybe a childminder would be more flexible?

Other than that I don't think there's much in it. I chose nursery because I didn't want ds to get used to just one other person and I would be guaranteed childcare when I needed it, with no risk of the childminder getting ill when I had exams or other really unlikely things like that.

Lizzylou Fri 10-Jun-05 11:59:16

HI Weesaidie,

I chose Nursery for the two days my DS goes, I thought it would be good for him to mix with children his own age and as I am new to the area didn't know of any reputable childminders.....I also liked the fact that there were more people there to check everything was Ok......checks and balances IYKWIM......
We are v lucky though because there are a few, good, reasonably cheap nurseries in our area....
His current nursery is fab, his first one I wasn't so happy with, more a feeling if anything...

weesaidie Fri 10-Jun-05 12:11:09

Thanks guys...

Beansmum- I am fine. How are u?

I don't know the hours and I don't know if i'll be able to find out. What a pain! Thought I could maybe put her in full time for a month or two and then change it when I know the hours? Or will they not allow that?

I can't afford full time so I could only do it for a bit, that is why child minder could be better...

God, I hate making decisions, just asked dds dads opinion while on msn and he obviously couldn't be arsed! T""t.

Ellbell Fri 10-Jun-05 12:35:42

Hi Weesaidie

How old is your dd?

I have used both nursery and a c/m, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both, as with everything. However, now my dds both go to a c/m (dd1 now only after school) and I'm really happy with the situation.

I think you're right that a c/m will be more flexible. Mine is great if things crop up at work and I need to, say, drop them off to her before school rather than the usual situation where I take dd1 to school and she collects her. Also, for example, one time my car broke down and I phoned her in a panic to say I was waiting on the RAC and had no idea what time I'd be arriving to collect the girls and it was no big deal, all she said was 'shall I give them some tea?', which was fab! (Obviously I paid her for the extra time, but the main thing was that no fuss was made and I knew that the girls weren't going to be freaked out by it.)

Can't really comment on costs. I found a c/m cheaper, but we moved from a nursery in the South East to a c/m in Yorkshire, so the change of area might have accounted for some of the difference in cost.

If you are worried about your dd interacting with other children of her own age, you need to find a c/m who will take her to toddlers' groups, etc. That way they get the best of both worlds.

Another advantage of a c/m is food-related. My dd1 was an incredibly fussy eater (seems to have grown out of it now) and with a c/m I knew that she'd watch what she was eating and make sure that she ate SOMETHING, and that she was getting things that were reasonably healthy. At nursery I was a bit worried that she was not eating any lunch and just filling up on biscuits at snack time. (Obviously this is different for a baby, when you'd tend to provide your own food anyway.)

Be prepared to spend a LONG time phoning round c/ms to find someone who can take your dd at the times you need and who you like the sound of. I spent days on the phone trying to narrow down my possibilities (mind you, I was trying to find someone who could take two children full-time initially, so that was harder...). As soon as I met my c/m I knew she'd be great. I think it's one of those 'gut feeling' things. I wouldn't have gone with anyone who didn't 'feel right', even if I couldn't put my finger on why...

Good luck, and congratulations on going to Uni.

weesaidie Fri 10-Jun-05 17:47:14

Thanks Ellbell

I do think a childminder may be better purely on a time management issue as my classes at Uni could be all over the place - I just don't know!

My dd is 14 months now, will be about 18 months when she has to go into childcare. I am already worried about how she will take to it, probably more worried about how I'll deal with it! So used to having her with me all the time! Sad, I know...

I have phoned up to get a list of registered childminders and I am going to look into nurseries too. Do you think 3 months is too long in advance to find a childminder, I need to get registered fairly soon so I can tell the bursary and lending people?

I may put her into nursery first (see how it goes) and then look for a childminder when I know my Uni hours!!

Thanks for the advice!

Ellbell Fri 10-Jun-05 19:34:10

Don't know what you're studying, but I think if I were you I'd ring your future department now (before everyone disappears for the summer) and explain your problem: i.e. that you are trying to arrange childcare, that you can't afford to study AND pay for childcare full-time and that it would be very helpful to have some idea of your timetable in advance. Many places keep fundamentally the same timetable year after year, so you should be able to get some idea. Also, many places are willing to be extra-accommodating for mature students, especially if they have dependents. I have often arranged things for students with school-age children so that they don't start till after 9 and don't have lessons after 3 so that they can drop off and pick up from school. Of course this doesn't always work out - some timetabling may not be this flexible - but it's worth asking, and the sooner you do it the better.
Good luck.

weesaidie Fri 10-Jun-05 19:52:25

Ellbell - Yes. I thought it might be a good idea to ask what my hours would be, maybe even just a vague timetable would help.

Will do so now!


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