Nursery vs childminder(31 Posts)
Hello you wonderful people!
I was wanting to know your experiences on childcare. My ds is going to be 8 months when I go back to work. I have 2/3 nurserys around me and plenty of childminders. This is my pfb and I just keep going around in circles as to what is better. If it helps, there is no young children in my family (first gc on both sides) so I worry about him not being around other babies. The nursery is expensive but I like the fact he'll be with babies his own age where as with a childminder he could be with kids far older than him. It will only be 2 days a week he'll need to go. I work from 8-5 (which means a drop off around 7.39 and a collect about 5.20) which could be an issue to, the nursery I'm thinking of opens from 7-6, I don't know if childminders would want their charge that early. This is all new to me so any advice on what to ask for or look out for would be great
I can only say that I went with nursery and my DS was about 9 months and he loved it. It's nice and flexible. Downside - he had a cold basically constantly for about 6 months presume there are fewer germs at a CM.
Firstly I'd say to go and visit them all. You may instinctively get a feel for which environment you prefer. Plus of course there are great nurseries and bad ones, great childminders and bad ones. I'm a childminder and I would say the pros of using them are your child building a strong relationship with one key person - studies show this is very beneficial for babies. It's also good for you to build a trusting relationship with one person who gets to know you and your child inside out. When I used a nursery for my eldest there were times I was handing her over to people who's name I didn't even know! Childminders can take your child out and about to parks and playgrounds and Playgroups. They will mix with kids of all ages but I think this is beneficial actually, they get a lot out of interacting with different people in different ways.
Cons of a childminder are holidays/sickness. I'm lucky enough to rarely be ill and I don't take much holiday either but when I do then obviously my parents have to find cover whereas a nursery is open all the time.
Personally I'd go for nursery but others will swear by a childminder. Why don't you start visiting a few of both, asking questions and getting a feel for them? You may find that the answer becomes clear to you.
My children love watching older kids, for what it's worth - they don't really play with other babies until they're much older, so I wouldn't worry about that. We chose a childminder because I wanted the attachment to one carer rather than a lot of different people, but as previous posters said I think what's best depends much more on the individual childminder or nursery than the form of care.
My DS started nursery at 9 months, it's been just over a year since he started there and he loves it.
He's very attached to his key worker and they have a close relationship which is very sweet. I like that he gets to socialise with children his age and he's a really social happy little boy now.
He goes 2 days per week, I drop him off at 7.45 and collect him around 6.
He'll stay there until he hopefully starts at a school nursery
Have used 5 nurseries and 2 CMs. For us, and IMO for very small DC, CMs were far, far better.
Problems we experienced at some (well rated by Ofsted) nurseries included DC being unhappy, high staff turnover, poor cleanliness, our DC constantly getting ill (they don't publish attendance figures) and poor supervision and denial of incidents (eg DC eating paint, DC having a child sized hand mark/deep scratches across her face which they claimed were due to her falling!). This was in London though, quality elsewhere might be better!
Main downside of CMs was DC spending time in cars on school runs.
When I was looking I had a vague preference for a child minder but couldn't find one with availability. I actually think for DS nursery has been better really although I think for full time I'd be back to thinking a child minder because he finds nursery absolutely exhausting and I don't know that he would have coped with 5 days in a row.
It so depends though, I love DS' key worker and he does too. We bumped into her once on a saturday in a cafe and he was so excited to see her (he was only a year old at the time). She rushed over and gave him a kiss it was lovely.
I used nursery for my dd and childminder for ds ( means he can be with big sister after school as they do after school club). Nursery has pros such as staff being sick doesn't mean you have no child care, and a good nursery can build close relationships with key workers. Childminder is more of a home from home, I find them more flexible and they are almost part of the family now.. However if they are sick we need to sort an alternative
Our CMs were almost never unwell which was lucky, and with agreement from other parents of mindees they took DC on occasions when nurseries wouldn't have!
DC1 had six full weeks off nursery sick in first 15 months there aged 1-2. tummy bugs mainly - was quite stressful! We had bad luck there.
I never thought about holidays etc for childminder. See that why I need mumsnet
I still don't know what days I'll be working but I can pay £30 to secure a space for ds, I think I might do that. I'm so paranoid I won't find anyone in time. Honestly as well I'm terrified of leaving my pfb for the first time. I take it I'll need to switch to formula as well (I'm ebf just now but wanting to wean around the 6 month mark as nowhere to express at work)
Mine were in nursery from 6 months - 2 different nurseries, the first good, the second downright fantastic. If you're lucky enough to have a good nursery, it's great. My DDs had the same keyworker from when they started at nursery 2 all the way to when they left to start school. Staff turnover was tiny, the place was spotless.
I provided expressed milk (was able to express at work) and nursery accommodated this, was also perfectly happy managing cloth nappies.
I used a childminder only once for a short period when DD1 started school and I needed pickup at the end of the day - it was not a success, constant issues with unavailability for a range of reasons which has coloured my perceptions. We ended up using the before and after school club as soon as it became available locally.
I am such a big fan of childminders for young children and babies.
Of course nurseries can be great but our childminder is like another grandmother to our two kids and I know that she genuinely loves them. She is full of energy and honestly the best thing about it is the mixed ages. Babies love watching bigger kids . It's a far more natural and safe environment in my opinion. I much prefer to entrust my child to a single woman who I get to know and trust than a group of women who could leave or change jobs at anytime.
You'll know what's right for you when you see it. Phone a few of each and if they have availability go and interview them.
I personally went with a childminder. DS1 was 9 months when I first went back to work and he goes there two days a week. He's now 5 and still goes there before and after school and adores his childminder. DS2 is also there now and settling in was really easy.
My ds went to nursery as it was only 2 days a week and not long days as I don't commute. If it had been 4 or 5 days I'd maybe have chosen a home environment with a childminder.
I ebf to 6 mo and didn't really use formula as ds wouldn't take a bottle. He had food and water in a cup at nursery and continued to bf with me.
My friend sends her DC to a childminder and she has to prepare and provide lunch for her DC whenever they go there!! I couldn't be dealing with that on top of work etc. Nursery works much better for me....DS has been going there since he was 10mo and he LOVES it there.
But I second the posters who comment about all the bugs. In the first 5 or so months he was there he got SOOOOO many bugs.
DD1 went to a good enough nursery as a baby and moved to an outstanding one when she was 2. DD2 now goes to the second nursery and has done from 7 months. It's a small nursery, so she is with the same 2 staff most of the time but has also got to know staff from other rooms as they do mix the children together in the garden or at the end of the day. DD1 and DD2 are very sociable and confident, so really benefit from mixing with lots of adults and children.
I didn't really want a 'home from home' environment for them, I don't really see the advantage in that over an environment designed for their needs.
Staff turnover can be an issue with nurseries, but that is one way to tell a good nursery. It hasn't been a problem for us at all.
So many pros and cons, for instance con of cm is sickness but the pro is that its always the same person caring for your child. pro of nursery is that if a member of staff is sick nursery will still be open because they will draft in someone else from another room or agency, but con of that is that it could be someone your child doesn't know.
I would suggest as others have, go look round several different nurseries and cms
You know really it depends who and what you have in your area. If I hadn't clicked with a childminder I would have gone for a nusery. Best to be open minded and look at all the options.
And btw. My childminder cooks amazing meals. ...! Never had to provide lunch.
Abd she took all the kids together when they got chicken pox at same time. Had them all under duvets watching TV so we didn't miss work...u don't get that service from a nursery !
I knew from day 1 that I wanted a CM and have been lucky enough to find a fantastic one. DS started at 9 months and has been there almost a year now. He goes 4 days a week 7.15-5.15. She provides all his meals & snacks, takes him on trips out, does loads of crafts & learning activities. He's on his own there 2 days a week so they do things like take the dog for a walk, go to the garden centre, all things we'd do with him.
I think a CM is more flexible, I was a 10 minutes late today because of the trains & it was fine. If DM can't have him on a Thursday for some reason she will happily take him. You do have to cover holiday, only 2 weeks a year, & sickness but that's very rare. She will take DS when a nursery won't, ie no exclusion for first 48 hours of antibiotics. As he had 5 ear infections in 12 weeks, normally starting on a Sunday or Monday that saved me a lot of days off work.
DS loves being with the older children & learns lots from being with them. It's lovely watching him hug them goodbye.
I went on to our county council website & got a list of local CMs, contacted several to see if they had spaces & then went to visit them armed with a list of questions. I knew within minutes whether they were right or not & did a second visit to two before deciding. I was quite selective about the number of other children & school runs & was very lucky with our CM.
Nursery is the right option for some, CM for others, to me it's all about what is best for your DC & your family as a whole. Get out to see as many as you can & ask lots of questions. Good luck.
I'd be strongly in favour of cm if it were more than 2 days a week, I still think on balance for younger do go for the cm - I've done both and nursery with both dc has meant a huge amount of bugs, plus the benefits of play and socialisation seem to me more as they get older
Thanks again for the tips. Hopefully going to get my days sorted next week so I can actually start a search. Any questions I should be asking, someone mentioned asking about school runs? My worry with the cm is that my ds would be in with a lot older children that could potentially hurt him (how pfb am I) where as he'd be in with babies the same age at the nursery
I was (still am) very PFB and hated the thought of both options to be honest but I returned to work when DD was 8 months (ebf) too and so know how hard it feels to decide! We looked at four nurseries and two childminders. I'd imagined us going with a childminder but in the end I didn't find one that I felt confident enough with. I was concerned about my rubbish napping DD having to fit in a lot with toddler/pre-school activities eg toddler groups in the morning when she's normally need a mid-morning nap and doing school runs for 45 mins twice a day. PFB but I didn't like the idea of her in someone else's car either to be honest...
Nurseries, we looked at three including one outstanding Ofsted which on paper really was outstanding. But there were up to 21 babies allowed in the baby room. Of course with the appropriate staff ratios - but that's a lot of babies and staff coming and going. Another nursery (not outstanding!) let us walk into the baby area including onto their crawling mats with outdoor shoes on - the whole place just looked a bit dirty in fact.
We were so fortunate to then find a very small nursery, max of 20 kids across all the different age groups. In fact she started as a childminder. They go for walks or play in the lovely garden every day unless the weather is truly awful and DD mixes with the older kids daily too which I am certain has helped her language development so much. They also give so much one on one care - particularly when she was tiny, one of the carers would simply rock her to sleep for her nap, often used to take 20 minutes plus each time. Some nurseries aren't as accommodating of non-sleepers!
So keep looking, I agree with PP that you just know when you've found the right option for your child.
Oh one more thought for you - my DD was breastfed and I continued to 14 months despite not expressing at work and working 9-5.30. My DD never really did take a bottle but would sometimes accept an oz or two of formula at nursery and then I'd just feed her right before we left for work and the minute we got home. Then again before her bedtime and normally once at night. By 8-9 months they are suddenly (often) eating quite a lot of solid food and drinking water. So the amount of feeds they need drops in response. I must admit even two weeks before I returned I wasn't sure it would work for her or me (I carried a manual pump in my handbag to use to pump and dump in the loo in emergencies incase I became too engorged) but actually it worked really, really well.
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