Nursery versus childminder(33 Posts)
My DS (7 months) will be going into full time childcare when I go back to work (he'll be 9 months at this point).
My DH and I have been viewing nurseries and childminders but can't agree on what would be best. I prefer the idea of a childminder because I like the idea of one constant person being responsible for his care. DH thinks that nursery is a more progressive environment and he'll benefit developmentally in a nursery. Our favourite nursery so far looked great for 2.5+ but didn't really impress me for the baby stage.
Cost wise, a childminder is much cheaper than nursery, so I'm worried this might be clouding my judgement.
Any particularly good experiences in either? Any recommendations or things we should be looking for?
I’d go nursery all the way, mainly for coverage, you don’t have to worry about holidays and sickness of the childminder with a nursery.
I also feel (& this is just my opinion) there is more protection with a nursery as there are a whole team than one person on their own looking after your child. I would have used a childminder if I had to, even spoke to some lovely ones but first choice, nursery all the way.
I'm biased as I've only used childminders but for me the positives of a childminder are as follows :
- home environment
- regular weekly visits to playgroups /other childminders in her network
- child gets to develop a good bond with one person
- outdoor walks
- after school care for my eldest
The cons are obviously when they're sick you need a back up and when they are on holiday. We tend to coordinate holidays as far as possible.
For me i like the fact they mimic a home environment. My child minder does such a fabulous variety of stuff that developmentally there is no problem. If you get a good CM who operates with other CM's then your child gets to meet lots of other children.
I chose a childminder over a nursery for a variety of reasons including those already mentioned.
One that is important to me is that for several years nursery workers who work in the nursery 250m from where I live have sat on the street near my home smoking in their uniforms. My childminder and her husband are non-smokers.
Oh and my childminder is not cheaper than the cheaper nurseries in my area, she is just more flexible with hours.
It really is personal preference.
We used Childminders and I 100% would make the same call again.
What I prefer is the fact my dc used to go out and about all over the place and not sit in the same 4 walls all day (except for when staff take them into the garden briefly). I prefer the 'home from home' environment. I prefer the flexibility you get - little one a bit under the weather? / CMer rearranges things around them. Nice warm spell? / CMer gets paddling pool out. I like the fact they do things I'd do if at home with them - pop into the post office, or walk down to feed the ducks, etc etc They are also MUCH less likely to say they won't have your child when they go through all the bugs they pick up to begin with.
Childminders generally also take the dc to groups - Stay and Plays or Child minder specific groups (or both) so as they get older and more interested in other dc, then your little one still gets that opportunity.
Then (you won't be thinking about this but it will come round in the blink of an eye) - great when your dc goes to school and they carry on with taking them to and from school and having them in the holidays, and potentially (?) looking after sibling.
The fact you have said you have found them cheaper is an unexpected bonus.
Childminder. But it's more important that you get the feeling of having found 'the one' either way.
Have you had any recommendations?
Depends on, times they are open and which is best for you, days available, the nursery itself, the childminder itself, the distance. I chose childmindwer route as cheaper and I like the home atmosphere. I have used 4. (2 went on mat leave, 1 has stopped sm) Out of the 4 3 were very goos, we had trust issues with the fourth. ) Have a look around. I liked the fact the cm good take the children to groups and wre more flexible then the nursery,s.
By the way I work in ababy room and would say that we do provide a good level of care but it depends on what you want.
The childminder we've found and love (recommended by a family member) only works during term time so can't have DH during the school holidays. We'd need to sort alternative childcare for these times which is the only downside.
Alternatively, nurseries charge all year round so even when we can get the time off, we'd still be paying.
I really think DS would get cabin fever in a nursery so I'm really leaning towards the childminder. It's just this term time only thing now.
I personally would go for a nursery. I can’t be adjusting my schedule around someone else’s whims, holidays, sickness, etc. I’ve put 2 through nursery and never had a day when they couldn’t take them due to staff holidays or illness or whatever. Also lots more opportunities for socialisation and facilities and activities. Our nursery has them outside as much of the day as possible, they have special visitors (like the fire brigade, Father Christmas, etc), sports day, Christmas party. They go on a few trips, walks to local places, usually to Santa’s Grotto. Definitely isn’t boring!
The advantage over a childminder is that there are more hands on deck, no child is left unattended or to cry while childminder is busy with another (think nap times). And they have strong bonds with several caregivers. And I don’t have to chase them down if I need to pick up early or there is an emergency. I know where they are and don’t need to drive around to whatever group or school run the childminder might be on to find them.
There absolutely are nurseries that do term time only. You just might have to do some searching. Ours offers both.
Sent me DD to a childminder from six months and due to a change in the childminders situation, she had to return to office based work at short notice so we had no choice but to put DD in nursery from about 17 months.
- Get to go out every day
- Home from home
- Treated like one of the family
- Parents get to form a strong relationship with childminder
- Care can be tailored to your child better i.e my daughter had a food allergy which turned out to be a lot easier to manage with the childminder than nursery
- Holidays/time off sick can be a problem
- Teaches independence early on (arguably because they have to crack on by themselves because staff are busy with other kids)
- Always open
- Not very personal, can be a different person at pick up every day of the week who has no idea what your child did that day
- Illness. Literally a new bug every week.
- A lot of what they do is 'box checking' and not tailored to your child
If it helps, I'm pregnant with number 2 now and will be sending them to a childminder until they're at least 2. The holidays/childminder being sick is the biggest problem, but for me the positives of a good childminder outweigh this.
As a PP said, I think nursery is good for older kids when they're more chatty and active.
We used nursery from 6.5 months. I would never look elsewhere. My son adores being there, loves the staff and is always so busy.
I used to hate seeing childminders when I was on leave just chatting to other minders at groups while the kids were ignored, babies just plonked on the floor. Didn’t like the idea of him being little and just carter on school runs/errands.
I also have a job involving lots of visiting/travel, as does my DH. We needed somewhere reliable. Most childminders charge at least half fees when your child isn’t in, unless you only plan to take school holiday time off when your prospective minder is closed.
Ours are happy to take him with a cold/teething/give calpol/antibiotics so we don’t find he has tonnes of time off-think he’s had a day and a half sick in 18 months when they couldn’t take him.
I've seen some childminders working while out and about with my child, and some of them seem very disinterested in the children they're caring for. E.g. letting them run riot at a toddler group, occasionally yelling at them across the room.
I know not all childminders are like that and there are some fantastic ones. But how would you know, when your child is under 2 and can't speak, what they have actually done that day?
In your case I would go for the nursery because it can be a real pain trying to find cover for school holidays when your CM is term time only.
Personally I'd go for nursery. We used a nursery from 6 months and he was in full time from 10 months.
My friend uses a childminder and she has to factor in additional childcare when they're on holiday or sick. You never have that with a nursery. I also liked the fact there were lots of children and staff.
The term thing is a major downside. Especially if you have to take leave during term for illness etc.
Both childminders and nurseries are good when they're good and bad when they're bad, I don't think you can be categorical about it.
With a nursery you gain convenience but miss out on the home environment. I think quieter kids might also prefer nursery but you probably can't tell that at baby age!
If there's nothing else in it, I'd go for convenience of a nursery.
Nursery. More accountability. Wouldn't trust one person no matter how many certificates they have to look after my baby
I chose a childminder. I wanted my daughter to have a home environment and be able to be out and about in the community in the daytime just as I would be if I was a SAHM.
I visited nurseries as part of my job, and they just felt institutional and impersonal compared to having a 'second mum'.
My daughter felt very much part of the childminder's family and I loved it when we walked past a house and she pointed and said "My friend (X) lives there". It turned out that (X) was my childminder's friend that they visited weekly for coffee. i felt like my daughter had a proper daytime life, for want of a better phrase.
(X) was also a childminder, and designated relief minder should my minder ever be ill or otherwise unable to have my daughter. If a childminder is registered, there should be something similar in place, so in theory you should never be in a position where your child has nowhere to go.
Childminder for up to age 2.5-3 then nursery
I went with a childminder who had 32 years experience and used to be the regional supervisor for ofsted. She was my saviour.
She was completely unfazed by anything. I got stuck on a train once when a tree came down (I was a single, full time working, first time mum). I was trapped so I rang her, and eventually she kept ds overnight because I finally got home in the early hours. And charged me an extra £5.
I wouldn’t have coped without her.
A good childminder is better than a bad nursery, and a good nursery is better than a bad childminder. And there are many good and bad of both.
We preferred nursery as it was more tailored to the age range, and because local childminders seemed to spend half their time in the car on preschool/school pick ups (nearest school was not in walking distance)- whereas the nursery took them all on daily walks. Also the ratio was better at nursery- 1:3 for little ones, not 1:3/4 plus school aged children
However- you need to compare exact provision
Childminder - but I think it really is quite personal. Our son has been going to a childminder for 2 days a week since he was 9 months. He was not a very social baby and while all infants I think benefit from a designated caregiver, he particularly did. I like the home environment, even though our childminders home and habits are a bit different to ours. My childminder also looks after older children and that’s a big plus to me with an older child. I know that he picks up things from doing activities and watching them. They chivvy him along too :D
Our childminder is regularly inspected by ofsted, is a member of professional bodies and has all the necessary policies etc.
We have recently started our son at a nursery one day a week and so I am in a position to compare. My feeling is that the opportunities for social interaction is much better at nursery but honestly until he’s a bit older that’s not really in play. He generally finds spaces with lots of children quite full on , and it’s the same for nursery. He luckily is able to escape outside into their well equipped play space. The reporting is better at nursery, it’s all through tapestry, but tbh I am able to pick things up through a chat with childminder. Looking back I’m so glad we started him with a childminder, it’s ended up being the best option I think. Hard to tell when they’re so little but we had an inkling that he was more of a childminder kind of child!
@Mintjulia yes mines super experienced and I really like it! We have quite different experiences but she’s just not phased by things.
Nursery every time. The childminders by me have short opening times, and from what I hear they're off sick more than the kids are. Whenever I go out the childminders sit together ignoring the kids drinking coffee.
DS goes to a fantastic nursery and has since he was 10 months. They work well above minimum staffing. I can drop him off from 07:30, pick up at 18:00. The nursery are never off sick, only closed 4 days a year. The staff are fantastic too.
The biggest decider for me was that I work in an industry that brings me very close to abuse victims and I would never have been able to relax knowing DS was alone with someone in their house, potentially with other children or family members. There is far more accountability in nurseries.
Nursery for us.
Ours is 2 minutes away from home, it's small and both baby and us love it there! Staff is wonderful, so attentive and caring. Everyone smiles, they all know every baby and what they need/how they feel/what they like. Communication is great with them and they keep Tapestry up to date (but they also provide a daily report on a sheet and we discuss anything important/interesting at pick up-drop off).
My little one normally plays different activities every day, goes out to the garden on a daily basis (more often in summer), goes for small trips to the river or to the local shops (where they buy random stuff, like fruit or veg to learn what they are) etc.
Food is healthy, cooked on the premises and variety is great. We would never offer so many options at home.
It's also open 8 to 6 for 51 weeks a year, so it's extremely reliable.
We didn't like childminders have to close for sickness/holidays as we have full time jobs and life is already hectic. Also we see lots of them doing the school runs with other kids every day. And were happier for our little one to be in touch with more kids of his age, rather than the few kids but of possibly different ages under the care of a childminder.
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