Childminding - I'm overthinking this, aren't I?(8 Posts)
Currently pregnant and trying to get ahead of the game, so I've started researching childminders (and care provision generally) for when I have to go back to work with a ten-month-old baby. Neither of us have family nearby, so paid childcare is the only option.
We're lucky enough to be in London, which means we have a huge huge choice of people. I've just downloaded the local council's list of nearly a hundred registered childminders, and am feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all; with all that choice, I'm looking at people's brief descriptions trying to work out how on earth we narrow it down, and how to get over my PFB 'oh my goodness but what if they're not exactly like us and haven't read all the same books?'
Can someone reassure me (gently, please! Have got in a bit of a tizz over this) that actually the whole point of a childminder is that they're not identical to parents, and that having loads of people to choose from is a good thing and doesn't mean that I have to fret over making the 'wrong' decision? I know I'm only likely to get more protective/overthink-y once the baby is actually here, so I'd like to get some reassuring thoughts in now to lay the foundations!
You do have to find the right fit. I've gone through the process of finding three different childminders (moved, didn't have space for new baby, changed hours at work) and I haven't chosen badly yet but each time I KNEW. You need to trust your instinct. If you don't feel immediately comfortable with leaving your precious baby there then it's not right. I would also wait to look at least until your baby is born (could short list) because I don't think your pregnant instincts are necessarily the same as your mother instincts. My first childminder didn't do baby led weaning or really get that my baby had been rocked to sleep for every single nap, but she loved her like her own daughter and got her sleeping in the day much better with her own methods. My childminder cried her eyes out when we moved away and I felt so privileged to have found someone who was prepared to love my little girl like I did.
The list will be whittled down hugely by availability although if you look early you may have to pay a retainer to keep the place open - this may be standard in London but is one advantage of looking nearer the time - space to fill immediately doesn't require a retainer.
Thank you - this is all really good to hear. Also apologies, I realise I should have posted this under Childcare...
I think if you are in London, it's never too early to look. I'd probably check out a couple of nurseries too just so you can compare.
I am in London - I contacted about 40 childminders (emailed everyone within my local area) and only one had the availability! Which made my choice pretty easy. (I did see a couple of nurseries and another childminder who possibly had availability and fortunately I much preferred the childminder who was available!)
I agree I wouldn't have been able to make the decision as to who to use until ds was born. I needed to see how they interact with him, how they respond to the way we choose to wean/sleep routine etc-doesn't have to be the same but useful to hear response. Ultimately I found a lot of childminders only knew a term before if they had space due to others going to school /preschool etc
Good luck and go for some one with experience!
I see people getting personal recommendations for childminders all the time on local Facebook parenting groups, you should join some.. And children's centres/sure start centres do monthly "meet the minder" sessions in my area of London so you should definitely attend one or two. Never too soon to start thinking in London.
There may appear to be hundreds to choose from but you might find they are nearly all booked up and have long waiting lists too. Your actual choices could very easily be whittled down to two or three by necessity.
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