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anyone swopped nursery for childminder????

30 replies

Chepstow1 · 29/08/2005 08:19

Hi there, would really appreciate some advice please.

My Ds is nearly 12 months and for the last 3 months has been spending 2 half days a week increasing to 2 full days. The nursery we go to is reputed to be the "best" in the area. The staff are very pleasent and professional etc, and I have absolutly no worries that he is be "cared for". However when I ask questions like " how is doing with his self feeding" (my son will not take a spoon from us), the staff look at me blankly. The same type of reaction is given when I ask anything about his development.

Whenever i go into the nursery the carers are sitting observing the children, but not really interacting and encouraging development. I also do not know the names of any of the other children which I'd like to, so I can talk about his little friend freddie or whatever when he gets home.

Am I expecting too much??? I am seriously thinking of taking him out of nursery and trying to find a good childminder who will get to know my son, his moods, and have more of a family environment. I go back to work next month and I'll be leaving him for 3 days and as all Mums do, want to get the childcare right.

Any thoughts anyone, am I expecting too much??? Is he getting what he needs now from nursery?

Sorry, one last thing, I have also been called twice in the last week to come and pick up my son early with a message that he was "unwell". Both times he was grumpy but no temperature etc, and a day later a new tooth came through. This also really cheesed me off as I felt when it got a bit hard, the nursery just got on the phone. Again, am I being unreasonable??

Worries I have about childminders are reliance on one person, what happens when they are ill?

Thanks Mums and Dads that resond to this!!

OP posts:
goosey · 29/08/2005 08:39

As self employed people childminders are not generally ones to take 'sickies' or to cancel work unless they really are unwell eg flu or broken bones. In these circumstances (and touch wood I have never gone sick as childminder in 2 years) they often have a local network of childminding friends who they can call on to try to arrange emergency care, and these minders and their charges are often already known to the child due to toddler groups and local meetups etc

mommie · 29/08/2005 08:39

hi; i read yr message with interest as i have wrestled with this one too. I totally sympathise with yr comments about yr nursery. I find this also. They tell me everything is down to teething with my dd, and when I look at her she has a sore eye for goodness sake. Am changing nurseries in the new year, partly as a result.
My feeling re yr question is that my biggest fear about a childminder is that she will simply plonk my dd in front of the Disney channel all day. (the experience of a friend of mine). Is that being unfair? Some, i know, are brilliant but they are always booked up. The nursery is also open 51 weeks a year.

mommie · 29/08/2005 08:39

hi; i read yr message with interest as i have wrestled with this one too. I totally sympathise with yr comments about yr nursery. I find this also. They tell me everything is down to teething with my dd, and when I look at her she has a sore eye for goodness sake. Am changing nurseries in the new year, partly as a result.
My feeling re yr question is that my biggest fear about a childminder is that she will simply plonk my dd in front of the Disney channel all day. (the experience of a friend of mine). Is that being unfair? Some, i know, are brilliant but they are always booked up. The nursery is also open 51 weeks a year.

mommie · 29/08/2005 08:40

sorry to repeat myself. my laptop has gone bonkers

Chepstow1 · 29/08/2005 08:46

Hi Mommie, yes I too have these concerns too. Nurseries are open all year, always will be available to look after your child and when children get a bit older, I think off an ideal environment. Right now however I just don't feel that my son is being encouraged to develop and he is isloated from older children, which I understand is essential in a nursery environment, but i kind of like the idea of him have older kids to interact with.

Is he getting what he needs though??? Last thing I want to be in having expectations of what I think he should need versus what he actaully needs as a child of 1 year.

Tough one eh?!*

OP posts:
goosey · 29/08/2005 08:50

I think that fear is one that could be quickly allayed by talking and listening to a childminder and following up references from parents of children of all ages. Older children would very soon tell their parents if all they did was watch tv all day!
I provide all the children in my care with their own A4 daily picture diaries which contain photos of what we have been doing and where we have been and also any art or craftwork they have made. Lots of minders do this and are proud to show prospective parents. They also need to have proof to show to Ofsted of how the ensure the best outcomes for children by providing lots of opportunities for all areas of development.
There are also LOTS of brilliant childminders who have vacancies due in part to the government's intent on providing as many subsidised nurseries as possible and having made such a mess with child tax credits. It's worth another call around if you are still thinking of this option.

mommie · 29/08/2005 08:51

it is very hard; but i find the ofsted reports on nurseries really revealing. at mine, the nursery was chastised for not holding the babies when giving them milk, and i was truly appalled. when i went in, all these babies were rolling on their backs trying to get a bottle in their mouths . I thought ' a childminder must be better than this'.

goosey · 29/08/2005 08:55

That's dreadful. All childminders have Ofsted reports too. My report can be seen on my website and all new reports will be published by Ofsted just as the nursery ones are now.

mommie · 29/08/2005 08:56

goosey - i am sure there are vacancies all over the country but, in parts of London, it is v hard to find any. I went thru the local childminders association, and very few were available and those that were would not take a child til 6.30pm/7pm which is the very earliest my dp and i get home. My mother now does the job and i have to use a nursery 2 days a week

bigdonna · 29/08/2005 09:21

i am a childminder,my mindee gets treated the same as my two kids,because i only take max 2 kids i can be flexible .a nursery closes but i get phone calls to say they will be late and of course im there at home no problem .i also have taken her with chicken pox,and she has recieved lots of one to one.

Chepstow1 · 29/08/2005 09:25

I was thinking about maybe finding a childminder for 2 days a week and nursery for 1. Do you think this would be confusing? I guess my rationale is that if childminder is unavailable for whatever reason it opens up my fall back options e.g could ask the nursery (in the event that the childminder could not manage to ask for help from other minders).

What I really want is childcare where I feel the carer is genuinly interested in getting to know my son and therefore can pick up quickly when he is unwell (not just a bit grumpy), and can help support me in developing him at his own pace.

The more I write this, the more I think I should look for a good childminder!!

OP posts:
Fennel · 29/08/2005 09:31

i moved my dd1 from a mediocre nursery to a childminder, and then later to another nursery. basically a good childminder will be better than a mediocre nursery, and a good nursery will be better than a mediocre nursery. Chepstow your nursery doesn't sound that brilliant, I would move from it if you can.

I don't think my childminder has had a day off ill in years, she has holidays (4 weeks a year) which was a nuisance compared to nursery opening all year, but she never let us down in any way or cancelled, so that wasn't a problem.

Fennel · 29/08/2005 09:31

sorry that should say, a good nursery will be better than a mediocre childminder, and vice versa.

Fennel · 29/08/2005 09:33

a good childminder will take the children out to playgroups etc. also they usually have older children at least for part of the day so your child will get more interaction with children of other ages than they will at a nursery.

Chepstow1 · 29/08/2005 09:38

Thanks Fennel. I met a childminder at one of the Mums and tots and was really captured by her. Trying to find out if she has any places.

Big thanks x

OP posts:
bigdonna · 29/08/2005 09:41

where are you chepstow 1

Chepstow1 · 29/08/2005 10:14

Long story, but basically I am looking for childcare in Knutsford in Cheshire (husbands job is there for a while and it makes more sense for us to find childcare there as he works very close to our temporary Mon-Fri "home". We actaully live in Thames Ditton in Surrey.) I will be working between Manchester and London for my 3 days.

Planning to be in Knutsford for another 6-12 months.

OP posts:
FeelingOld · 29/08/2005 11:14

I am a mum and a childminder and I treat all of my mindees how I would like my own children to be treated. We have a very varied day which I also write in my mindees daily diary for parents to read up on, I also keep a scrapbook for each child to include some of their work and photos of our activities.
They sit on my knee for stories and get lots of cuddles and attention.
All of my mindees have become like part of my family and treat my home like their own, the older ones love playing with the little ones when they get home from school and I think the little ones learn a lot from this.
I only take 2 weeks holiday per year which I give parents at least 6 months notice of and they usually take their holidays at the same time. My mindees regularly see other childminders at stay and play sessions, school playground etc and get to know them very well so emergency cover for sickness etc is available (never had to use it though!). The majority of childminders do this job cos we love doing it but like every profession their are some 'bad' childminders, but when you meet the right one your gut instinct will tell you.
Good luck whatever decisions you all decide to make.

Chepstow1 · 29/08/2005 20:03

Wow feelingold, I worship you!!!

OP posts:
ThePrisoner · 29/08/2005 23:43

Chepstow - if you are not happy with the nursery, then don't use it (preferably change to a super-duper childminder, but I guess you could have another nursery if you must!)

As FeelingOld says, there are all sorts of childminders out there (the good, the bad and the ugly) - when parents visit for a chat, you should get a "feel" for how the childminder works. Again, if you don't like her/him/the house/the colour of the carpet, then don't use them. If you do like them, pay them double the rate they ask for!!

If you have one of us wonderful minders on Mumsnet, we'd never be off sick or take holidays!!

FeelingOld · 01/09/2005 10:28

My husband thinks I am far too soft with my parents and mindees and that I am far too accomodating, for example, just before the kids broke up for summer I had a day off that week and knew I wouldn't get another one for a few weeks so I booked a hair appointment but one of my mums rang me a couple of days before and asked if I could have her little one cos she had been offered some overtime and I said yes and I cancelled my hair appointment and cos I have been so busy over the holidays still haven't had my hair cut!! He says I must learn to say no, but I find it hard cos I like all of my parents and have become very attatched to all of my mindees and I feel if I am flexible with them then if I ever need to take a day off for some reason, I hope they would remember how much I have helped them.
I know I am crap at running my business, but I hope I am a good childminder (my parents always pay me on time by the way).

ayla99 · 01/09/2005 14:12

I don't know much about nurseries, but I would certainly be expecting much more information about your childs day than you are getting now. Have you discussed your concerns with them?

As a childminder I have taken on children who have left nursery because parents found care was not up to their expectations. This does not mean childminding is right for you - you might find another nursery which suits your needs more.

There is a problem with reliance with one person - you may have to take time off work from time to time, just as you will have do when your own child is ill and cannot attend childcare or school.

Some childminders will help you to find another local childminder in their absence - do discuss this if you visit a childminder.

undercovermum · 05/10/2005 00:33

I too had this problem when I went back to work. I thought a nursery would be more 'development' based. However a relative gave up her job to look after my DS. This lasted 4 months and she decided that she had forgotten how much hard work kids were etc. TBH she wasn't doing an awful lot with my DS (2). I don't blame her really she was honest. So I faced the decision then and decided to go with a childminder for this reason.

a) I work shifts and most nurseries don't open until 7am. My DH drops DS of at 6.30am.

I contacted my local council for a list of childminders and this is where there are huge lessons to be learned.

All of the childminders are listed as networked or not. I understood that the networked ones were part of the NCMA (Nat Childminding Association)and were checked every 6 weeks instead of once a year by Ofsted.

All very good so far. We went to see a husband/wife team who were extremely friendly and very very flexible. They were networked and I was happy with this. Until about 1 month into my DS care. Every time I went to pick him up and I used to appear early sometimes due to bunking off work. All of the children that they were minding were in one room. Very big room admittedly, watching telly. They couldn't do toddler groups because they looked after so many children (2 lots of places as they are both childminders). But one day I counted 10 children and felt unnerved. Also one day I arrived and a strange man opened the door and said 'You must be ??'s mum'. I just said through my teeth. Where are ?? or ??. Oh he said ?? is out and ?? is upstairs taking a bath. I waited and when she came downstairs I asked who this man was and she said it's okay its ??s brother. I asked if he was police checked and she said no, but he helps out by taking some of the kids to & fro to school. I was gobsmacked.

This was the first bit. The 2nd bit was the fact that they used to go on about being really friendly with the network co-ordinator. Making her lunch - old pals in fact, she was round here last week.Unfortunately for them one of my friends is a childminder, a proper networked childminder, and she told me that our local coordinator hasn't been round there and that they weren't networked anymore because they refused to be inspected so frequently.

Sorry this is long.

They were going on holiday, so the day before they went I gave them notice.

My friend was able to put me onto a lovely lady who has been childminding for 19 years and all of the kids she has at the moment have been with her since birth. My DS has been there for nearly a year now. She does tons of stuff. He goes to a different toddler group every day. Is a member of a library club every fortnight, swimming. Of course I expect she puts the box on when making dinner etc, but so do I.

Now I know what I know about childminders I would advise anyone to speak to the local NCMA and only go with a childminder that is networked with them.

Also I would use a childminder rather than a nursery every time. They are older (lots of nurseries have 18 yr olds in them), there is more 1 to 1 and a family environment as most CMs have there own kids.

This is only my opinion by the way and I am not slagging anyone who uses a nursery off. I used one for a couple hours per week whilst on Mat leave doing a course at college and they were fab. I just wouldn't want my DS there all day.

babydales · 05/10/2005 14:43

I have been reading with interest the messages that have been posted here.
I have been a childminder in the south manchester area for the last 10 years and have probs had 3 days off in that time. I am open 14 hours a day 7 days a week and am open 49 weeks of the year. I run a professional business and gave up a good job to do this. The children I care for are healthy and happy and will have achieved high personal and social developmentby the time they reach school age. There are childminders out there who do just plonk the kids in front of the TV and whos businesses are not at a high standard, regardless of what Ofsted say about them in their reports. Each inspector is different and each will grade the minder on what they themselves think is right.The only way to find a good one is to go and visit and make your own mind up. See as many as you can and dont leave finding childcare till the last minute. Have a months trial, get references, talk to parents who use the service, dont just go off the address or the area they live in but go and see for yourself.

ThePrisoner · 05/10/2005 23:46

Any registered childminder can be a member of the NCMA.

I also belong to a childminding network, which is run by the people responsible for childminder training etc., and was developed by the NCMA, and we work to the standards of the NCMA Quality C'minding Charter (just copied that out of my leaflets!!)

My network co-ordinator visits regularly (every 6-8 weeks), but it is not a "heavy-duty" OFSTED-type inpection. My co-ordinator always comes when my mindees have lunch (my choice) because it doesn't interfere with our social lives! She has got to know the children, and always remembers their names, and so they are happy and relaxed when she is here. Her monitoring visits are to offer me support and training; to discuss my individual needs; and, through questions and discussion, ensure that I do my job professionally.

The networks are a means of ensuring that those childminders provide a very high quality of care. To ensure that we maintain and improve our care, we have to do at least 16 hours (I think) of training per year (eg. healthy eating, child protection, behaviour management and a few fun subjects in-between!)

Of course, none of this can guarantee that parents will necessarily like any of us, but you just have to visit lots of childminders and get a feel for what you do and don't like.

Undercovermum - if you are unhappy with this first childminder (and I know I was reading your post!), I think you should have a quiet word with Mr. OFSTED. It is totally unacceptable to have "strange men" opening doors and taking minded children to school!!

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